Public Networks for Public Safety: A Workshop on the Present and Future of Mesh Networking

by Sabrina I. Pacifici on June 1, 2012

“The Berkman Center for Internet & Society is pleased to present this briefing document, which was developed as part of our March 30th, 2012, workshop on “Public Networks for Public Safety: A Workshop on the Present and Future of Mesh Networking.” This workshop provided a starting point for conversation about whether mesh networks could be adopted within consumer technologies to enhance public safety communications and empower and connect the public while simultaneously improving public safety. Participants in this initial convening, detailed on page 33 of the briefing document, included members of government agencies, academia, the telecommunications industry, and civil society organizations; their helpful inputs were integral to the final version of this document…the paper also synthesizes several strains of workshop discussion that probed big picture framing concerns that could inform the present and future of mesh. Specifically, it puts forth two related but distinct models for mesh: mesh in a technical sense and mesh as a metaphor or social layer construct, with a particular emphasis on the need for further conceptual development with regard to “social mesh.” The final section emphasizes key take-aways from the event, highlighting core principles and best practices that might both provide a theoretical underpinning for the future conceptual development of mesh networking technologies and social mesh models, respectively, and inform the real-world development of communications systems that involve either definition of mesh.”

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