This video gives a simple explanation of the concept of mesh networking, which allows android phone users who download some additional software to connect with each other wirelessly without a base station or cell phone towers. An Australian group known as The Serval Project is trying to raise funds to test and prototype the technology, and OFK reader Josh Hansen wrote me a few weeks back to start a discussion about the potential this technology could have for bring cell phone service to North Korea, without the obvious involvement of any foreign government.
Here’s how the Serval Project’s founders explain the potential for mesh networking to penetrate closed societies:
Several months ago, I wrote about the potential of cheap portable base stations to cover much of North Korea with a cell signal. The obvious drawback to that concept is that this system still depends on a centralize network with base stations, which would have to be hosted on South Korean territory. South Korea probably still lacks the testicular fortitude to allow that.
Personally, I lack the technological knowledge to say whether or not this could work. I’d be interested in your thoughts below, in the comments.