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Feb 9th, 2012 (charles)

This is a long and meaty post. In the interests of transparency and soliciting feedback/participation etc.

The FNF is anticipating our first milestone (FreeNetwork1.0) to be completed over the next 18 months. This depends on staffing levels, schedule slippage etc.

The first milestone (FreeNetwork 1.0) is defined as follows:

Delivery of a:

  • secure (transport layer and data storage; FreedomNode)
  • highly available
  • varying degrees of identification (fully anonymous to fully authenticated)
  • virtual (overlay/VPN links between all components of the network)


All components of the network will be

  • locally funded
  • locally constructed
  • locally operated
  • locally owned

The network will consist of three highly horizontal layers:

  1. backbone network comprised of FreedomLinks which facilitate connections and efficient traffic flow between regional networks of FreedomTowers
  2. Sustainable (off grid) FreedomTowers linking into regional area networks which are comprised of neighborhood area networks of
  3. Sustainable (off grid) FreedomNodes which will serve individual homes and businesses.

The network will mesh (in both a logical and material peer to peer fashion) horizontally at every level (node to node, tower to tower, link to link). It will also mesh/route vertically between the layers of the network.

Sounds cool right? :)

So how do we get there?

1. Corporate structure

Things related to FNF as a legal entity. Board of directors, board of advisers etc.

Targeting completion of this by 1/31/2012

2. FreedomLab

I recently completed the FreedomLab and hope to open it for mass participation soon.

Targeting completion of this by 1/31/2012

3. Data center delivered to full production mode

This is the highest priority task. It's a lot of work to build an entire server farm to support an enterprise and production network. We are getting closer each and every day. Outstanding tasks are captured. We expect to close several of them out when Isaac visits the DC. Our CIO is heading this up. I'm working to transition everything over to him (already produced and delivered comprehensive data center documentation).

Targeting completion of this by 1/31/2012

4. Website redesign

Redesign the FNF website to make it easier for folks to learn about our activities, tell their friends, and contribute time and resources. Focus will be primarily on the main page, which will be completely overhauled. Some content is out of date, and some needs to be moved and recategorized.

Targeting completion of this by 1/31/2012

5. IPv6

All FNF services (internal and external) will be available over Ipv6. THIS IS NON NEGOTIABLE. We must always strive to retire Ipv4 whenever, wherever, however we can. I put this after the above tasks but still very high on the priority list. We need to get the DC 100% wrapped and an auth/enrollment system into play to stay sane. :)

Targeting completion of this by 2/29/2012

6. Centralized authentication via LDAP/RADIUS/Kerberos and one time passwords

This is critical. We have a wide array of applications, gear, system instances deployed which are all using a local authentication store. We plan to use SOGO as our LDAP store. We will use MIT Kerberos for system logins and FreeRADIUS for it's rich functionality around capabilities,profiles,restrictions etc. We are evaluating one time password systems at the moment. I am heading this project up as CTO. It will be handed over to our CIO once I've completed initial work and documentation so he can fully operationalize it.

Targeting completion of this by 2/29/2012

7. User Enrollment

This is an extension of centralized auth. Need a way to provision users and plug them into appropriate access levels. FNF needs a way to enroll administrators into the network (in our WAN/LAN delivery groups). This will most likely be done via our HR system (using OrangeHRM) after the various contracts have been executed and stored. (Gotta have legal protection). No tasks yet. Haven't done any engineering work around this at all.

Targeting completion of this by 2/29/2012

8. Freeswitch

Our Los Angeles based VOIP guru is heading this effort up. We are using Whistle and BlueBox from Him/I made substantial progress on this last night. No tasks captured yet. As we have more demands and needs for our voice/video comms, tasks will get captured and a roadmap developed.

Targeting completion of this by 2/29/2012

9. Operations support system

As mentioned in my previous blog post we have various pieces of our network management system in place. It will be expanded as the network is deployed. This is necessary to take the network from research and development mode into full production readiness.

Targeting completion of this by 4/15/2012

10. FreedomTower

Documentation and complete packaging (hardware/software) for "release to manufacturing". More to come later. I've got a bunch of pictures and notes which will be turned into a comprehensive set of tower build instructions very soon.

Targeting completion of this by 4/15/2012

11. FreedomNode

The desired user experience and rough design sketches for the FreedomNode are available in a separate post, here. In order to bring the FreedomNode into production, it will be necessary to leverage the work of Project Byzantium, and to tap the pool of design and engineering talent that has congregated around FreedomBox.

Targeting completion of this by 5/15/2012

12. Legal Framework (for operators and usage)

Just as in the creation of free software, building tools and technologies is not enough. We need a framework of legal agreements for node, tower, and link operators in order to build transparent and communally accepted policies for dealing with network abuse, so that we can keep the Free Network free. Think of it as a GPL for networks - a covenant that enshrines the five freedoms of the network in law.

Targeting completion of this by 5/15/2012