For $2 Million You Too Can Have The Net In A Suitcase

Over the last year the Internet has become a medium for peaceful revolution with the most notable being the Arab Spring movement that has swept across much of the Middle East and Arab Peninsula. However one of the major problems faced in those countries is the fact that the access to the Internet is in the control of the very governments that the people are rising up against.

Just about every country in that area of the world has at one time or another, with varying degrees of success, tried to shut down access, or at the vary least exerted crushing control, to the Web. To combat these actions the U.S. government has developed what is being referred to as the “Internet in a suitcase” that can be dropped into trouble spots and allow people to create access points to the Web.

The Internet in a suitcase uses an entirely different communications method–the mesh. In this model, the network is actually all about numerous interlinks between devices, avoiding over-reliance on hubs which can be weak points. Think of it like this–your smartphone has a Wi-Fi link, which can connect to a router, which is hooked to wired broadband Net in its normal usage. But if it’s instead connected to a computer, which is also connected to another computer, plus a router, a smartphone, and a feature phone that has a 3G wireless connection, the entire array is spread out over more and different technologies and connection types. Squashing this type of network is much harder. It’s a true peer-to-peer solution.

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…. but sending in a computer with the right software, and hardware to share wireless connections over much longer ranges than would otherwise be possible, it’s completely possible to set up a Wi-Fi based alternative to national Net connections that could even tap into satellite phone networks, or sample a long-range Wi-Fi signal from over the border to a neighboring nation.

via Fast Company