Difference between revisions of "Mobiles: Alternatives"

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(Commotion Wireless)
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Project developed by Open Technology Institute <ref>https://www.newamerica.org/oti/ </ref> which consists in creating mesh networks <ref>https: //wiki/Red_en_malla </ref> <ref>https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Communication_in_the_Category </ref>. This project has used Mobile ad-hoc network <ref>https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mobile_ad_hoc_network </ref>, ie a network of mobile nodes connected via wireless signal.
A project developed by the Open Technology Institute <ref>https://www.newamerica.org/oti/ </ref> which consists in creating mesh networks <ref>https: //wiki/Red_en_malla </ref> <ref>https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Communication_in_the_Category </ref>. This project has used Mobile ad-hoc network <ref>https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mobile_ad_hoc_network </ref>, whcih are networks of mobile nodes connected via wireless signal.

Revision as of 15:00, 27 January 2017

Dany guzman.jpg [1]

Autonomous and Community Mobile Telephony

According to the International Telecommunication Union[2] in the world there are between 2 to 3 billion people who lack mobile telephony services, this is due mainly because telecommunications regulatory bodies grant concessions to access the mobile radio spectrum only to large companies, restricting access to micro enterprises that wish to provide this service to rural areas for instance.

It is common to think that the only way to communicate through mobile phones is to use the services of large transnational mobile phone companies and that profit is the only economic model for the creation and sustainability of these services. However, there are communities and villages that are located in geographically remote territories, with a low population density and / or where the economy is based on self-subsistence economies, and which remain unappealing for large companies which are in general not interested in providing services (considering for example that the initial investment Is too high). Sometimes, these communities do not want telephony services based on an unscrupulous profit model neither.

It is within these communities that the hope is born for new creative and collaborative ways of providing telephony services. We present below some of these alternative mobile phone projects whose models are based on the exercise of the right of peoples' to communication.



The Rhizomatica organization is located in Oaxaca[3], in the south-east of Mexico. It works by creating bridges between communities of indigenous peoples of Mexico and people engaged in telecommunications engineering with open systems, with the objective of creating mobile telephony infrastructure to strengthen the autonomy of indigenous peoples. In order to understand the origin and success of the autonomous mobile telephony project, it is important to understand its context.

Context and history

Oaxaca is a complex territory, with a great cultural diversity (17 indigenous peoples co-inhabit the territory), with a rugged geography, where the territory is communal, there are strong structures of local government recognized by the Mexican constitution and international treaties, Economy is basically based on self-subsistence.

In the 1970s and 1980s, these peoples began their first communal enterprises for the management of common goods * forestry and aquifers that are the precedent for the current communal telecommunication enterprises described here. This complex context is the fertile ground for infrastructure projects in telecommunications that strengthen the autonomy of indigenous peoples.

From the 2006 social movement[4] the native peoples of Oaxaca engaged in the task of creating their own means of communication, with special emphasis on the Community radios. At the moment, Oaxaca is the state with the greater concentration of these radios in all the country. Although there is no official census, social organizations estimate that there are between 60 and 100 community radios currently operating in the state of Oaxaca.

Driven by the need for communication, the communal authorities of these towns approached innumerable times big companies to request services of mobile telephony but the result was a refusal because they are small towns, located in remote areas and with few resources. Because of this, communal villages began a dialogue with the team of Rhizomatica to look for the ways to construct infrastructure of mobile telephony that would strengthen the autonomy of their towns. This was how the Autonomous and Community Cellular Telephone project emerged.


In technical terms, the autonomous mobile telephony infrastructure consists of a[5] transceiver that emits and receives radio waves at the frequency of 850 MHz with 5 Watts of Power and an antenna located in the high part of the territory which allows to cover up to 15 km around. These are radio waves that require line of sight, meaning that mountainous geography should be considered so that the signal reaches far. Any type of phone can access these networks, a specific SIM card is not required. In the case of Oaxaca, the numbering system is constructed according to the postal code assigned to that territory. The system of administration and billing is made to be adapted to the original languages that are spoken in the locality.

For more details about the architecture system, the hardware and software used, we recommend you to view the Rhizomatica wiki http://wiki.rhizomatica.org/index.php/System_Architecture/es Screenshot4.png Screenshot2.png

Currently (July 2016) the project encompasses 17 communities[6], and some of them are interconnected. Each transceiver is owned by the communal governing body of each village. The cost per telephone registered in the network is 40 Mexican pesos per month equivalent to $ 2 USD for unlimited calls and text messages within the interconnected community or region. For out-of-town calls such as the city of Oaxaca or a city in the United States, calls come through the voice over IP (VoIP) system[7] offering network users the lowest rates in the market. To achieve this it is important that the community that wants to have an autonomous mobile telephone system, first resolve the issue of their Internet connection. Usually this is done through local micro-enterprises that are creating networks through WiFi links to take the Internet to those places. The cost of a computer, the importation of the equipment, the installation and training for its administration is approximately $ 7,000 USD. Currently Rhizomatica uses NuRAN Wireless [8]equipment among other providers. This cost is expected to decline in the coming years with the development of new open source hardware devices.

