I’m happy to say that we’ve brought on board 3 new developers since our last update. We’ve also expanded the marketing team to add some flash to our substance.
On the subject of development we’re merging some of our longer term feature branches while bringing these new developers on board. So Alpha 7 will be a bit late.
Speaking of releases here’s a rough time-line for features.
I’ve been talking about stability a lot, it might give the impression that our Alpha releases are totally broken. That’s only partially true, while features are often incomplete my personal router is untouched since Alpha 5. It has completed multiple update cycles without the slightest bit of attention.
If Althea was meant to be used in low radio noise environments with a direct fiber line for backhaul like my apartment we would probably consider stability a done deal.
Maybe half of the deployments we’re working with are in technologically modern areas with accessible backhaul fiber, where internet access for consumers is simply too expensive.
The other half live in some of the more challenging networking environments in the world. For these people it’s often not that internet access is overpriced, but that it’s simply not sold or is of such poor quality as to be unusable.
Ultra-high latency, reordered packets, flaky connections, and protocol non compliant devices litter these sorts of environments.
Somewhere in between California and Australia there’s an ISP that will buffer Wireguard packets and play them back out of order 10 seconds later. All while prioritizing ICMP, HTTP, and HTTPS, making the issue almost impossible to detect.
From the perspective of a deployment in Australia this was Althea just not working.
Our first outage report for the Clatskine test network was caused by supposedly ipv6 complaint point to point links suddenly generating spikes of 300ms latency versus their usual 10ms when exposed to pings to ff02::1.
From the perspective of the Clastkine network this was Althea just not working.
Slack and many other websites firewall off TCP MSS autonegotiation. This means they hardcode the segment size of their traffic to a standard 1500 byte frame. It’s extra insidious because protocol complaint websites will work flawlessly and you’ll sit around wondering what’s going on.
From the perspective of any user of that build this was Althea just not working.
I think I’ve made my point. The actual ‘mesh networking’ is just the beginning, if we really want to make a tool that can withstand the sort of environments where people need Althea most it’s not enough for it to work, it has to be indestructible.
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