GSoC 2019 – Upgrading the Meshenger App

Meshenger App Logo

Overview

Meshenger App, also known as Local Phone App, is an Android app which allows voice and video-communication without any server or Internet access and works in a local network​. Last year, a successful technical demo of the app was made under GSoC and was also published on F-Droid. This year’s GSoC target is to make the app stable, versatile and to expand the usability and user-base of the Meshenger app, which will directly benefit the community networks as the app primarily depends on it and communication using local networks will always be the foremost priority of the app. The app will be revamped and new features will be added to enhance the app, like allowing calls over the Internet, securing authentication at the initial handshake, fixing bugs/issues etc. which will improve its performance and give a great overall user experience. Here is a link to the GitHub page of the Meshenger App project- (https://github.com/meshenger-app/), which you are all welcome to explore and contribute in.

About Me

My name is Vasu Harshvardhan and I am a student currently in 2nd year, pursuing Bachelor of Technology (B.Tech) course in Electronics and Communication Engineering from Jamia Millia Islamia, New Delhi, India.

I have a special interest towards Open Source Software and have always aspired to be a part of something that could help and make everyone’s life better through technology and contributing to Open Source is clearly the best way to do so. This is the first time I am participating in GSoC as well as contributing to the Freifunk community and through this project, I plan to become a bonafide member and a long-term contributor to the Freifunk organization.

Project Goals

The three main goals of this project are:

  • Allowing audio and video communication over the Internet. As the app uses WebRTC library, a special signalling mechanism needs to be implemented for SDP handshakes between the two peers. A STUN server will also have to be enabled for obtaining the public IP addresses of both the clients. The WebRTC will then establish the P2P connection as both the peers have exchanged the signalling data and will be able to communicate with each other over the Internet.
  • Establishing a secure authentication at the initial handshake between the two devices. For this, I have decided to use the libsodium library to encrypt the SDP offer/signalling blob that is exchanged by sending it to the other app and fed to WebRTC.
  • Polishing the app by improving its UI/UX, fixing issues/bugs etc. in order to make the app stable and boost its performance.

Next Steps

During the Community Bonding Period of GSoC’19, I had researched about the implementations of the proposed features to be added, followed up the codebase of the app and had productive discussions with my wonderful GSoC mentor on this project, Moritz Warning. Following his suggestions, I have decided to first work on the security feature of the app, as it will help me to get into the flow of things and will lead to a progressive and productive development of the app.

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