Among the main requirements for the installation of an autonomous mobile telephone networks we find: - Count with the approval of the community assembly - No signal from another mobile phone company - Have an Internet connection

Rhizomatica currently has around 3,000 users of autonomous mobile telephony services in Oaxaca. From this experience, a group of young computer students developed has replicated a similar project on the Nicaraguan Atlantic coast called SayCel[9].

Political achievements

The achievement of Rhizomatica and the native peoples of Oaxaca is not only technical but also political. Last June, 2016, the civil association Telecomunicaciones Indígenas Comunitarias (TIC AC), made up of the 17 communities that have autonomous mobile telephone networks won a 15-year concession to operate telecommunications networks in 5 states of the Mexican republic: Veracruz, Guerrero, Oaxaca, Puebla and Chiapas. This achievement sets a historic precedent in telecommunications in Mexico and in the world, with which the International Telecommunication Union shows it as an example to be followed by other governments in the region.


Among the main challenges that Rhizomatica faces we find the access to data for Internet browsing and the transformation of the customer-company relationship as people are accustomed to the fact that mobile phone services are in the hands of transnational companies and not in their own hands .


To know more about the project, we invite you to watch the following videos Network of Santa María Yaviche:

Desinformemonos Video


WIRED article English Version: http://www.wired.com/2015/01/diy-cellular-phone-networks-mexico/

Desinformemonos http://desinformemonos.org.mx/la-telefonia-comunitaria-el-desafio-que-crece/

About the 15 years concession http://www.sinembargo.mx/23-07-2016/3071050 http://eleconomista.com.mx/industrias/2016/07/07/indigenas-oaxaca-seran-operadores-como-att-telcel-movistar





Free and communitarian WIFI networks



Altermundi “la pata tecnológica de ese otro mundo posible” https://www.altermundi.net/


It is a civil association that was born in the province of Córdoba[10] in Argentina[11], its mission is to create Internet infrastructure through the use of Free Software and very low cost hardware. Altermundi creates decentralized wireless networks, using WiFi routers and a[12]firmware to modify the router's operation.

"A community network is a network built, managed, administrated, by the people who are going to use it. It prioritizes local traffic, maintains peering agreements[13] (Internet free transit) with any network that offers reciprocity. This was the Internet when it started, that was the original spirit, which has been lost. Internet has been closed and the big networks do not give peering to the people, they broke the model of peer to pee[14]. For us, community networks have two axes: giving concrete solutions to people of flesh and blood , and at the same time "contaminate" the current the Internet with the old spirit of the Internet "Nicolás Echániz[15] founding member of Altermundi.

The main advantage of these networks is that they allow access to the Internet in villages where there is no access to the services of commercial companies but above all they are very simple to manage and administer by people in the community itself, without the need for specialized knowledge in electronics or computing and at an affordable price. In addition anyone can extend the network, respecting its design and its principles because its growth is not based in a business model.

Through this free Internet network people have access to a local chat service, to online transmission of local community radio, to VoIP calls, to share files between peers and to games. In Argentina, these networks are located in Delta de Tigre in Buenos Aires and the Valley of Paravachasca in Cordoba.


The hardware[16] consists of a router and an antenna, as well as other materials to adapt the router and the cable that connects to the antenna in the open. In the router if you install a firmware (operating system) that allows autoconfiguration and other programs for personalization and monitoring of the network.

Altermundi modifies the routers so that when connecting with a directional antenna the signal of WiFi can cover a few kilometers, in this way a network of devices with WiFi signal is built by which they can interchange data between people within a town or region and also can connect the network to what we know today by Internet, allowing to share it in the network.

'What is the difference between a Free Network and a Community Network?' Characteristics of a Free Network:

  • Free use: it can be used by its participants to offer and receive any type of service that does not affect its good functioning;
  • Neutrality: does not inspect or modify data flows within the network beyond what is necessary for its operation;
  • Free interconnection: allows, freedom and free services, the flow of data with other networks that respect the same conditions;
  • Free transit: it provides other free networks access to the networks with which it maintains voluntary agreements of free interconnection.

The goal of free networks is to return common sense to the Internet structure, allowing the free flow of information, making the most of infrastructure and lowering costs so that small businesses can be deployed easily in areas where Internet access is unfeasible. In this sense Community Networks are an expression of Free Networks because they play a fundamental role for the community through the following characteristics:

  • Collective ownership: its infrastructure is owned by the community that deploys it;
  • Social management: the network is managed by the same community;
  • Accessible design: information on how the network and its components work are public and accessible;
  • Open participation: anyone can extend the network, respecting its design and its principles.

