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Choosing between the SECN and VT firmwares

Choosing your firmware.

There are three key differences between the generation one VT firmware and generation two SECN firmware:

  1. User facing - VT provide voices connectivity. SECN provides both Voice and data connectivity.
  2. Stability - VT has been in use for several years and has become quite stable. SECN is newer and under active development.
  3. Developer facing - VT operates on level X of the OSI model and SECN operates on level Y of the OSI model.

Village Telco (VT) Firmware

As the original, all Mesh Potatoes shipped with the Villagetelco (VT) firmware. VT firmware emphasizes scalable VOIP telephony. It is handles up to 254 MPs in a single wireless cell in order to handle a maximum of simultaneous VOIP telephone calls.

Data access is possible using the built in Ethernet port on a Mesh Potato. Offering Internet access to LAN clients increases the amount of traffic. This reduces the available bandwidth for voice calls. This feature is not enabled by default.

The VT firmware uses the B.A.T.M.A.N. IP-layer mesh protocol. Setting up IP-based routing and defining IP subnets requires some understanding of IP.

The VT firmware is more scalable, but involves more setup than the SECN firmware.

Small Enterprise / Campus Network (SECN) Firmware

The Small Enterprise / Campus Network (SECN) firmware allows a collection of Mesh Potatoes (MP) to provide a wireless data and telephony network over a small area such as a village, small business, or campus. The SECN firmware is easy to use in mesh networks of up to 20 MP devices.

By default SECN provides access to wireless clients while providing VOIP service. Wireless clients can roam within the coverage of the SECN mesh network.

The SECN firmware uses the B.A.T.M.A.N.-ADV MAC-layer mesh protocol. B.A.T.M.A.N.-ADV creates a virtual Layer 2 bridge over the entire mesh. Networking protocols like DHCP, mDNS, Zeroconf, IPv6 router advertisements will happily work, given that the wireless links in the mesh are reliable.

This firmware is less scalable but easier to use than the VT firmware. The SECN firmware is almost as easy to use as plugging different computers with an Ethernet cable into a switch.