kheimerl's blog

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Cellular Repeaters for Rural Coverage

Some friends of ours have posted a video demonstrating their use of cellular repeaters to bring coverage some remote parts of Panama. Available here: http://vimeo.com/78562876
 

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Local, Sustainable, Small-Scale Cellular Networks Accepted into ICTD'13

 Our paper on the Papua network, Local, Sustainable, Small-scale Cellular Networks, has been accepted for publication at ICTD'13. See you all in cape town!
 
P.S. We also visited the Rhizomatica network in Mexico over the summer, wonderful stuff. Hopefully I'll be doing a writeup on that soon. 

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The Village Base Station goes live in rural Papua

 This blog has detailed some parts of the Village Base Station project. Our goal is a cellular network designed to to be operated by small-scale organizations and NGOs. We're specifically interested in supporting community; making cellular networks that no longer just bring the outside world into your home but also bring your neighbors closer together. Finally, after months of preparation, hacking, tree climbing (not by us, unfortunately), flying, getting stuck on bad roads, and negotiatation with carriers...  The Village Base Station is open for business.

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The confusing state of cloud SMS

We’re in Desa, a small town in Papua, Indonesia, setting up TIER's Village Base Station, a low-power, low-cost GSM network designed for rural areas. While we're also interested in things like building locally-relevant and useful services for the users of our networks, one of the main values of bringing cellular phone service to a place like Desa is connecting people to the outside world. Being able to make a phone call or send an SMS to Wamena, the nearest large town, can save a day's worth of travel and a large amount of money.

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Does 3G mode protect you against 2G attacks?

 I was recently at the Internet at Liberty conference in DC, where inter net activists (i.e., activists who use the inter net) congregated and discussed mechanisms for dealing with surveillance and monitoring by telecommunications companies. Particularly, I was demoing my own "Evil Basestation" project (built on OpenBTS), which teaches activists what the network knows about them and how it gathers than information.

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Video on our Low-power GSM Tower Initiative

Kashif Ali and I recently put together a video demonstrating some of the technology we've developed to enable extremely low-power GSM cellular infrastructure. That video is available here: www.youtube.com/watch?v=i8PElVGDe5M It's a very technical discussion, so you may be lost if you're not already involved in GSM/Wireless. We're thinking of producing a simpler video in the future. 
 

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"How can the infrastructure help support communities?" -TIER @ Burning Man

In collaboration with the Papa Legaba camp, TIER (@kheimerl and @shaddih and working with Tapan Parikh and Coye Cheshire) are going to be testing some of our ideas about community owned and operated networks (see our writeup on small-scale GSM networks for developing regions here) at Burning Man this late August.

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Mobile Active Profiles the Village Base Station

 Though we at TIER are all resting (or writing disserations) over this summer period, our friends at Mobile Active (MA) have recently psoted a writeup of a trip TIER took to MA a month ago. We demonstrated OpenBTS and the Village Base Station, showed a number of potential GSM attacks on handsets, and made a call through a VSAT link. It was a great time. 
Here's their blog post: http://www.mobileactive.org/village-base-station-project

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An interview with a Indian rural crowdsourcing firm

I've been thinking about crowdsourcing's application to development for a while now. Samasource is the most popular such system, but others exist (MobiWorks being the one I've interacted with the most). I've always had core issues with these systems, which have led to some epic debates (primarily with Prayag Narula of MobiWorks) in the iSchool's development seminar. My basic issues (that I can't take credit for) are simple:
 

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Most Recent MetaMouse Deployment Post-Mortem

 As some of you may know, the MetaMouse project has been ongoing at Berkeley for a number of years now. The short version is that it automatically converts any single-user Windows XP program into a multi-user, cooperative application. MetaMouse is primarily targeted at educational games in areas with limited computer hardware.

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