The Champaign-Urbana Community Wireless Network (CUWiN) released the fruit of their efforts at the end of the week: The project is an open-source effort to provide mesh networking with no center. The system is self configuring among nodes which need no non-volatile or permanent storage.
To set up a CUWiN network, you burn a CD with the 0.5.5 software later this week and use it to boot a computer with a supported wireless card. The system finds nearby nodes, creates tables, and establishes itself as part of the network. The software is free and open source.
The full press release is after the jump.
February 1, 2005
CUWiN Website: www.cuwireless.net
CUWiN ANNOUNCES PUBLIC RELEASE OF FREE OPEN SOURCE WIRELESS NETWORKING SOFTWARE:
Imagine a free wireless networking system that any municipality, company, or group of neighbors could easily set up themselves. Over the past half-decade, the Champaign-Urbana Community Wireless Network (CUWiN) has been developing an open source, turnkey wireless networking solution that exceeds the functionality of many proprietary systems. CUWiN's vision is ubiquitous, extremely high-speed, low-cost networking for every community and constituency. Following in the footsteps of Linux and Firefox, CUWiN has focused on creating a low-cost, non-proprietary, user-friendly system. CUWiN's software will share connectivity across the network, allowing users to buy bandwidth in bulk and benefit from the cost savings. CUWiN networks are self-configuring and self-healing -- so adding new wireless nodes is hassle-free, and the system automatically adapts to the loss of an existing node. And, because CUWiN networks are completely ad-hoc, there's no need for expensive central servers or specialized administration equipment.
To set up a network, all end-users need to do is burn a CD with CUWiN's software (which will be available for free at www.cuwireless.net), put the CD into an old desktop computer equipped with a supported wireless card, and turn the computer on. Once the computer boots from the CD, the rest of the setup is completely automated: from loading the networking operating system and software, sending out beacons to nearby nodes, negotiating network connectivity, and assimilating into the network -- all the complicated technical setup is taken care of automatically. Unlike most broadband systems, CUWiN's software builds a local intranet as well as providing for Internet-connectivity -- thus, a town that uses CUWiN's system is also creating a community-wide local area network over which streaming audio and video, voice services, etc. can all be sent.
CUWiN is a cutting edge research and development initiative. CUWiN has pioneered the first open source implementation of Hazy Sighted Link State routing protocol (first developed by BBN Technologies); thus CUWiN's software creates a highly robust, scalable ad-hoc wireless networks. CUWiN's route prioritization metric is based on research conducted at MIT and will automatically adapt to any network topology and local geography.
CUWiNs software is, and always will be, available for free. CUWiN is a non-profit organization supported by grants and donations. CUWiN's software provides one of the world's most advanced networking solutions available today; and we are now making our software available to the general public to use, test, and help develop. We know that there are features and improvements that people will want to see in future releases -- as an open source project, we are counting on the feedback and input from people around the globe.
More information on setting up your own CUWiN network is available online now at: http://www.cuwireless.net/documentation
The latest version (0.5.5) of the CUWiN software will be available for public download by the end of the week at: http://www.cuwireless.net/downloads
A brief article on the background, history, and ethos of the CUWiN project is available at: www.comtechreview.org/article.php?article_id=259
The Champaign-Urbana Community Wireless Network (CUWiN) has built a communications network using wireless networking equipment. This is essentially the same "WiFi" equipment used in homes and offices, but we put it on rooftops to connect neighbors and form a high-speed community network.
CUWiN's three-part mission is to: connect more people to Internet and broadband services; develop open-source hardware and software for use by wireless projects world-wide; and, build and support community-owned, not-for-profit broadband networks in cities and towns around the globe.
CUWiN gives communities a new choice for their communications infrastructure by building a house-to-house wireless "mesh." CUWiN makes it possible for neighbors to share broadband Internet access and services including Voice over IP as an alternative to traditional phone service, and alternatives to radio and cable -- such as live broadcasts from grassroots media-makers from Independent Media Centers and "Internet radio stations" in subscribers' homes.
OJC Technologies (www.ojctech.com) is our development home.