In response to my post about the UN plans to ‘regulate’ the internet, CodeSlinger made a comment which I think deserves a full post of its own:
Good algorithms for dynamic routing through ad hoc wireless mesh networks are already available in the public domain. Most people already have more processing power and bandwidth than they actually use, and the amount of computing power you can buy for a buck just keeps on doubling every 18 months. All this surplus is can be made available to carry other people’s traffic.
The only thing holding back a truly unkillable internet is the fact that most people aren’t willing to spend much money on the uplink side. They will buy a wireless router with enough range to cover their home, but not enough to cover their block. But just let some of these draconian measures pass and see how fast that changes. People will quickly figure out how much better the internet works when everybody is their neighbours’ ISP.
Already, in densely populated areas, we are seeing increasing overlap between the coverage areas of people’s routers and their neighbours’ routers. As this trend accelerates, larger and larger urban areas will de facto become independent sub-networks that cannot be killed or surveiled from outside.
In rural areas, however, the problem is a lot worse because each router has to cover an area that may be miles in diameter in order to achieve overlap. Before you get anywhere near that range, though, you run into CRTC limitations on transmitted power.
And maintaining connectivity between distant population centers is an even bigger problem. However, a German group called the Chaos Computer Club is developing the Hackerspace Global Grid: a system of communications satellites (!) which will interface to inexpensive ground stations that anyone can buy or build.
Here is an article about the project: Hackers plan space satellites to combat censorship.
The internet is about to get dramatically harder to regulate!