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Development update: GNUnet over WLAN

We had a nice hacking session today in my office where the WLAN transport plugin seemed to be working pretty well during a first multi-peer test. The WLAN plugin enables GNUnet peers to discover each other (broadcast) and then communicate. What is special is that the WLAN code does not assume that the peers participate in an existing WLAN-infrastructure (no access point, communication is purely ad-hoc). The basic idea (but not all implementation details) was pioneered by Andy Green's Penumbra.
Using this approach, peers can be associated with an access point at the same time as they communicate ad-hoc with each other (as long as they are all on the same channel or the hardware supports multiple channels at the same time). Configuration is pretty trivial (load WLAN plugin, run airmon-ng to get a WLAN interface in monitor mode) and peers find each other quickly afterwards. David has documented the setup in more detail here.

The main limitations right now are that communication seems to be still pretty slow (the mode used supports at most 1 MBIT/s on Linux, but in practice we seem to get significantly less -- more investigation needed). Also, if the WLAN interface is turned off during the run, the gnunet-service-transport currently crashes. There are also some other minor bugs, but hopefully those can be fixed soon. We did try some file-sharing over WLAN, which worked; however, the speed was very slow with only about 1 kb/s. Still, as usual, correctness first, performance later...

One last note for those who want to try this. The WLAN code uses a little helper binary that must run with root rights, so you need to run 'make install' as root in order to get this to work.