OLSR at Mindcamp

One of the neat experiments at Mindcamp has been talked about a bit – the Seattle Wireless Network put up (or attempted to put up) a rather large ad-hoc wireless network using OLSR. It’s been commented on by others, so I’ll just summarize by saying: “Neat experiment, didn’t work for us”.

I was very skeptical right off the bat, mostly because I saw a field of laptops that they were asking to all be tuned onto 1 ad-hoc mode channel. It’s like asking 50 people to all start singing different songs in a small enclosed room. There’s only so much bandwidth, and that sort of setup will just flood it. Its the biggest (IMO) problem with the mesh network thing – the technology isn’t (yet) well set up to swing around and take advantage of side channels, so when you get enough devices into a smallish area, you just flood the area with noise and nobody can talk.

Now that I’ve proven how ooh-so-savvy I am about wireless tech (NOT!), this technology is really cool. I hadn’t been aware of OLSR previously, and I’m really glad I am now – even though I’m not spending as much time with wireless technology as I used to. Open source, and it clearly works (albeit with problems like what we saw) – that is cool!