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Author Topic: Decentralized internet - and what it could mean For Bitcoin  (Read 2581 times)
Vector
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September 04, 2011, 11:37:47 PM
 #1

Was reading a previous thread that had some replies about a decentralized internet. Well for anyone interested, I designed one about 6 months ago. I have documents and diagrams for anyone interested in piggybacking from it - I don't have the time to devote to a project this big, so I thought I'd just dump this text wall that introduces the idea. If there is actual interest in this, I might continue to work on it

Here's an image for any tl;dr people: http://oi54.tinypic.com/fjgizp.jpg

How does it relate to Bitcoin? Simple - automate Bitcoins to be the currency for paying/getting payed for being a node in the access mesh. It's an instant success story for Bitcoin if the network catches on.

Now here's the tl part for anyone that wants to read. This is just an introduction, as I have a few other documents and diagrams that go into more technical detail. PS - Chroud and ChroudNet were codenames for the project:

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Intro
ChroudNet is an infrastructure, interface, and philosophical model that represents the creation of new internet and cellular media, in a liberated and consolidated network.  It utilizes the shared relay capacities of all connected devices to form an infrastructure of people, rather than service providers - sending data across connected devices in a distributed, parallel fashion. It is also fully designed and optimized for cloud computing and remote processing. Most importantly, ChroudNet is open for critique, scrutiny, and prototyping.

Infrastructure
It’s based on an ad-hoc, wireless mesh network that relays data in a distributed, parallel fashion. It replaces the current networking infrastructure with people’s devices – cellphones, laptops, desktops, tablets, televisions, game consoles, cars, the list goes on and will only continue to grow. Because of the increasing density of connected devices and the growing capacity for high-speed wireless data transfer over large distances (i.e. – WiMAX), a model such as this has great potential. It would also maintain its relevance with the progression of technology for many years to come - a "true" internet 2.0.

Wireless does have its own inherent difficulties like packet loss - but because of the design, if a packet misses its target at any node, the detection and response is local, so it's much faster.

Building The Network
Probably the largest obstacle to such an extremely ambitious project as this is building the network from scratch. The network would require new hardware and require early adopters. However, once prototypes have been built and standards are developed, the ad-hoc nature of the network means that networks can start locally: providing local services such as news, file transfer, and communication within a city or campus - and then connect with other networks as soon as they reached within distance of eachother. The design for resolving servers is this:

A dynamically cached and updated local interface provides visual access to servers that resolve within the system, based on physical location (GPS) used to direct the flow of parallel transfer, and server identification (such as a global unique identifier). A server would periodically broadcast their presence, informing connected nodes of it’s location and content. Then when a user requests information, the packets act like hound dogs sniffing out the server using GPS and identification information. This way, a device is capable of seeing exactly what services and content are available at any given moment. As local networks grow into each other, assuming they followed a standardized model, they would immediately merge into an incrementally large network.

Front-end (remote processing and client devices)
ChroudNet functionality would be entirely server-side (or cloud-side). Devices would simply act as transceivers with very little local computational capability. Cost and battery that would normally go into CPU and GPU hardware would be directed to networking hardware and battery instead. See services like OnLive. The front-end would be a fully consolidated interface that is visually consistent across all devices (based on open standards). It would present media for the equivalent of voice, television, and internet, in an operating system for all things connected. Such an operating system would offer two things: an interface to the network and its media, as well as a unified subscription model to ease both access and payment for commercial content. Content providers would adhere to a generic, standardized subscription model that can be further defined in software by billing providers. This way, users have their choice of billing methods – again to decentralize the model so that there is no monopoly on any sub-service of ChroudNet.

Media Structure
1.) “ChroudCom” – Voice and video communication service.
2.) “ChroudServe” – Streaming software for home and business. Each service can be free or commercial.
3.) “ChroudPlay” – Streaming gaming. Each game can be free or commercial.
4.) "ChroudChan" - Typical internet, but with much higher capabilities as websites would be processed and streamed server-side (no client-side security issues). Imagine 3D, interactive content that can run native code.

Benefits/Motivation
No service providers – ChroudNet removes service providers like Comcast and Verizon from the equation – including all related cost and regulation.

Consolidation of networks – One network for voice, video, and data. All at the high speed of distributed transfer.

Everything on all devices – Because devices are simply receiving and displaying streams, they will be able to handle all types of data without extra cost of data-specific hardware.

No regulation/policing – Neutral net and communications.

No wires – runs entirely on local perimeter, wireless access. Forget tearing up residential land, installing, and maintaining expensive wires.

