BattleMesh V8 Review

September 9, 2015

It's been a full month since BattleMesh v8 ended and it's time to review what went down in Slovenia!


BattleMesh is the world's only mesh networking conference. It gathers together implementors, activists, engineers, and developers of community wireless networking groups from all over the world. This year, BattleMesh had participants from as far away as California and India thanks to WLAN Slovenia's travel stipend project which Meta Mesh was fortunate enough to receive. We're incredibly grateful to have been chosen as a recipient for the stipend and without it we would not have been able to attend.


BattleMesh was held in Maribor, Slovenia just south of the Austrian border. Slovenia is an incredible, beautiful country. Being from Pittsburgh, I described the nation, which I had the good fortune to see by train and car as "if Pennsylvania died and went to heaven." The nation is filled with steep hills surrounded by vast plains. Nowhere is this more exemplified than the amazing Ljubljanski Grad in Ljubljana: the castle atop a sheer hill in the capitol of Slovenia. On my last day in Slovenia I went there and was blown away by how beautiful and rich in history the place was.


A view from on top of Ljubljanski Grad's tower with Ljubljana in the background.


Back to BattleMesh. The event was dominated by two distinct types of people. The Europeans, who have more mature networks and established organizations, were primarily focused on preparing their respective routing protocols for the end-of-week "battle" and the Americans (and Indians) who had smaller or non-existent networks and were trying to figure out how to better grow their projects.


The actual protocol battle was fierce. a semi-scientific performance test in various situations was run over the last two days. The results of the tests can be seen here.


To summarize the battle, the layer 2 routing protocol Babel performed most admirably in most of the tests. But the surprise of the event was how well OLSRv2 performed coming in second to Babel in some tests and having some of the fastest ping times in other tests. To date, there are no networks in the world running OLSRv2 and it is still under development. The rest of the protocols performed respectably, hanging around the other protocols. It's important to remember that no protocol is best in all situations-- not yet at least--and so it is important to think of what kind of network you are building before selecting a protocol.


The event was so popular this year that there was serious discussion to split BattleMesh into an Eastern and Western hemisphere event in the future. Now that there are multiple mesh networks blossoming in the Americas and with such a need for better organizing and education strategies in the New World for building community wireless networks, you may see a BattleMesh West in the near future.


 Traditional Slovenian soup as an appetizer for lunch at the excellent venue


Meta Mesh looks forward to participating in the next Battle of the Mesh regardless of timezone next year. It was a fantastic networking opportunity since so many of the organizations around the world are so focused on building their own networks on small budgets and do not have many peers in their countries. The US is fortunate to have multiple mesh networks springing up all over and Meta Mesh hopes to aid in their education and proliferation.


Thanks WLAN Slovenia, you hosted an amazing event! See you all next year.



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