Wireless Community Mesh Networks - Hype or the Next Big Frontier?
|Organizer: Dr. Victor Bahl (Microsoft, USA)|
|Devabhaktuni "Sri" Srikrishna
(Chief Technology Officer, Tropos Networks)
Roxanne Gryder (Technology Strategist, Corporate Technology Group, Intel Corporation)
Keith Hampton (Assistant Professor of Technology, Urban and Community Sociology, MIT)
Pierre De Vries (Chief of Incubation, Advanced Strategy and Policy Group, Microsoft Corporation)
Edward W. Knightly (Associate Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering, Rice University)
|Thursday, September 30, 2004|
10:30 AM-12:00 PM
A recent study found that Internet use in communities' increased social interaction between neighbors, built up a community support structure, and improved the general well being of community residents. Community mesh networks facilitate communications and information sharing locally. They can be disruptive to the current residential broadband Internet access paradigm, which relies solely on cable and DSL being deployed in individual homes. They allow free flow of information without any moderation or selective rate control. In contrast to current access architectures, which rely of well established ISPs, community networks can grow organically where every participant willingly contributes network resources and cooperates to form a self-organizing, self-managing mesh network. Alternatively, they can be deployed by local community government as a shared wireless multihop network resource.
However, in the age of open spectrum, multiple competing wireless technologies, and naturally occurring environmental fluctuations, wireless multihop mesh networks continue to be only an approximation to wired networks in terms of robustness and capacity. The question to ask is: should we focus on building technologies that enable such networks when the same functionality can be provided by the expanding DSL and Cable providers? Are there enough commercial applications and value to attract neighborhoods communities to universally adopt such networks in a wide-scale? Can the difficult technical challenges, such as range, capacity, security, spectrum sharing, QoS, self-management etc. be solved satisfactorily?
Panelist representing academic thinkers, established industry leaders, and government officials will debate whether or not community networks are for real, or they are just another passing phase that researchers are attracted towards simply because we want to find a reason to continue working on multihop wireless networks.