Testing the testbed

Lately I've continued with the testing that I began for the latest Battle Mesh to check that the Community-Lab testbed and CONFINE software in general are actually usable for the participants of the first Open Call. I've sent even more bug reports, but this time Axel (who fortunately restrained himself from chasing and hitting me) has had time to fix some of them so we've been in a tight loop of test-report-fix-test.

The good news is that I find the testbed in its current state to be quite usable, at least for a trusted set of researchers with close assistance from testbed developers and administrators. I even found VCT to be working (as a container!) for running test experiments, albeit some bugs which make it not work out of the box. Another important factor in usability is having good documentation but I'm afraid we're still green on that, although Davide is working on updating the BitTorrent tutorial, and documentation and support is one of this year's objectives.

As an specially interesting result of testing, yesterday I checked that isolated sliver interfaces (i.e. VLAN-tagged, see the node architecture) on top of ad hoc wireless interfaces seem to work flawlessly. The ad-hoc interfaces were configured in the research device like this:

config wifi-device radio0
        option type     mac80211
        option channel  11
        option macaddr  00:08:ca:42:3e:64
        option hwmode   11ng
        option htmode   HT20
        list ht_capab   SHORT-GI-40
        list ht_capab   TX-STBC
        list ht_capab   RX-STBC1
        list ht_capab   DSSS_CCK-40
#       option disabled 1

config wifi-iface
        option device   radio0
        option mode     adhoc
        option bssid    02:CA:FF:EE:BA:BE
        option ssid     community-lab.net
        option encryption       none

Then I gave the isolated interfaces a couple of IP addresses in the same network to test connectivity. This kind of setup with no central access point should be most interesting for running routing experiments in a cloud of nearby nodes that have direct visibility. Hats off to Axel Neumann for his work on node software!

In other topics, I was also reviewing the node storage layout to update it to use an initial OpenWrt system and kexec. In some ways it looks cleaner and simpler to me in spite of the chained boot, let's hope that there aren't many hurdles with the implementation.

So all in all things are looking great! :)