DiY networking

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

DIY networking is an umbrella term for different types of grassroots networking,[1][2][3] such as wireless community network, mesh network, ad-hoc network, stressing on the possibility that Wireless technology offers to create "offline" or "off-the-cloud"[4] local area networks (LAN), which can operate outside the Internet. Do it yourself (DiY) networking is based on such Wireless LAN networks that are created organically through the interconnection of nodes owned and deployed by individuals or small organizations. Even when the Internet is easily accessible, such DiY networks form an alternative, autonomous option for communication and services, which (1) ensures that all connected devices are in de facto physical proximity, (2) offers opportunities and novel capabilities for creative combinations of virtual and physical contact, (3) enables free, anonymous and easy access, without the need for pre-installed applications or any credentials, and (4) can create feelings of ownership and independence, and lead to the appropriation of the hybrid space in the long-run.

DiY networks follow the Do-It-Yourself subculture,[5] and provide the technological means for more participatory processes, benefiting from the grassroots engagement of citizens in the design of hybrid, digital and physical, space through novel forms of social networking, crowd sourcing, and citizen science. But for these possibilities to be materialized there are many practical, social, political, and economic challenges that need to be addressed.[6]

Although DiY could be also used for illegal purposes,[7] the DiY concept has become more and more popular in the mainstream academic literature, activism, art, popular media, and everyday practice, and especially in the case of communications networks there are more and more related scientific papers, books, and online articles.[8][9][10][11][12] There is a large potential for new, novel, and free locality-aware services and opportunities that demand anonymous and easy access, such as Online Social Networking (OSN) via DiY-Based Sites.[13] Single-board computers such as Arduino, or Raspberry Pi, are commonly used for DiY networking purposes, since such computers are open-source, relatively cheap, have low power demands, support multiple protocols, and are portable.

In 2016, the EU Horizon2020 research funding framework, and more specifically CAPS (Collective Awareness Platforms for Sustainability and social innovation) has funded two 3-year projects on DIY networking: 1) project MAZI,[14] "A DIY networking toolkit for location-based collective awareness", focusing on small-scale networks and aiming to provide tools and interdisciplinary knowledge for individual or small groups to create their own off-the-cloud networks, and 2) project netCommons,[15] "Network Infrastructure as Commons", focusing on existing large-scale community networks like, Freifunk, Ninux and combining research from different disciplines in close collaboration with key actors to address important economic, social, and political challenges that these networks face today.

Regarding terminology, there is often criticism on the use of the term “Do It Yourself” to characterize collective action projects, such as the creation of a network. Alternative terms, more “collaborative”, include “Do It With Others”,[16] “Do It Together”,[8] or “Do It Ourselves”.[17] The preference for the term DIY is first practical, since it is a common abbreviation that does not need explanation. But it also stresses the fact that although it is not possible to build a whole network by yourself, you can indeed build by yourself, or yourselves, one of its nodes. And even if this node is often built using off-the-shelf commercial equipment, it is still placed on your space, owned, installed, and maintained by you.[18]


  1. ^ Antoniadis, Panayotis (8 November 2016). "DIY networking: the path to a more democratic internet". The Conversation Global. Retrieved 8 November 2016.
  2. ^ Gaved, Mark. "DIY Networking?". Retrieved 11 December 2016.
  3. ^ Antoniadis, Panayotis; Ott, Jörg; Passarella, Andrea (2014). "Do It Yourself networking: an interdisciplinary approach (Dagstuhl Seminar 14042)". Dagstuhl Reports. 4 (1): 125–151. doi:10.4230/DagRep.4.1.125.
  4. ^ Dragona, Daphne; Charitos, Dimitris (October 2016). "Going off-the-cloud: The role of art in the development of a user-owned & controlled connected world". Journal of Peer Production (9). Retrieved 8 November 2016.
  5. ^ "IP Moran - Social Sciences Journal. 2011. Punk: The Do-It-Yourself Subculture.". Retrieved on 2015-01-28.
  6. ^ Medosch, Armin. "Cities of the Sun: Urban Revolutions and the Network Commons". The Next Layer. Archived from the original on 5 October 2015. Retrieved 11 November 2016.
  7. ^ "Lifehacker. 2014. Six Great DIY Projects for Hacking Computers and Networks". Retrieved on 2015-01-28.
  8. ^ a b Jungnickel, Katrina (2014). DiY WiFi: Re-imagining Connectivity. UK: Palgrave Macmillan. ISBN 978-1-137-31253-2.
  9. ^ "The Journal of Community Informatics. 2014. P. Antoniadis, I. Apostol, The Right(s) to the Hybrid City and the Role of DIY Networking" Archived 2015-01-29 at the Wayback Machine. Retrieved on 2015-02-04.
  10. ^ Koebler, Jason. "How a DIY Network Plans to Subvert Time Warner Cable's NYC Internet Monopoly". Motherboard. Retrieved 8 December 2016.
  11. ^ De Decker, Kris. "How to Build a Low-tech Internet". Low Tech Magazine. Retrieved 8 December 2016.
  12. ^ Primavera De Filippi, Félix Tréguer (2015). "Expanding the Internet commons: The subversive potential of wireless community networks". Journal of Peer Production (6). Retrieved 8 December 2016.
  13. ^ "ETC Press 2013, proceedings of GLS 9.0. D. A. Fields, S. M. Grimes, A. Magnifico, J. C. Lammers, K. Gomez, J. S. Curwood, What’s next in studying online social networking? Future research directions for creative, DIY-based sites.". Retrieved on 2015-01-28.
  14. ^ MAZI consortium. "A DIY Networking Toolkit for Location-based Collective Awareness". MAZI. EU Horizon2020. Retrieved 8 November 2016.
  15. ^ netCommons consortium. "Network Infrastructure as Commons". netCommons. EU Horizon2020. Retrieved 8 November 2016.
  16. ^ Furtherfield. "Do It With Others". Archived from the original on 20 December 2016. Retrieved 6 December 2016.
  17. ^ Open Technology Institute. "(Re)Building Technology Build-it-ourselves Community Networks". Retrieved 6 December 2016.
  18. ^ Antoniadis, Panayotis (2016). "Local networks for local interactions: four reasons why and a way forward". First Monday. doi:10.5210/fm.v21i12.7123.