Greener – Without a physical infrastructure, there are no repairs, centralized data centers, or service trucks.

Fast – distributed, parallel transfer breaks data into small pieces that are sent over the network effectively multiplying your connection speed by the number of local devices.

Secure – Users in the network only operate on tiny fragmented pieces that don’t equate to anything locally. It’s not until each fragment reaches your computer in collection that the data becomes meaningful at all.

Adaptable – Infrastructure upgrades are as simple as releasing upgraded devices. This means a network that grows just as fast as the technology that drives it. No year(s)-long waits for selected cities to be torn up and accommodated for physical cables.

Optimized for cloud-side computing – The bulk of cloud-side transfer is deploying data, such as streaming video and gaming, from the server. Servers can transmit data over hundreds of its own local tranceivers, travelling in parallel over hundreds of devices, only converging in the jumps before your device. At theoretical peak, 300 jumps over 300 devices, each with a 10 mile radius, could cross the entire United States in the time of a single, 10 mile wireless transfer.

Progressive – As wireless speeds and distances increase with technology, and more users join the network, speed and availability grow exponentially.

Scalable – The network not only automatically scales with its number of users – it actually becomes faster (due to passive:active device ratio)




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September 05, 2011, 12:11:32 AM
 #2

I think this would be a great step forward in network access - but I know here in Australia you'd run afoul of communications laws pretty quickly.

As soon as you carry traffic from another entity to and from the internet (or any other unrelated party really) - you need a carrier license which involves large setup fees  + other onerous conditions.
(I know it was $10,000 just to apply years ago.. I expect it's still expensive)

I think one of the primary reasons for the carrier license stuff is so that the government knows who to go to for interception requests.  
It'd be nice if all that cost,red-tape and snoop-facilitation could be bypassed - but to do it safely in this country you'd probably need to have all the traffic encrypted and fed to the rest of the internet via tor, i2p etc if you were one of the nodes that still maintained a connection with an ISP/backbone.

Quote
Benefits/Motivation
No service providers – ChroudNet removes service providers like Comcast and Verizon from the equation – including all related cost and regulation.

I don't really see how you could get to that point. Surely it would have to run as a hybrid system where providers still run large interstate/international backbones.

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September 05, 2011, 12:16:28 AM
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Darknet? This already exists - http://www.i2p2.de

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September 05, 2011, 12:40:22 AM
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Nothing like DarkNet - this idea is a completely new and independent infrastructure, and thus would be a completely new internet (no connection into the existing internet). Not just some anonymous proxy service for buying drugs and looking at illegal porn. The idea here is much more than just decentralization and freedom from regulation - it's about speed and remote processing. Like the parallel and concurrent processing in a multi-core processor or GPU - apply the same idea to a network. Like Torrents only an infrastructure designed for that type of processing.
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September 05, 2011, 01:05:41 AM
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Some things i wouldn't want to leave a third party machine process for me, and some things would just be too laggy if they aren't processed locally.

(I dont always get new reply notifications, pls send a pm when you think it has happened)

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September 05, 2011, 01:20:43 AM
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the internet already is decentralized. many small networks connect to each other to create the internet.
perhaps i am missing something here?

even if level3, verizon business (mci/uunet), etc... decided to shut off every piece of equipment they had today it
would cause a problem for about a week and things would continue on.

it is like you just want to create another network.. for the hell of it and somehow the existing one is "tainted".

do you work for a major carrier (telephone or internet)? it is like you are missing perspective here.
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September 05, 2011, 01:33:09 AM
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each node would add like 20ms of latency to any connection so in practice wired ISPs are going to beat it if you value speed over uh... Huh
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September 05, 2011, 04:28:01 AM
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This reminds me of http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Netsukuku

I don't know if anyone's still working on it, but it sounded neat.

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September 05, 2011, 04:34:36 AM
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What's a chroud? It sounds like some sort of small mammal or maybe some kind of gross food people used to eat because they were starving and that's all there was.
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September 05, 2011, 05:04:07 AM
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There is some interest in mesh networking, but your proposal looks overly complex. Why are there so many tiers? IMO, you sould let people use whatever protocols they want, within reason.

One obstacle I see to this is that most users have terms and conditions from their ISP that state they are not allowed to resell the connection. A connection you are allowed to resell probably easily costs about $300-$400/month. The cartels providing the Internet backbone are a secretive lot, and probably will do everything they can to disrupt an upstart network that makes them obsolete (much like we assume the banks won't like bitcoin). They are probably also worried about being named in a (or many) copyright infringement lawsuit(s). That is my guess why "real" Internet is so expensive, almost regardless of bandwidth. If you can afford $400/mo for Internet, you can probably afford a lawyer or two. At $400/mo your upstream ISP can consult a lawyer without blowing the profitability of your connection for the next 2 years.

