Building Dissent Networks

Here’s an interesting video about the design challenges associated with dissent networks built using mesh networks. Dissent networks are usually built using a mesh networks, and are often built in response to the censoring or limiting of Internet access by oppressive governments (think Egypt during the Arab Spring protests in 2011). The video suggests that there’s no silver bullet for building a mesh network that’s difficult to disrupt while also providing good performance. For example, using directional antennas improves signal range and reception, but it also makes the network more conspicuous and easier to trace; on the other hand, using omnidirectional antennas leads to a more robust network that is harder to jam, but it also leads to a lot more transmission collisions that decrease the network efficiency.

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One thought on “Building Dissent Networks

  1. I could be wrong but I believe it would be easier to locate an omni-directional antenna than a high gain directional. Specially if you’re using a very narrow / aimed beam which would also allow lower power to be used. A scanner would have to be in the directional beam to pick it up while the omni could be located and triangulated from anywhere. Something else to consider would be to use a much lower freq <= 50 MHz if able or outside the commonly used bands. The lower freq's would also give much greater range and reflection off terrain, buildings, etc. Using random, synced transmit / receive intervals would also make it much harder to trace.

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