- 1 Introduction
- 2 Mesh Network
- 3 The Hardware
- 4 Access Point Software
- 5 Gateway Software
- 6 Setting up a Deployment
- 7 Participating in the VillageTelco Project
- 8 HowTo Guides
- 9 Related Projects
- 10 Legal
- 11 Resources
- 12 Wireless Networks in the South
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.
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.
The mesh clients are wireless devices such laptops, cell phones and tablets.
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.
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 1.1 User Guide
- SECN 1.1 Manual de configuración de servidor Elastix para implementar Mesh Potato
Flashing a Firmware
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
Placing Your Routers
Participating in the VillageTelco Project
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.
There are several related project happening around the globe.