Keeping the Internet up when the cloud goes down
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The Internet is a remarkable tool for communications with friends and family. It allows us to find out information about subjects, arrange for products or services, and provide or seek help when necessary.

But when you need it and the Internet goes down, it could be more than just an inconvenience.

Consider three friends, Alice, Bob, and Charles.

Alice and Bob are neighbors while Charles is far away.

Normally when any party wants to communicate with another it is routed in what is often called the cloud, or the global Internet. While in the past phone calls and email messages were handled by different infrastructures, today both are essentially handled in the cloud.

When Alice wants to send an email or have a phone call with Charles far away, it is routed through the cloud.

When Alice wants to send an email or have a phone call with Bob her neighbor, it is routed through the cloud.

However, when a disaster occurs that covers large areas, such as a hurricane, earthquake, volcano, or war, access to the cloud may be limited or non-existent. The same impact can occur to a smaller area, such as a city or building, causing the same loss of access but to fewer people.

Often backup methods are available, such as satellites, but only if you have authorized access.

While Alice contacting Charles will most likely require the cloud, Alice contacting Bob should not. How can this be done?

A local mesh network is a good solution as it only requires local nodes of communications and not the cloud.

The global Internet can be consider a massive mesh network in that it includes local nodes such as your Internet Service Provider or ISP, and global nodes that connect the ISPs together.

When Alice communicates with Charles, local and global nodes are involved.

While Alice communicating with Bob will typically use local and global nodes, are the global nodes necessary?

Typically the global nodes are used to arrange the connection, so Alice can find Bob. Often there will be intermediate servers in the cloud that are in the middle of the communications. Both can be eliminated.

For Alice’s computer to find Bob’s typically a server in the cloud will determine how to route the connection directly or more likely through intermediate servers. If Alice’s computer cannot access the cloud, the arrangements cannot be routed. This can be due loss of communications to the cloud. It can also be accidental or deliberate blocking of the route.

If Alice’s computer itself routes the connection, new possibilities are available. For Alice to find Charles, Alice’s computer can do only part of the work as the cloud remains required for the rest. For Alice to find Bob, Alice’s computer can do it all, irrespective if the cloud is available or not, such as during a disaster.

Why isn’t this done by default? Often the excuse is speed, as much of the routing process can be done faster in the cloud. However, we are typically dealing with far less than a second difference. There is the idea that routing being somewhat centralized makes management and updates easier.

The reality is that this allows third parties to know about Alice’s desire to communicate with Bob and to a degree when and where. There is also the ability to decide that Alice should or should not have access to Bob. When Alice’s computer does some or all of the routing, monitoring and censorship are reduced or eliminated.

For Alice’s computer to communicate with Bob’s it has to be able to know enough about the local mesh network to find Bob. This will require software that will do this on at least some of the local nodes. Programs to do this are often used once loss to the cloud occurs, but that can only happen if the program is downloaded via the cloud while it is available, or perhaps using a physical means like a flash drive.

There may also be a question of intermediate local nodes and their motivation to participate in the communications. What would make it attractive to be an intermediate node besides to be there in a disaster? How about cold hard cash?

An ecosystem needs to be built where local parties are incentivized to be intermediaries for financial return. The range of return might be enough to buy a tomato once a year, to the sole income source for a family.

Why would end users be interested in being part of the local ecosystem? There are the risks from weather to war that may be motivations depending on the region. Reduction or elimination of tracking may motivate even more as many understand that the Stasis’s moto of “know everything about everyone” is a worldwide reality today. Privacy is enhanced, especially for communications that is local only, since it never appears in the cloud.

How can this be done? This is a purpose of ShofarNexus.








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Keeping the Internet up when the cloud goes down