Dr. Arjuna Sathiaseelan, CEO Ammbr Research Labs
“Silence at the proper season is wisdom, and better than any speech” – Plutarch
It has been a while since we last provided an update on what we are cooking up at Ammbr. Our long silence was intentional.
For the last 6 months we have been extremely productive, and we have made great strides in fascinating research and development. This includes building three versions of our Ammbr mesh router:
- the Ammbr Hex outdoor router,
- the Ammbr mobile mesh router, and
- the Ammbr indoor router (first platter)
Kudos to our team for pushing these out in record time – this is nothing short of a miracle.
The team have also been carrying out specific trials to test aspects of our routers, and these early tests have been extremely positive and encouraging.
Our business development team have, at the same time, established significant collaborative and business partnerships. This includes signing an agreement with a telco in the Philippines to provide equipment for their fixed wireless infrastructure deployments. This is significant development considering that there is an urgent need within the blockchain community for commercial deployments. Ammbr will be the world’s first blockchain based wireless infrastructure that will be deployed by a national scale broadband provider.
The Ammbr Research Labs team continues to carry out various research activities, including carrying out blockchain deployments in one of the world’s largest mesh network, Guifi.net. We have jointly evaluated a live deployment of Hyperledger Fabric in a large-scale wireless mesh network. The results of the work were presented at the Workshop on Cryptocurrencies and Blockchains for Distributed Systems at ACM Mobisys, a top tier systems conference. The paper, entitled “Towards Blockchain-enabled Wireless Mesh Networks”, won one of the best paper awards and we were invited to submit a larger evaluation paper to a leading journal.
As part of this exercise, we extended our work by exploring the plausibility of combining decentralized access networks with a permissioned blockchain running on servers inside the access network. This resulted in a model for:
- an economically self-sustainable decentralized mesh access network
- guaranteeing trust among participants
- allowing economic profitability, and
- enabling low cost Internet connectivity.
We studied the viability of such an approach, by evaluating two of the most prominent platforms for building local blockchain applications: Hyperledger Fabric (HLF) and Ethereum.
We deployed the Hyperledger Fabric and Ethereum platforms in the lab testbed as well as in a production wireless mesh network segment that is part of Guifi.net.
The results showed critical aspects that can be optimized in both a Hyperledger Fabric and an Ethereum deployment, from the perspective of decentralized networks, where several components can prove to be bottlenecks and therefore put a limiting effect on the rate of the economic transactions in a mesh network. We analyzed the performance of both platforms using metrics such as transaction latency, CPU and memory utilization. The work has been documented and submitted as a journal paper, and is currently under peer review.
Significant effort has been put into building our first version of a smart contracts platform that enables micropayment-based Internet access within our Ammbr network. Early tests have been extremely promising. We will continue our R&D efforts in building a robust and scalable smart contracts platform, which will be fed into our main development pipeline early next year. We are currently evaluating the performance of our platform and documenting this as a research paper for a major conference.
In September, the Vice President of Technical Standards at Qualcomm, Lorenzo Casaccia, visited our research group in UPC Barcelona. We discussed the current ongoing work at Ammbr and showcased our smart contracts platform as well as our lab testbeds. We also had fruitful discussions with Lorenzo on how Ammbr has positioned itself within the 5G era. Lorenzo praised our efforts afterwards. (https://twitter.com/asathiaseelan/status/1047796658908647425).
Ammbr Research Labs team with Lorenzo Casaccia (VP, Qualcomm)
Our Cape Town team was part of the winning consortium of the Telecom Infra Project’s Open Cellular Grant. The UCT team in the Centre in Information and Communications Technologies for Development (ICT4D), iNethi and Ammbr Research Labs South Africa are conducting a pilot programme which will, by the end of the year, connect the 25,000 strong Ocean View community to a host of opportunities through localised services and Internet access.
Ammbr mesh routers, combined with open-cellular base stations, will be used to overcome the high costs of connectivity and access to content.
Dr. David Johnson and his team in Cape Town
Residents will be able to share their music, videos, news and learning materials for free within the community. They’ll also be able to connect with each other through a chat service similar to WhatsApp. Access to the internet will be offered in due course, at a much cheaper rate than current options.
We continue to work with our collaborators and key industry and academic partners and we are in the process of submitting several R&D grants to the EU H2020 programme as well as to international funding calls.
The Ammbr team is highly committed to deliver the necessary technology as well as the economic foundations for enabling universal Internet access and we have ensured our future technology development and partnerships roadmap is well aligned to meet our ambitious vision. Our work will continue…
“The ones who are crazy enough to think they can change the world, are the ones that do.” — Anonymous