Calls: Send in your ideas. Deadline December 1st, 2021.


[ — concluded in 2016]

Dowse is a smart digital network appliance for home based local area networks (LAN), but also small and medium business offices, that makes it possible to connect objects and people in a friendly, conscious and responsible manner.

Dowse aims to be a critical engineering project, abiding to the principles stated in the Critical Engineers Manifesto.

Dowse provides a central point of soft control for all local traffic: from ARP traffic (layer 2) to TCP/IP (layers 3 and 4) as well as application space, by chaining a firewall setup to a transparent proxy setup. A core feature for Dowse is that of hiding all the complexity of such a setup. Its motto is: "to perceive and affect all devices in the local sphere".

By replacing the outdated proprietary ISP ‘gateway’ with an open and user-visible device, Dowse creates a new platform that leverages its topologically unique access and influence in the domain of the local-area network. It introduces a visible, malleable, knowable communications hub to the language of the small network.

Dowse seizes on the power of the technologically/topologically necessary gateway/hub role to create development opportunities which cannot exist on other platforms. Dowse becomes the locus of a specific new class of end-user-visible applications which are able to perceive and affect all devices in the local sphere, whether they are open or closed.

... Read the whitepaper

The project is led by the team at

Navigate projects

Please check out NLnet's theme funds, such as NGI Assure and the User Operated Internet Fund.

Want to help but no money to spend? Help us by protecting open source and its users.