Political Achievements

At the same time as implementing its technology, Altermundi participated in the debate on the Digital Argentina Law approved in December 2014, achieving jointly with other sectors to include in the article 94 of the law the "promotion and protection of community networks" .

On the other hand, the work of Altermundi with the creation of these free and community networks, gave birth to a new ccooperation team that is developing Free-Mesh [17].


The main challenge of these free networks is to have access to a bandwidth at wholesale prices to connect to the rest of the Internet. While in Europe 1 megabytes per second cost around $ 0.78 per month, in Argentina 1 megabyte per second costs $ 40 per month, therefore more than 50 times the price in Europe.

Otros proyectos alternativos




It is a telecommunications network as a common good. It currently has more than 30,000 active nodes within the network.

"Guifi · net is a telecommunications network in which individuals, organizations, companies and all types of entities participate by promoting and investing in a common infrastructure that provides them with access to telecommunications and the Internet of quality and at a fair price "[18].

An Open, Free and Neutral Network is defined as:

  • It is open because it is universally offered to the participation of all without any kind of exclusion or discrimination and because it is informed at all times about how the network and its components work, allowing anyone to improve it.
  • It is free because everyone can do what they want and enjoy the freedoms as foreseen in the reference of the general principles (section I), all this regardless of their level of participation in the network and without imposing terms and conditions Which contradict this agreement unilaterally.
  • It is neutral because the network is independent of the contents, it does not condition them and, thus, they can circulate freely; Users can access and produce content regardless of financial possibilities or social conditions. When content is added to the network guifi.net is done in order to stimulate its appearance, better manage the network or simply as an exercise to incorporate content, but in no case with the aim of replacing or blocking other content.

The Procommon of the RAAN (Open, Free and Neutral Network) is based on the following bases:

  • You are free to use the network for any purpose as long as you do not damage the operation of the network itself, the freedom of other users, and respect the conditions of the contents and services that circulate freely.
  • You are free to know how the network, its components and its operation, you can also spread your spirit and operation freely.
  • You are free to incorporate services and contents to the network with the conditions that you want.
  • You are free to join the network and help to extend these freedoms and conditions.

Map of nodes: https://guifi.net/es/node/17711/view/map

Videos http://guifitv.guifi.net/?q=node/31 http://media.guifi.net/

Get involved! The node is yours but the network is of all the people that connect.: https://guifi.net/en/participa

Routers and firmwares you can use to contribute to the network https://guifi.net/en/firmware

Joining guifi.net in three simple steps[19]

  • Add a node
  • Add a new router
  • Add a bridge

Proyecto Serval



This project comes from a group of people in Australia who develop open source technology and free software to create direct connection between mobile phones, through the WiFI interfaces of the phones.

In order to use this technology it is necessary to access as root user [20] to the mobile phone to be able to install a free software developed by Serval that allows the WiFi antenna In Ad-hoc type in order to create a Mesh Network [21].

You do not need an external WiFi infrastructure to the mobile phone, you simply need to activate the WiFi of the nearby mobile phones and this way you can exchange data through calls, messages, photos, etc. This data travels from one telephone to another, through the route within the connected telephone network. The services of a mobile phone company are not required. This technology allows you to make voice calls. Text messages and other data are communicated through storage and retransmission, a system known as rhizome.

Wiki of the Serval project: http://developer.servalproject.org/dokuwiki/doku.php

Commotion Wireless

Comotion logocom.jpeg


A project developed by the Open Technology Institute [22] which consists in creating mesh networks [23] [24]. This project has used Mobile ad-hoc network [25], whcih are networks of mobile nodes connected via wireless signal.


  1. Fotográfo: Daniel Guzman. Isla Negra, Chile.
  2. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/International_Telecommunication_Union
  3. https://es.wikipedia.org/wiki/Oaxaca
  4. https://es.wikipedia.org/wiki/Asamblea_Popular_de_los_Pueblos_de_Oaxaca
  5. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Transceiver
  6. http://wiki.rhizomatica.org/index.php/Map_with_current_sites
  7. https://es.wikipedia.org/wiki/Voz_sobre_protocolo_de_internet
  8. http://nuranwireless.com/
  9. http://itp.junglebrains.com/saycel-community-cellular-networks/
  10. https://es.wikipedia.org/wiki/Provincia_de_C%C3%B3rdoba_%28Argentina%29
  11. https://es.wikipedia.org/wiki/Argentina
  12. https://es.wikipedia.org/wiki/Firmware
  13. https://es.wikipedia.org/wiki/Peering
  14. https://es.wikipedia.org/wiki/Peer-to-peer
  15. https://twitter.com/nicoechaniz
  16. https://es.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hardware
  17. http://libre-mesh.org
  18. https://guifi.net/es/que_es
  19. https://guifi.net/en/trespasos
  20. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Root
  21. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mesh_networking
  22. https://www.newamerica.org/oti/
  23. https: //wiki/Red_en_malla
  24. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Communication_in_the_Category
  25. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mobile_ad_hoc_network