Autonet – An Autonomous Internet

Autonet is a project to create a wireless, global internet that can provide more reliability than corporate phone companies by being community based and freely licensed.

The cutting off access to The Pirate Bay by BT in the UK is just another sign of the beginning of the end. The fact that the Great Firewall of China exists signals that the internet is already obsolete and that the Great Firewall of the US is just around the corner. While moves against net neutrality began years ago and have been fought, nasty laws such as HR4437 and the Total Information Awareness program have a way of coming into existence later in the future, slightly modified, under different names. The internet as we know it, as a place for free exchange of information, as the center of what has been called a second 17th century with new ideas, creativity and innovation emerging daily, is rapidly coming to an end. We must use these last gasps of freedom to route around the disaster and create a truly free network.

How? Advances in wireless technology such as ubiquitous wireless routers, community mesh networks which are easily expandable and self-healing as well as long range wireless efforts such as HPWREN indicate a possible future for a community based internet free of the centralized control of telephone corporations and governments. While this is definitely a fork, more forks are to come and we can only hope that a few networks will emerge which can be broad enough to span most of the globe.

Major questions remain to be solved, such as speed issues, routing issues, DNS control, splits and neutrality. The Autonet, or Autonomous Internet project seems to begin to address this rapidly changing situation, where today Germany has installed internet filtering as well and more countries are to come. While today those cut off are defying copyright laws, tomorrow any other political issue may be the cause for being denied access to global networks. While today the FBI is content to steal servers from information providers like Indymedia, perhaps tomorrow they will not be happy until Indymedia is completely cut off of the network, or other open sources of information such as blogs, twitter accounts and social networks of dissident groups.

The popular revolt in Iran and subsequent disruption of network access by the Iranian government is only a glimpse of what is to come in the US and around the world, where the first line of attack against political resistance is to cut off network access. By establishing a community based, wireless, global network we can allow groups of individuals, not corporations, to maintain freedom of communication; We can create out right to communicate instead of asking for it, and continue to route around obsolete intellectual property laws which restrict our dreams and our creativity. Join this effort by going to and contributing to this research, lets start outlining the problems, finding the technical solutions and work out the issues, collectively, as a Free Software / Open Hardware project, using open licensing.

Another urgent reason for Autonet is one that has motivated Free Software hackers for so long: Technological progress without a reliance on corporate support. Given the current financial and economic crises, how long can we expect dinosaurs like phone companies to survive? If one of these crises turns into disaster, the consequence is likely to be the disruption or collapse of the global networks on which we rely. I am not ready to give up what has been gained from these networks, including a worldwide communication between political actors empowered through fast information flows. We must start this long, difficult project today so that we may be ready for unexpected dangers which threaten our capability to communicate as a multitude, globally.

To add to the project, go to

To sign up to participate, go to



Initial Thoughts

“Was discussing pirate radio things with Micha, and I was wondering how hard it would be to create a viable, high-speed, wireless Darknet ( For a few hundred dollars you can buy off-the-shelf gear to create an omni-directional WiFi signal that should go a few miles over relatively flat terrain. To create a proper “Darknet” obviously there would have to be at least one DNS server, etc. RadioLabs ( seems to be the best when it comes to consumer-grade high-gain, omni-directional antennas and amps. Another set-up would be point-to-point long-range links between nodes and omni-directional access-points (so users could hop on the network without running a node). The idea being that there would be NO connection to the commercial Internet (that is, it would not be tied into any ISP). And obviously the more nodes there are, the less terrain becomes an issue, so if this sort of thing took off, it could be amazing, even just on the local level.”



  • Omni-directional and point-to-point 802.11b links
  • Unmodified TCP stack
  • LAMP nodes
  • Not directly linked to the commercial internet?
  • Distributed DNS?

Resources 802.11b antennas, amps

Wikipedia: “Dark Internet”

Distributed DNS project

Related Projects


Jun 23, 11:17
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