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Dave F

Introduction

Welcome to the Village Telco Wiki. As is often the case in community projects the development is proceeding fast and furiously while the documentation tries to keep up. This has left the VillageTelco website slightly out out data. Without further ado....

The Village Telco started an initiative to build low-cost community telephone networks anywhere in the world. It has since evolved into hardware and software project which support both data and voice communications using mesh networks.

Please see Deployments section for example of people running a VillageTelco.

Mesh Network

The Primary technology which makes a VillageTelco possible is the wireless mesh network. A wireless mesh network is a communications network made up of radio nodes organized in a mesh topology. Wireless mesh networks often consist of mesh clients, mesh routers and gateways. The coverage area of the radio nodes working as a single network is sometimes called a mesh cloud.

Advantages

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Disadvantages

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The Hardware

Clients

The mesh clients are wireless devices such laptops, cell phones and tablets.

Access Points

The mesh routers forward traffic between clients and gateways.

VillageTelco manufactures a router called the Mesh Potato. They also recognise that there are many excellent WiFi manufacturers and for some scenarios, other hardware may be desirable. Accordingly we produce a Village Telco firmware for Ubiquiti and TP-Link hardware. If you have another OpenWRT-compatible device that you would like to see the Village Telco firmware running, please get in touch

There's no vendor lock-in with Village Telco!

Please see Hardware for more information on hardware supported.

Gateway

The gateways which may, but need not, connect to the Internet.

Access Point Software

VillageTelco uses two generations of software on its routrs. Generation one is called VT firmware and generations two is called SECN firmware.

Choosing a firmware

VillageTelco was originally conceived by Steve Song to provide low cost voice service to areas underserved by traditional providers. Generation one VillageTelco nodes run VT firmware and use a VT server as a gateway to the world.

There have been significant advances in technology since VillageTelco started. WIFI hardware is cheaper and more powerful. Inexpensive tablets and laptops are more widely available. In response, Terry Gillett started working on a version of the firmware which added the ability to provide data services to VillageTelco. Generation two hardware runs SECN, Small Enterprise and Campus Network, firmware.

Most existing VillageTelcouse deployments the VT firmware. It has been running stably for years. If you are looking for a stable voice solution, VT firmware is probably your best choice. The newer SECN firmware adds data capability. While under active development, there are questions about stability and scalability which can only answered by field testing.

Please see Choosing_between_the_SECN_and_VT_firmwares for more information.

Perparing a Firmware

SECN 2.1 Firmware

SECN 2.0 Firmware

SECN 1.1 Firmware

SECN 1.0 Firmware

Firmware Roadmap

VT Firmware

How To Set Up a SECN Build Environment

Flashing a Firmware

Installing VT SECN Firmware

Gateway Software

In the past, Village Telco developed its own server solution which comprised Asterisk and A2Billing with a simplified UI for A2Billing as well as an installation wizard. We haven't been able to continuously update this software combination and it has to some degree now been eclipsed by other options. You can read more about it Archives/Village_Telco_Server of this wiki.

Please see Gateway_Software for more information about setting up a gateway.

Setting up a Deployment

Please see Village_Telco_Documentation for a deployment guide

Configuring Your Routers

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Placing Your Routers

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Participating in the VillageTelco Project

How to contribute


Mesh Network Monitoring

Not to be confused with standard networking monitoring tools like Munin, Nagios, Zabbix, and others, mesh monitoring tools measure the health of the mesh routes on the network. Some of them can do some of the monitoring that standard networking monitoring tools can do but the reverse is not true.

HowTo Guides

General

Classroom Router

Networking

Monitoring your Mesh Potato Network with Munin

Mesh_Gateway_Settings_and_Bridge_Loop_Avoidance

Optimizing dense meshes for call capacity and bandwidth

Testing Data Transfer Rates on a Mesh

SECN 1.1 Bridged Client Mode Operation

Hardware

Adding an external antenna

Adding a Reflector to the MP-01

Building a Serial Port for TL-WR703N

Using a 3G USB Modem with the TL WR703n

OpenWrt Failsafe Mode and Flash Recovery

Flashing the TL WR703n for the first time

Related Projects

There are several related project happening around the globe.

OpenBts

Legal

G.729

Resources

Wireless Networks in the South