Pico-Peering — Building the Community Wireless Uber-Network

Imagine a wireless network stretching from Kladno to Buenos Aires; from London to Johannesburg; from Urbana-Champaign to Sydney; to more and more places around the globe. Beginning in 2000, a group of dedicated community wireless developers sat down to figure out a way for a heterogeneous group of Community Wireless Networks to cooperate and affiliate. FreeNetworks.org has led the way Imagine a wireless network stretching from Kladno to Buenos Aires; from London to Johannesburg; from Urbana-Champaign to Sydney; to more and more places around the globe. Beginning in 2000, a group of dedicated community wireless developers sat down to figure out a way for a heterogeneous group of Community Wireless Networks to cooperate and affiliate. FreeNetworks.org has led the way — crafting a simple, accessible, 1-page “Pico Peering” agreement that any free network can adopt. I bring this up, not because it’s a new idea (in fact, it’s been pondered, discussed, revised, and refined over multiple years), but because it offers an opportunity for the myriad wireless networks to collaborate.

But read the agreement below — if you like what you read, click here to register your wireless network with the growing Pico Peering movement.

FreeNetworks.org Peering Agreement v1.1

A FreeNetworks.org network is defined as any computer network that identifies itself as affiliated with FreeNetworks.org, and must also follow this agreement.

Preamble

There are now many community networks, but they are seperated geographically and socially and do not form a coherent network. This document is an attempt to connect those network islands by providing the minimum baseline template for a peering agreement between owners of individual network nodes – the FreeNetworks.org Peering Agreement (FNPA).

The FNPA is a way of formalizing the interaction between two peers. Owners of network nodes assert their right of ownership by declaring their willingness to donate the free exchange of data across their networks.

The FNPA is maintained at http://freenetworks.org/ by a group of volunteers from around the world. It is intended to be used as a template for other small-scale peering documents and licenses.

Agreement

Article I. Free Transit:

  1. The owner agrees to provide free transit accross their free network.
  2. The owner agrees not to modify or interfere with data as it passes through their free network, except when filtering or rate limiting is necessary in order to protect the network.

Article II. Open Communication:

  1. The owner agrees to publish the information necessary for peering to take place.
  2. This information shall be published under a free licence.

Article III. No Warranty:

  1. There is no guaranteed level of service.
  2. The service is provided “as is”, with no warranty or liability whatsoever of any kind.
  3. The service can be scaled back or withdrawn at any time with no notice.

Article IV. Terms of Use:

  1. The owner is entitled to formulate an ‘acceptable use policy’ (AUP).
  2. This AUP may or may not contain information about additional services provided (apart from basic access).
  3. The owner is free to formulate this policy as long as it does not contradict articles I and II of this agreement (see Article V).

Article V. Local Amendments:

  • (to be filled in ad-hoc by the node owner as this document is implemented)

Definition of terms:

  • Owner: The owner of the node is the entity operating the network equipment or donating functionality to the FreeNetwork.
  • Transit: Transit is the exchange of data into, out of, or across a network.
  • Free Transit: Free transit means that the owner will neither charge for the transit of data nor modify the data.
  • Free Network: The Free Network is the sum of interconnected hardware and software resources, whose FreeTransit has been donated by the owners of those resources.
  • The Service: The Service is made up of Free transit and Additional Services.
  • Additional Services: In terms of the FNPA, an additional service is anything over and above Free Transit. For example, provision of a DHCP server, a web server, or a mail server.

The FNPA in practice

The FNPA shall be implemented in data readable form following agreed standards in community network node databases to facilitate automatic interconnection of nodes.