gsoc

GSoC: Netengine project

Here it is my second blog post for the Mid Term Evaluation of GSOC2014.

As I wrote in the previous one, I'm working on Netengine, a Python module to abstract network devices and get information from them.

The work is going very well, I'm learning new things every day with the help of my mentor, Federico Capoano, and I'm very happy with the development.

In this first part of the work we completed as per goals, the SNMP back-end for AirOS and OpenWRT firmwares.

The most difficult part of this first part was to work with SNMP (Simple Network Management Protocol) because I had never worked with it, so I had to learn it's basics and how it works, in particular it's way of retrieving info from devices.

It uses different codes (MIB), everyone of it gives access to different information of the device (e.g device name, addresses, interfaces); so before starting to write I had to look for the correct MIBs to query.

Now we are focusing on the ssh.OpenWRT back-end ready to switch the next one on the list once completed.

I'm definitely very happy with how the work is going, with the communications I'm having with my mentor and with all coding practices I'm learning from him.

The program gave me not only the possibility to improve my skills but also to meet new people very experienced on the field.

The next step is to start coding on the new back-end, probably an HTTP back-end for AirOS, to complete the program in time.

For further questions on the project please visit https://github.com/ninuxorg/netengine or email us at ninux­dev@ml.ninux.org.  

GSoC "BGP/Bird integration with OpenWRT and QMP" project report

This entry is for updating the information regarding this GSoC Project focused on the automate of BGP-BMX6 metrics and routes exchange and "translation". 
 
During the WBMv7 in Leipzig, the WiBed platform [0] was presentated as well as the GSoC project[1] where I am participating. WiBed was used to deploy the testbed network where many routing and mesh related experiments were executed.
I was participating in the deployment and development teams of the WBMv7, so I contributed in many bug fixes and platform improvements.
The WiBed project is important for the GSOC because it provides a testing platform very similar to the production environment where we will apply the results of the GSOC project.
 
Currently I am studying and understanding the basis system we need to accomplish the objectives of my project. I am working on Bird4 and Bird6 [2] configuration transition to UCI[3] and LUCI[4] willing to give to the OpenWRT project and community a more user-friendly Bird Daemon configuration. For those who do not know, Bird is a lightweight and flexible BGP daemon which may be used as an alternative to Quagga (which is actually very heavy).
 
Once we got an usable version, we wll upload the work done to public GIT repository following the standard OpenWRT feeds format (so it might be included in the official repositories). To test our advances and implementation we are using the WiBed platform network deployed in our laboratory (at UPC university in Barcelona).
The first production test will be made in the QMP [5] network we have deployed in Barcelona.
 
The most challenging feature in our project is the exchange of routes (and associatd metrics) between routing protocols (BGP and BMX6 [6] in our case). We (me, the workgroup and mentors) are still discussing about the different ways to implement it and how to use the Bird solution to Guifi.net [7] where the main protocol is BGP and the most common OS is the privative routerOS from Mikrotik. Including Bird in the open/libre firmware QMP will allow people in Guifi.net to use this solution instead of routerOS. However to make the interconnections between the QMP (Mesh) networks and the current BGP/Infrastructure we need the called frontier (or border) nodes (those who exchange the routes between both network clouds). 
 
To not overload the current mesh clouds (running with BMX6), we will install a BGP Bird instance only in these QMP border nodes. They will exchange routes and metrics in the entrance of the network and summarize the result by publishing the aggregated routes to each network.
 
Another idea we are considering is to create a very small and simple OpenWRT image with the BMX6 daemon ready to perform the routing. This image may be installed as a virtual machine in the RouterOS firmware (present in 50-60% of the Guifi.net nodes). So Mikrotik nodes will be able to route BMX6 packets thus the BGP instance will not be longer necessary (we believe mesh routing protocols are a much better option than BGP/OSPF for a WiFi network). This approach is compatible with the (previous) border nodes one. We will provide both options to Guifi.net users to let them decide.
 
Finally, to conclude this  mid-term report, say that we expect to finish the project in time and  just mention that in the coming days we will start testing the first solution in a real production network.
 

GSoC: Freifunk API Query Client - A short report from the Wireless Community Weekend 2014

Photo taken from https://twitter.com/christianheise/status/472746947569520641

Photo taken from https://twitter.com/christianheise/status/472746947569520641


From the 29th May to the 1st of June we were with Andi and Bernd from Weimarnetz at the wunderful c-base Raumstation. We visited the Wireless Community Weekend. It was my first experience of this kind of community event and I enjoyed it very much.