Cell phone access is expensive because towers are placed everywhere. Not only that, the company maintaining the tower pays the property owner rent for the tower's footprint and utilities. If you go to the same building owner and ask them to put up your mesh networking antenna, they will probably say "no" unless you can offer a deal similar to the cellphone tower rental.

Another thing you should keep in mind is that wired is better: you don't have to share bandwidth unless you want to. Many cities will have loops of dark fibre that can likely be leveraged in a wireless mesh network. For immediate neighbours, powerline networking may be able to act as a bridge as well. If you have a newer "home theater", you may be using a powerline ethernet bridge already. Look for a small box that plugs into the wall and has a single RJ45 (ethernet) jack.

IMO, any "trusted nodes" on the network are going to need to be able to encrypt data at wire speeds. This is required to prevent evestroughing or manipulation of the data in flight. This will either take a lot of CPU or dedicated encryption hardware. I estimate that the Pentium 90 I want to use as a router can only encrypt at about 300kbps: my burstable Internet speed is 10 times that.
 

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September 05, 2011, 05:09:31 AM
 #11

  (no connection into the existing internet)

That's no going to be possible. Unless you put it in a different universe someone is going to move data from one to the other, and then everyone is going to do it. What is awesome is that the parts that need to migrate will and the parts that don't will use the legacy stuff. The planet will eventually be a hodgepodge of all sorts of systems using each other for maximum benefit each data flow going where it needs to in order to not be stopped (either by censorship, error, whatever).

The existence of a free network will make others much more free too. What is the point of trying to block something when it will simply move to the free net?

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September 05, 2011, 10:18:47 AM
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I'm not really in a position to care to argue for this (dropped the project months ago), but for the sake of discussion:

1.) the internet already is decentralized ... decided to shut off every piece of equipment they had today it
would cause a problem for about a week


Hardly - We pay ISPs in order to use their infrastructure - and we abide by their rules or we don't get access (remember Net Neutrality?). I don't see how you think if ISPs shut down there would still be access. Without their centralized infrastructure, there is no network.

2.) each node would add like 20ms of latency to any connection

Where did you get this number? The overhead of hops in modern wireless mesh networks are routinely under 3ms. With distributed data (guaranteed small packets) 1-2ms overhead would be likely per jump, and with increasing capacity of wireless technology, that means less hops and more reliable wireless transmission.

3.) your proposal looks overly complex

It differs from B.A.T.M.A.N. and all those other systems in that it is distributed data - this is why it looks more complex, because it breaks data up and distributes it in parallel across the network - this increases security and speed at an exponential rate that scales with the number of users.

4.) ISP that state they are not allowed to resell the connection

This isn't about reselling connections - it would require licensing unused wireless bands (most likely wiMAX frequency areas) which is difficult, and one of the reasons I'm not pursuing the idea.

5.) "trusted nodes" on the network are going to need to be able to encrypt data at wire speeds

There wouldn't be any trusted nodes, or encryption - the data is split up (again, distributed data transfer) so that at any local computer relaying data, all they see is a piece of the original request. Maybe they get a password if they are monitoring their through, but without the username it's meaningless. This is why it's faster and more secure to use distributed data transfer, rather than a single, closest to destination route like every other mesh network project I've seen. The only way someone could intercept a request is through a massive, expensive physical infrastructure that spans miles and intercepts each and every piece of a request - hardly worth the time of a hacker looking to steal passwords or credit card numbers.

6.) That's no going to be possible. Unless you put it in a different universe someone is going to move data from one to the other, and then everyone is going to do it.

A "normal" server can't propagate or read the data of this type - servers have to transmit and receive data in parallel across multiple transceivers, piecing the resultant pieces together to form the request. And regardless, it isn't the data that is going to be so worthy of attention, it will be the network itself. This isn't just about being "anonymous" it's about faster speeds, and LEGAL freedom from regulation.

7.) The existence of a free network

For as long as we need energy to support the networks infrastructure, there will never be a truly free cost internet
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September 05, 2011, 12:09:41 PM
 #13

As far as I know, Optical (light frequency) comms require no spectrum licence.

This sort of thing was designed specifically for that purpose
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/RONJA

Visible Light comms are typically short-range, but with a mesh-network design you might be able to get around that.

