[Bloat] closing up my make-wifi-fast lab

Luca Dionisi luca.dionisi at gmail.com
Sat Aug 25 05:07:01 EDT 2018

Godspeed for your next project, Dave.

On Fri, Aug 24, 2018 at 10:11 PM Dave Taht <dave.taht at gmail.com> wrote:

> All:
> It is with some regret that I am announcing the closing of my
> make-wifi-fast lab at the end of this month.
> Over the years we have relied on the donation of lab space from
> ISC.org, georgia tech, the LINCs, and the University of Karstadt and
> elsewhere - but my main base of operation has always been the
> "yurtlab", in a campground deep in the los gatos hills where I could
> both experiment and deploy wifi fixes[0] at scale. CeroWrt, in
> particular, was made here.
> During the peak of the make-wifi-fast effort I rented additional space
> on the same site, which at peak had over 30 routers in a crowded
> space, competing. Which I (foolishly) kept, despite the additional
> expense. Having heat in the winter and aircond in the summer was
> helpful.
> With ongoing donations running at $90/month[1] - which doesn't even
> cover bufferbloat.net's servers in the cloud - my biggest expense has
> been keeping the lab at lupin open at $1800/mo.
> I kept the lab going through the sch_cake and openwrt 18.06 release
> process, and I'm now several months behind on rent[3], and given how
> things have gone for the past 2 years I don't see much use for it in
> the future. Keeping it open, heated and dry in the winter has always
> been a problem also. I'm also aware of a few larger, much better
> equipped wifi labs that have thoroughly tested our "fq_codel for
> wifi"[4] work that finally ends the "wifi performance anomaly". it's
> in multiple commercial products now, we're seeing airtime fairness
> being actually *marketed* as a wifi feature, and I kind of expect
> deployment be universal across all mediatek mt76, and qualcomm ath9k
> and ath10k based products in the next year or two. We won, big, on
> wifi. Knocked it out of the park. Thanks all!
> Despite identifying all kinds of other work[5] that can be done to
> make wifi better, no major (or even minor) direct sponsor has ever
> emerged[2] for the make-wifi-fast project. We had a small grant from
> comcast, a bit of support from nlnet also, I subsidized what I did
> here from other work sources, toke had his PHD support, and all the
> wonderful volunteers here... and that's it.
> Without me being able, also, to hire someone to keep the lab going, as
> I freely admit to burnout and PTSD on perpetually reflashing and
> reconfiguring routers...
> I'm closing up shop here to gather enough energy, finances, and time
> for the next project, whatever it is.
> The make-wifi-fast mailing list and project will continue, efforts to
> make more generic the new API also, and hopefully there's enough users
> out there to
> keep it all going forward without the kind of comprehensive testing I
> used to do here.
> If anyone feels like reflashing, oh, 30 bricked routers of 8 different
> models, from serial ports (in multiple cases, like the 6 uap-ac-lites,
> via soldiering on headers), I'll gladly toss all the extra equipment
> in the lab in a big box and ship them to you. Suggestions for a
> suitable donation target are also of interest.
> The yurtlab has been an amazing, totally unique, unusual (and
> sometimes embarrassing [6]) place to work and think, but it's time to
> go.
> Perhaps I'll convince my amazingly supportive landlord to let me leave
> behind a plaque:
> "On this spot bufferbloat on the internet and in WiFi was fixed,
> 2011-2018".
> Sincerely,
> Dave Taht
> [0] https://lwn.net/Articles/705884/ "How we made wifi fast again"
> [1] https://www.patreon.com/dtaht
> [2] Like adrian chadd's infamous flameout - I too, give up on wifi.
> There's gotta be some other tech worth working on. What we shipped is
> "good enough" to carry a few years though.
> [3] This is not a passive-aggressive request for help making rent next
> month, given all the other problems I have, it's best to close up shop
> while I look for a new gig.
> [4] https://arxiv.org/pdf/1703.00064.pdf "ending the wifi anomaly"
> [5]
> https://docs.google.com/document/d/1Se36svYE1Uzpppe1HWnEyat_sAGghB3kE285LElJBW4/edit#
> [6]
> https://www.cringely.com/2012/10/01/clothing-may-be-optional-but-bufferbloat-isnt/
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