The First Freifunk Summer Convention – FSC03

During the Berlon Workshop im Oktober 2002 in Berlin I decided to get deeper engaged with wireless community networking. In March 2003 Ingo Rau, Iris Rabener and I went to visit the Copenhagen Interpolation, the next European event on wireless community networks, which was hosted by This was the true hour of birth of Cause while being in Copenhagen, we spontaniously decided to organize a follow-up in Berlin …

Free WLAN Networks everywhere – The first Summer Convention in Berlin, September 12 – 14, 2003

“In most countries on our planet there were already a number of non-profit initiatives who built wireless community networks. With powerful antennas some of their accesspoints were connected to create network islands that were growing like water lilies. To meet and talk from 12. – 14.09.03 organised the first Summer Convention in Berlin for all lovers of free wireless access. Of the many highlights were the mesh workshop, the presentation of the mtx1 mesh router, the discussions, the djursland cantenna, the launch of the berlin backbone and a lot of mate tea based drink called club mate. About 100 participants took the 3 days trip on the space ship c-base.”

Mesh Routing Workshop

Bruno Randolf gave a short introduction on various mesh routing protocols, especially aodv, mobile mesh, scouter und meshap. After some theory, people were asked to install mobile mesh on their laptops, put their wireless cards into ad-hoc mode and form a long queues of over 10 people. Tomas Krag’s Laptop at one end of the queue was acting as the internet gateway inside the c-base. The other end of the queue was outside the building almost 1000m away. Now people from that end could connect to the internet over the 10 hops of people’s laptops. The connection was very slow, but a ping worked! Then at the end of the presentation, Bruno introduced the first linux based mesh router prototype from 4G Systems:

meshcube mtx-1

The Smartest Mesh Network Ever

During FSC03 Julian Priest (the creative inventor) and Tomas Krag (the formalist) introduced the Playing Card Based Routing Protocol – a human intelligence based implementation of RFC 2822 message protocol combined with the smartest mesh network ever. Here is a picture from the archives:


It was very impressive how people made extensively use of these playing cards during the whole convention. It really helped them understand the basics of a message protocol and a routing protocol. Together with the Pico Peering Agreement (PPA) which we had printed on the last page of all the programm flyers, people really got the picture of a buttom-up meshing infrastructure. There is a rumor that one of the playing cards made it from a participant of FSC03 to his friend in Turkey through one of the many Berlin kebab stores …

A delegation from participated in “freifunk summer convention 03 in Berlin”, explaining While the two farmer style Danes thought they would visit the big city of Berlin to see huger networks, it became evident that was by far Europe’s largest non-commercial wireless network at that time. It was also evident that the need for rural network’s like was not a Danish phenomena, but a need and fruitful possibility in all European rural districts. So together we decided to host the next summer convention in rural Denmark.

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