How does it work?
The Internet Cube, as presented in the video above, fulfils two complementaty functions.
1. It cleans your Internet access. To achieve this, it broadcast its own WiFi network. By using it, all your internet traffic goes through an encrypted tunnel (VPN). This way, your Internet Service Provider (ISP) is not able to spy, filter or clamp down your internet access. In the future, the Internet Cube might integrate additional features such as automatically blocking ads and trackers, or other features to protect your privacy.
2. It allows you to have your very own piece of Internet. This is what is called self-hosting : to have your own server, hosting services like a blog, a mailbox, file synchronization, contact and calendar synchronization, etc... This practice is made accessible through the YunoHost software. The Internet Cube therefore allows you to emancipate yourself from the GAFAMs and to take back control of your data.Detailed feature list (text)
Clean your internet access:
- You simply connect the Cube to your Internet Service Provider (ISP) box... and that's it ;
- It will start a second wifi network, which you can use to access the internet;
- By using this wifi rather than the one from your ISP, it won't be able to spy, filter or restrict your internet connection;
- Furthermore, your computers will automatically gain native IPv6 access, without the need to configure anything;
- If you decide to switch ISP, you can just unplug and replug the Cube from one box to the other and you won't need to reconfigure anything;
- You now have a trusted internet connection, without filtering and respectful of Net Neutrality, regardless of where you connect your box, it even works using 3G/4G.
- thanks to the software YunoHost, the Internet Cube allows you to store your emails and other personal data at your own place instead of storing them on the computer of someone else (what is commonly referred to today as the cloud);
- YunoHost allows anyone who is interested in IT, without being an expert, to self-host a wide range of services (emails, file sharing, blog, online calendar, etc...);
- thanks to the Cube, which is also an internet server, you don't have to worry about the restrictions of your ISP: they have disappeared;
- your server is connected to an internet access that respect Net Neutrality and which isn't censored, with static IPv4 and IPv6 and there is no need to configure your ISP box;
- if you switch ISP, you only need to unplug and replug the Internet Cube from the old box to the new one and your server will be available again without the need of any configuration;
- if you move or switch off your electricity to go on vacation, you can plug your Cube in on any internet connection without having to do any configuration;
- you can even connect your portable server to an especially restricted access,, like a 3/4G connection and continue to offer your services to the whole world.
- with a maximum consumption of only 2W with the wifi activated, the Cube can be powered via a battery or a small solar Panel (a 12€ battery cell can last 13h);
- the box is open-hardware and all the software included is free software;
- the Internet Cube can also allow you to share files easily during an event (this is what we call a PirateBox) ;
- you can also use it to provide internet access at a public event, when using someone elses connection to free it's owner from liabilities.
- PS: you can use the same Cube to clean your internet access with its wifi hotspot and host your internet services.
This is summarized in this sketch:
Of course, since all your internet traffic will go through this tunnel, you have to trust the people managing the remote computer to which your VPN tunnel will connect. For this reason, it's better to choose an association whose members you know (e.g. an organization attached to FFDN). Some of theses associations can provide you the Cube pre-configured to connect to them.
How to have a better understanding of the stakes?
These three conferences (in French) should help you understand the issues of privacy, self-hosting and IPv6:
What is the state of the project?
Many people already use the Cube every day, as their main internet access, for hosting web services, or both.
What are you waiting for? Add your own Cube to the free, neutral and decentralized internet!
To stay informed about the progress of the project, to ask questions or make suggestions, you can use these communication channels :
- Mailing list: email@example.com
- IRC: #labriqueinter.net sur irc.geeknode.org
- Twitter: @Une_brique (rarely used)
- GitHub: labriqueinternet
- BugTracker : on GitHub
- Wiki : wiki.internetcu.be
- Press : a simple list of press release about the cube
- Monthly meeting the second monday of each month : wiki.ldn-fai.net/wiki/Mumble
How to get an Internet Cube?
Bulk orders are made by local associations (approximately 70€ per Cube).
Generally, the associations offer to provide you a plug-n-play Cube, fully assembled, installed and configured with VPN access: you will only have to unpack it, and plug in it at home to take advantage of your new clean internet access, without doing anything else (and then install self-hosting web services, if you feel like it, in a few clicks via the administration interface).
You can contact an association close to you, providing VPN services and/or plug-n-play Internet Cubes (click on icons for more information):
Otherwise, you can build your own Cube all by yourself by following the information in the next section.
How to build my own Internet Cube?
The cited associations in the previous section will generally enable you to directly receive a plug-n-play Cube. For those who do no want to ask an association and want to do everything themselves, the process is simple, and the links provided in this section will allow you to do this easily.
If you own the hardware suggested below, or even directly a pre-installed Cube:
If you are trying to build a Cube with another hardware (experts only):
- YunoHost project (Debian images)
- Wifi Hotspot application for YunoHost
- VPN Client application for YunoHost
- PirateBox application for YunoHost (requires Wifi Hotspot)
- Olimex board (open-hardware): A20-OLinuXino-LIME / LIME2
- Case for the board:
- Sector adaptor (power jack 5V DC) for the board (a simple mini-USB cable is enough to power the board, but the adapter is useful to plug a self-powered hard drive): SY0605E
- Wifi antenna (not open-hardware)
- Micro-SD card that is used as the internal hard drive: Transcend Premium 300x Class 10 (16 Go is enough)
- Battery (13h of autonomy, optional): BATTERY-LIPO6600mAh
- Solar panel (optional): LiPo Rider Pro, SP 3W 138x160, + 1 battery (another reseller) - Photo
Cost of the hardware bundle described above, per Cube (with LIME, without the battery and the solar panel, but including the shipping cost):
- Approximately 70€ as part of an associative bulk order (FFDN)
- Approximately 70€ as part of a personal bulk order (from 10 Cubes)
- Approximately 80€ otherwise
Cube ornamentation and spreading the word:
Anonymity and law?
Regarding the aspect « Internet access via VPN » : the associations of the FDN Federation (FFDN) in general don't guarantee anonymity in regard to legal bodies, neither any impunity in regards of the law.
The guarantee they bring at this level, is to only cooperate with the justice in the strictest framework of the law. Therefore, no data will be given away to anyone if the associated legal process is not strictly followed. We know that it's not always the case for the general public big access providers, that we can legitimately suspect them of providing information on the basis of simple phone calls from police officers or to install privileged access to their data, outside of all legal process (which are nowadays becoming more and more optional...)
VPN access can only guarantee anonymity to the French or Belgian legal bodies only if the provider is located in a country that is known to not collaborate easily with France/Belgium (for example Russia, but this will imply trust in the provider and the legislation of the country).
But, no matter the country, setting up the Cube with a foreign VPN provider (correctly chosen) will be especially interesting for a political dissident or a journalist who would like to protect himself against abuses from his country, to claim more freedom.