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Theme fund: User-operated Internet Fund
Start: 2021-08
End: 2022-10


Make Wi-Fi routers faster and more reliable

When we go on the internet these days, we often forget or even don't know what gets us there. Hidden in our broom closets and underneath the sofa, there are physical devices like wireless home routers that can make a big difference in how good our internet connection really is. This project is about upgrading the quality, security, and queue management of home routers - continuing the work of Cerowrt that successfully re-architected the Linux WiFi stack to include pioneering new Flow Queueing (RFC8290) algorithms that successfully reduced working latencies for WiFi at all rates and ranges by 10x or more. This improved throughput under contention by a lot.

Since then, in addition to support in all 3rd party linux based router firmwares, like OpenWrt, a multiplicity of commercial products such as those from eero and Evenroute appeared based on these technologies, and the same algorithm was also adopted by Apple in iOS and OSX. Meanwhile there have been two new generations of WiFi, dozens of Linux kernel releases, new drivers and abstraction support for new chipsets, vendor offloads (such as those from Qualcomm) and other separate re-implementations, and many new features added elsewhere in the stack, since. The core make-wifi-fast project members, led by Dave Taht, will investigate and explore and extend the state of WiFi anno 2021, and investigate whether these algorithms are still working as intended, what new problems have cropped up, and to add in new features and methods polished since the last release cycle.

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This project was funded through the User-Operated Internet fund, a fund established by NLnet made possible by financial support from the PKT Community/The Network Steward and stichting Technology Commons Trust. Your donation is welcome too.