Decentralized networks
System administration
Network technologies

«Medium» — the first decentralized ISP in Russia

May 1st, 2019 the president of Russian Federation signed the law project also known as «Sovereign Runet».

In this article I would like to share the information of an already working Russian decentralized ISP, that allows browsing I2P network resources. And we also offer you to join our project and set up your own «Medium» access point.

See the full article for more details.

Image: medium.i2p | CC BY-SA 2.0

What is «Medium»?

The «Medium» project was initially thought of as a Mesh-network in the Kolomna city, however after some time it became obvious that there just aren't enough people to turn this concept into a real thing.

For this reason, after some time «Medium» became an independent and free I2P service provider — enthusiasts set up their own access points in a way that after connecting to them it would be able to use I2P resources.

From a security point of view this method has some fundamental downsides — for example, it is possible to freely sniff the traffic between the user and the router that he is connected to at the moment. It's worth mentioning that Tor has a similar problem — but in Tor's case, it's the exit nodes.

This problem can be handled using TLS, SSL, HTTPS etc. — that's enough to feel confident about using the network's resources. And, of course, let's not forget PGP and asymmetric cryptography when exchanging messages.

Thanks to I2P, it becomes impossible to locate not only the router from which the traffic came (see the main principles of «garlic» routing), but also the «Medium» user on another end.

As a nice bonus — inability to block the network and the users' access to the computing resources — in order to do it, you have to restrict the whole Internet on physical level. Turn it off and never turn it on again.

From legal point of view (in accordance with Federal law № 97-FZ from May 5, 2014), «Medium», located on territory of Russian Federation, may partially get under restrictions imposed by law. But keep following nuances in mind:

  1. «Medium» is not a legal entity; every member is an autonomous ISP with the same name;
  2. «Medium» access points may be open (not password protected by default), but hidden: person without knowing the network name will not be able to connect to it;
  3. «Medium» allows access to an I2P network, not to the Internet (though there is a possibility of exiting to the Web through outproxy — at the will of current «Medium» operator; for this reason «Medium» can be easily called ISP).

What is «Medium» designed for?

We believe that the Internet should be politically neutral and free — the principles that the World Wide Web is built on don't stand a chance for criticism. They are obsolete. They are unsafe. We live in the Legacy. Any decentralized network is compromised by default — and this is one of those reasons that we create «Medium» for.

We believe that privacy is one of those basic things necessary for quiet and peaceful human life.

We believe that every person has the right for privacy and integrity of his personal data.

We believe that «Medium» will be able to help I2P network grow up — with each «Medium» access point a new transit node appears.

How is «Medium» built?

The essence of decentralized «Medium» ISP is to give the end user possibility of using I2P network resources without directly paying for internet traffic.

The concept of «Medium» ISP is prosaic enough — many interested people set up their wireless points with access to I2P network without direct internet connection possibility by default (outproxy usage isn't forbidden, but isn't welcome too: «Medium» must contribute to the growth of transit nodes and sites in I2P network). Infrastructure deployment is free of charge — it's all pure enthusiasm.

In beginning of the project special attention was focused on users' possibility to use I2P network resources unrestrictedly — not exactly like in the concept of «Invisible Internet» but still bypassing paradigms of the Internet we are used to, and it's good for now.

And also on the ease of user's connection to the network: Wi-Fi connection availability isn't anything supernatural for an ordinary user now.

What do we have at this point: volunteers (system operators) with «Medium» access points under their control, and the users who use the network resources. I2P only uses a small part of the general channel's bandwidth, so the system operators shouldn't have problems with having 5-10 users connected.

From where can be «Medium» accessed?

On current state of development «Medium» has several access points in Kolomna, Tyumen, Samara, Hanty-Mansiysk, and one in Riga.

We hope for community's active contribution to the growth of «Medium» — the instructions for setting up your authentic point can be found here. You can also issue a pull request for adding your access point in the public list of all the network points.

I want to volunteer! What do I have to do?

Set your access point up and join the project discussion on GitHub. In this branch, the most significant nuances of «Medium»'s long-term development are discussed.

If you are an operator of an active «Medium» access point already, then don't forget to issue a PR on GitHub to add your point to the public list of all the access points. Here you can find useful info about how to issue a PR.

Complete AP listAP setup guideAdd your AP to the list

Source article: here.

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