Beer and Bratwurst did harmonize quite well with technical talks about OpenWrt and the Freifunk Community. I was especially surprised how diverse and open the community is and how enthusiastic everyone involved was.

Andi and Monic talked about the progress on the Freifunk API and presented their work. At the end of their talk I had the chance to present my work on the query client for the API. Here are the slides.

Shortly after the talk Jürgen Neumann from Freifunk Berlin came to me and introduced me to DeepaMehta. My original plan was to use something like NodeJS for the backend the storage of the API data but DeepaMehta looked promising and offers unique features I didn't even thought off.

So after talking with Andi about it we decided to use DeepaMehta as the foundation and storage tool for the API data. A seperate blogpost for the GSoC midterm evaluation will outline my work in this direction.

Overall it was a very exciting weekend for me at #ffwcw 2014.

GSoC : Source-Sensitive Routing

The first weeks of my Google Summer of Code project were a little complicated, as I still had exams at university, and I was not really aware of what mesh networks were about.  I also needed a little time to get to know network and routing better, both pratically and theorotically.

At the beginning, in order to understand quagga and babeld, Iread a lot of documentation on the routing topic including theoretical papers and some RFCs, while also browsing the code of both babeld and quagga.

On the other hand, I have been able to experiment mesh routing with the mesh network available at university.  In order to use that network from home, and being able to test my programs at all time, I also established a VPN connection between university and my home computer. By doing so, I can connect to the university's babel network at any time. I have also been able to understand the functionning of quagga and zebra and to install source-sensitive static routes on a mesh network.

After having spent much time reading the codes of babel, quagga, and babel in quagga, I achieved to use the zebra's API in babeld and began to add support for source-sensitive routing in babeld. Currently, my code runs and segfaults proudly ! I hope to see the first results of source-sensitive routing with my version of babel, in the worst case, at the end of the week.

At first, my goals were not really clear, but now, I have precise objectives on the short, middle, and long term.  In brief, my short term objectives would be to get a source-sensitive routing Babel running by the end of the week.  After getting a working version of Babel source sensitive, I will implement the same work in RIPng. RIPng is a quite simple protocol and Juliusz and Matthieu told
me it would be a good idea to offer it source-sensitive routing.  And finally, after everything will be tested and running fine, I will be implementing the source-sensitive commands in Babel.  Then, I will complete the documentation about my work. And in the end, the ultimate goal would be to be included in the official repository of Quagga.

If you want more details about the work I did, you can read my blog here : http://ariane.wifi.pps.univ-paris-diderot.fr/~olden/. I posted an entry every week to keep you informed of the progress on the short term. 

GSoC: Retroshare social network plugin compared with Retroshare forums

In the last post i wrote about the decentralized structure of Retroshare. I said: similar features to Facebook are also possible in a decentralized manner. Now let's have a closer look at those features.

Communication tools have the purpose to take a piece of information and transmit it. The question is who should receive it, when will it be received and to which next hop should the information be send.

Very simple forms of communcation are one to one messages. We have a clearly defined receiver which can be adresse by a RSA public key. This is very simple if we are directly connected to the receiver. If the receiver is not a direct neigbor, then Retroshare uses it's distant tunnels. Current distant chat and distant messages only work when sender and receiver are online at the same time. Retroshare v0.6 will cache messages on neighbor nodes to deliver them when the receiver is online.

Retroshare can also do many to many communication. The Chatlobbies are for real time communication. If you don't receive the message a few minutes after it was send you will never receive it. Messages are send to all neighbors in the chatlobby. RS keeps messages for a few minutes to prevent echos. Forums and channels offer persistant messages. This means messages are kept for a year in forums and a month in channels. The messages are not targeted at a person, but they belong to a context. This context is a chatlobby or a forum/channel. Users have to subscribe to the context.

Every message is bound to the context. It appears only at one place. In Retroshare forums and channels the context is a topic like "Developer's Discussion" or "RetroShare Windows builds by Thunder". In the social network plugin the posts are decoupled from a context. The context only stores a reference to the post. This allows posts to appear at different places. For example: a post can appear on the walls of user A and user B. And if i see the post and like it, i can forward it to my wall. Forwarding of specific posts only, increases the quality of the received content.



With forums and channels you first have to subscribe to them. Retroshare will then download the posts in it. The social network plugin automatically downloads the posts your friends like. And if your friends like it, then the probability is high that you also like it.

While forums are about a topic, a social network wall is about the user. It is a personal place where you can leave message for your friends, and your friends can leave messages for you. Still your are not limited to own content. If you want to share existing posts with your friends, just put it onto your wall.

