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Mesh Neworks for Internet Blackout

As we discussed during the second lecture, the internet in 1970 could have been separated into two components by breaking just two lines. The west coast and the east coast would be temporarily disconnected until the lines were repaired. Today the internet is much larger with millions of devices connected and we are much more dependent on the internet. Natural disasters or government intervention could create a large component that is no longer connected to servers around the world. As seen in the Arab Spring, people have tried to keep the web alive even with a threatening regime trying to sever all connections.

This article from The Verge ( is concerned with a total web blackout where DNS, VPN or Tor are no longer back-doors around government restrictions. Projects like Commotion are encouraging the technology needed to create a mesh network which could be used to set up a chat room on a “mini internet” if the larger web is shut down. Any node can talk to any other point in the network similar to human communication. People would be able to continue communicating news and pictures as though they were on the internet making an uprising harder to extinguish. The United States State Department has paid millions of dollars into building these networks in Tunisia and Cuba facilitating any uprising. Mesh networks have applications outside political uprisings as well. People still connected to the larger web can share their internet connection with others and continue branching off from there. Eventually triangular encapsulation will connect more and more people to the internet again.


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