Problem is, modulation speed limitations of diodes (and lasers) limit your effective bandwidth to <10mbits IIRC, so it wouldnt be a very fast network and it would stop working whenever it rained or got foggy..  But its one way around the problem of fighting over radio spectrum space

They also require alignment, cleaning and other issues.

Whether you would still require a carrier licence to transmit information across property borders Im not sure.
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September 05, 2011, 02:17:46 PM
 #14

This reminds me of http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Netsukuku

I don't know if anyone's still working on it, but it sounded neat.
The project is still active, you have to check their official mailing list.
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September 05, 2011, 04:05:48 PM
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Techincally if everyone would bridge their routers together into one long chain via wireless WDS or even a wired link then we could create one big LAN network completely shut off from the internet, There could be websites hosted within the LAN and you could share files with other users of the LAN.
 
LOL think about linking all the routers in a city together  Cheesy It would be the biggest LAN party ever!

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September 05, 2011, 04:26:16 PM
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Techincally if everyone would bridge their routers together into one long chain via wireless WDS or even a wired link then we could create one big LAN network completely shut off from the internet, There could be websites hosted within the LAN and you could share files with other users of the LAN.
 
LOL think about linking all the routers in a city together  Cheesy It would be the biggest LAN party ever!

my router refuses to have ips away from 192.168.2-255

so at most you could only ever have 254 connections at most, but the other routers will require their own address, so its more like 150 or 200.

and my router is not exactly "cheap" its a netgear WNDR3700. dual radios, although i don't even use wireless lol. but its there if i ever need it. i am also sure a hack could be made for it, to suit this particular projects needs.

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September 05, 2011, 04:38:02 PM
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Problem is, modulation speed limitations of diodes (and lasers) limit your effective bandwidth to <10mbits IIRC, so it wouldnt be a very fast network
The diodes are the same which are used in optical fiber networks - just without the fiber, so they surely aren't the limiting factor. In fact, there are commercial free space optics communication links with multi-gigabit speeds.

and it would stop working whenever it rained or got foggy..
Well that's a problem indeed, but if the mesh is dense enough you can probably keep it working under most conditions. Utilizing more than one optical frequency can also improve the connectivity in case of fog or rain.

My dream would be a box consisting of the following:
- a RONJA type successor with at least 100Mbit/s (2 or 3 lasers per box)
- a small energy efficient router with omnidirectional WiFi antenna
- a solar panel with a backup battery

Mass produce them and distribute them on roofs all over the cities Grin

Well, one can dream, right?
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September 05, 2011, 04:46:43 PM
 #18

With today's networking technology. I see two real problems: ping, which would become entirely too large, to do anything high end; and the massive scale we would be talking about, there are no truly effective measures of broadcasting those kinds of internetz from a hand held device. Not to mention the amount of needed bandwidth would be crazy.

My theory from a quick glance at the tl;dr picture.

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September 05, 2011, 04:48:04 PM
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Techincally if everyone would bridge their routers together into one long chain via wireless WDS or even a wired link then we could create one big LAN network completely shut off from the internet, There could be websites hosted within the LAN and you could share files with other users of the LAN.
 
LOL think about linking all the routers in a city together  Cheesy It would be the biggest LAN party ever!

my router refuses to have ips away from 192.168.2-255

so at most you could only ever have 254 connections at most, but the other routers will require their own address, so its more like 150 or 200.

and my router is not exactly "cheap" its a netgear WNDR3700. dual radios, although i don't even use wireless lol. but its there if i ever need it. i am also sure a hack could be made for it, to suit this particular projects needs.

The amount of IP adresses you can have is determined by the size of the subnet 255.255.0 - 255.255.255.0 etc

Here is a rough sketch of what im talking about.



The red boxes are WDS stations, the black boxes are routers and the green box could be any technology like cellular or sat link.


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September 05, 2011, 05:00:00 PM
 #20

@OP: I understand what you mean when you say the internet isn't decentralized, but if you just say it like that it is confusing. I mean you defiantly can't call the internet centralized either. Maybe the question is what is decentralized and how much it is decentralized.

Also there are projects like this. I hope one of them emerges into something bigger and a lot of people start using them. The most interesting ones seem to be B.A.T.M.A.N. and Netsukuku, with the latter one appearing to be 'dead'.

RONJA requires different infrastructure. It would be awesome to have something WLAN based, because they are cheaper and built in everywhere (Smartphones, PDAs, TVs, ...).

I really would love to see such a project to succeed in a way that everyone becomes independent from any kind of provider or regulator.

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