Scope of the GSoC project
The goal of the GSoC project is to make a basic wall service. This includes the backend for message processing and the user interface. Chat and private messages are not planned for GSoC. But this is something that is very easy to add later.

Internally the social network plugin is based on the new Retroshare General Exchange System(GXS). GXS has two basic data structures: gxs-groups and gxs-messages. A gxs-message belongs to a gxs-group. If a gxs-group is marked as subscribed, then all messages in this group are downloaded. In the gxs-forums this mechanism is clearly visible to the user: gxs-groups are downloaded automatically, but the user has to subscribe to download the contained gxs-messages. The posts in the social network plugin should be independent. This requires that every root-post has its own gxs-group. The wall services automatically subscribes to interesting gxs-groups. Gxs-groups can be interesting because:
- the posts appears on a wall of a friend
- the user follows the author of the post or the user is friend with the author
- a friend made a comment on this post

So the interesting content is not defined by a forum title, but by the way friends interact with it.

GSoC 2014: Hardware Detection

Hi everyone!

Before  starting coding I have been studying Lua programming language I read  some tutorials and I did some practical examples. After that, I went to  the Libre-Mesh architecture to understand better how it is done. When I  understood the programming pattern of LiMe I started coding.

First of all, I started creating a plug-in module for ath9k-htc based hardware. This module has been tested using a TP-LINK WDR3600 and two TL-WN722N USB radios. While working I have included an hotplug hook so the usb radios can be dynamically plugged and removed from the system while it's running. 

After  having the usbradio module almost done I have been working creating a  modular hardware detection plug-in for Libre-Mesh. This hardware  detection module have been completed with clean and configure functions. During the development of this part I have discovered some bugs in the file config.lua and I have solved it.

Currently, after doing some cleaning and debugging both modules are almost finished.

Obviously  all this work have been possible thank to the help of the community and  I hope to do my best during the rest of the coding period.

I will be happy to receive feedback or tips

Best Regards ;)

GSoC 2014 Updates - OpenWrt: IEEE 802.1ad VLAN support

As promised I have been working hard on the proposal. Thanks to community help I have already almost completed all deliverables and in fact some patches got merged in netifd [10-13] and OpenWrt [15] already and development branch of libre-mesh is already taking advantage of them [14] :)
 
Working on this project gave me more conviction that community collaboration is fundamental, community helped me to understand the problem and what to modify to fix it, moreover someone went beyond that submitting patches too [16-17] !
 
Here it goes a small resume of how I did it:
    - Talk multiple time with OpenWRT [0] folks via retroshare openwrt lobby, they gave me some indication on what I had to do
    - Get netifd code [18]
    - Create a vlandev netifd device
    - Implement routines to add and remove 802.1ad/802.1q vlan in Linux via netlink
    - Talk with OpenWRT folks for quality check and patch merging
    - Code cleaning and testing
    - Patches get merged in netifd and OpenWRT
 
Now who need to use 802.1ad is not unfortunately constrained to private software anymore, because it is now supported in OpenWRT [0] :D
 
More updates [6] soon, and don’t forget the best is yet to come! 
 

GSoC: nodewatcher v3 - data collector agent

Hello all!

A quick update on what is happening regarding my GSoC project with bringing nodewatcher v3 platform closer to reality. Version 2 of nodewatcher used its own simple key-value format and a bunch of shell scripts to provide monitoring data. In order to bring this into the modern era where JSON and ubus are available as compact libraries on OpenWrt by default, I have in the last few days created a new modular OpenWrt monitoring agent that can run on nodes and periodically obtain data from various sources (directly from procfs, from uci, from netifd via ubus, from nl80211 netlink API via OpenWrt's libiwinfo, etc.).

The daemon is implemented in C and different data sources are implemented as loadable shared object modules, enabling simple extensibility. Nodewatcher agent then provides all of the collected data in two ways: a) it can directly output data to a JSON file that can be served via HTTP; and b) it also provides an ubus object called nodewatcher.agent that exposes a get_data method, so other applications can obtain the same structured data as an ubus blobmsg. The nodewatcher monitoring agent could perhaps also be reused by the proposed Freifunk Monitoring and Administration Panel.

The nodewatcher-agent repository is hosted on GitHub with a README file providing a quick description of the used format, the ubus API and the currently implemented modules:

https://github.com/wlanslovenija/nodewatcher-agent

I have also packaged the agent for OpenWrt so it can be installed together with its various data source modules via opkg. The packages are available in the nodewatcher firmware package repository:

https://github.com/wlanslovenija/firmware-packages-opkg/tree/master/util/nodewatcher-agent

The agent and its packages should be considered alpha and the schema is still subject to change.

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