Project idea: Create a mini internet
After reading about the guy that essentially formed his own ISP I've been very interested in the methods and protocols that the internet actually uses. So much so that I've gotten back into my Cisco books and even started creating my own "ISP" in packet tracer just to play around. That's all cool and well, but packet tracer really limits what you can actually do. So instead of just that I have a really awesome idea for a big club project.

Why don't we build out a mockup of the world wide web?!

When you really boil it all down the internet is just a big giant mesh of routers that happen to have other small networks hanging off of them. The more routers you connect together, the bigger and faster the internet becomes (sorta). For the longest time the internet behind the curtains was just black magic to me, but now I've seen the light, and it's really very simple.

Right now the bulk of internet routing is done with a protocol called Border Gateway Protocol (BGP) which is a very slick protocol. It allows for routers to easily exchange routing information in a way that all the routers on the network eventually end up knowing about all the other routers on the network. On the WWW thats a LOT of routers! But it all just kinda works thanks to BGP!

So here's the idea:
It doesn't take multi thousand dollar routers to run BGP and in fact there are a few good router OSes that can do BGP for free! So lets get a bunch of people together each with a cheap computer and a few network cards and try and form our own internet. This would be cool because everyone who is a part of it can form their own chunk of this "Local Wide Web". The other cool thing about it is that it really doesn't take much hardware at all to run these routers. A simple dual core computer with a few gigs of ram and a few ethernet ports will be able to handle it no problem.

So what do you think? Should we make this an official club project?
I ran the idea past our club advisor and he likes the idea a lot. I really believe that this could be an awesome learning tool for a lot of people. I'm going to try and write up a project proposal that would give a broad overview and some objectives of this project. A good proposal will likely be the best first steps to take in a big project like this. This is exciting!
I started working up a project proposal for this, but I'm not sure I'm doing this right.

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