Byzantium Linux is a Slackware based live CD built on top of Porteus that can be rapidly deployed to set up an ad-hoc wireless mesh network in disaster zones or locations where the Internet has been cut off by the authorities and replace the centralized telecommunications infrastructure with the network nodes. The project started as a result of the Arab spring with the idea to reinstate the Internet cut off by the Egyptian authorities at the time, the P2P model will also bypass ISP filtering and surveillance. Any small group of low skilled people can quickly deploy a reliable Byzantium ad-hoc network that requires low maintenance and it is dynamically expandable.
Byzantium has been designed to work with old hardware and Wifi access points supporting 802.11 a/b/g/n without the need to download and install drivers, it needs 512MB of RAM to work with KDE or LXDE and even less to work from the command line without a GUI, loading the distribution on RAM memory requires 1GB of RAM. Clients communicate with each other in peer-to-peer mode any Wifi device can join the network, its ad-hoc model is different from other similar projects using Open802.11s, Optimized Link State Routing, Babel and CJDNS, the developers made an excellent presentation at HOPE (Hackers on Planet Earth), available for download at their site, comparing the different threats to different mesh communication systems and explaining why Byzantium is the best model.
Running Byzantium live CD on your computer will give users access to a network wide private web chat using and IRC client optimized for mobile devices and a collaborative text editor, if one of the nodes is connected to the Internet it can become an Internet gateway for the whole mesh. The Byzantium project could also be of use to create a private mesh network in a college or convention centre that can be dynamically extend its coverage, it is free and has no central point of failure.
Potential threats to this mesh network could come in the form of wireless signal jamming (all wireless networks are vulnerable to this threat) and adding rogue nodes to the mesh to spy on others and cause havoc since there is no central authority.