Sneakernets and other networks

I have moved across the country! I’m totally wiped out and still have much to do, so please forgive a rambling post. Several things have popped up and they feel related and timely to me.

ew0k recently wrote about using sneakernets

When I talk about "sneakernet" in this post I don't mean the occasional file moved on a USB thumb drive between friends once in a while (even though that technically counts). I'm thinking about organised sneakernets between several actors, be they individuals or organisations.

Two weeks ago on the Permacomputing mailing list¹, Marloes² posted a link to an interview with Nestor Siré where he talks about El Paquete Semanal and SNET.

Interview with Nestor Siré (Part 1 of 2)

Sire describes these for readers unfamiliar with them:

El Paquete Semanal is one-terabyte of, mostly pirated, entertainment media that is collected weekly in Cuba and distributed throughout the country, through hand-to-hand file exchange. It contains between 15,000 and 18,000 files and covers a wide variety of formats and digital entertainment media, as well as advertising for different national services. It operates outside government control.
SNET is a community-run, Wi-Fi mesh network born out of the need of young Cubans to play online games in a country with no other means to connect. It is a local network, with no connection to the Internet. It has evolved organically in Havana from hundreds of LANs (Local Area Networks) that started to connect to each other.

While chatting over email, ~owleyarc shared this article with me:

Moscow state university network built by students

I guess I’m just fascinated by ad hoc, resilient networks. Coincidentally, I’m also troubleshooting the flaky WiFi connection at the place where I’m staying for the next few months, and (less urgently) trying to get a LoRa device to work with Meshtastic.

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