Wireless mesh networks (WMNs) consists of mesh routers and mesh clients that are dynamically selforganized and self-configured, with the nodes in the network automatically establishing and maintaining mesh connectivity among themselves. The Mesh Potato Mobile Network Visualization, Management and Provisioning (MPMobVis) project is aimed at creating a visualization, management and provisioning tool, on a mobile phone based on the Android platform, for a wireless mesh network that is configured using the Mesh Potato mesh router. The Mesh Potato is an 802.11bg mesh router, running the B.A.T.M.A.N. mesh routing software, and has a single Foreign eXchange Station (FXS) port. Mesh Potatoes that are deployed within range of each other automatically form a mesh network (mesh router functionality) and users with their analogue phones connected to the FXS port on the Mesh Potato can make calls to each other immediately.
The Mesh Potato was designed at the Village Telco workshop in 2008, and has been undergoing development since then. The goal of the Village Telco project, mandated by the Shuttleworth Foundation, was to develop low-cost, scalable, standards-based WiFi telephone company toolkit, to be used by the Village Telco Entrepreneur (VTE), using open source software and open hardware. The Village Telco consists of the following basic components: a billing and user management system, a wireless mesh network and affordable handsets for users and an upstream telecommunications connection that gives users access to VoIP services.
The Village Telco requires a network management tool in order to ensure a good Quality of Service (QoS) for the telephony services provided on the network. To this end, Village Telco has worked closely with the Afrimesh project, which is a web-based visualization and management tool for Wireless Mesh Networks (WMNs) using the B.A.T.M.A.N. routing protocol. The provisioning of Mesh Potatoes for the Village Telco is currently being done manually. This task involves accessing the Mesh Potato via a telnet connection and running a script that configures properties such as the IP address. Afrimesh allows a network manager, like the VTE, to view the network topology and network metrics such as link quality, network traffic and router information.
The goal of the MPMobVis project is to provide mobile network monitoring, visualization and provisioning tools for WMNs using the Mesh Potato. The project will be supervised by Professor Edwin Blake and co-supervised by Professor Gary Marsden . We will be working closely with Antoine van Gelder , who is in the development team at Afrimesh. We will consult him during the development phase to assist with technical aspects of working with WMNs.