Recently, Althea published a blog post comparing its network structure with RightMesh’s solution.  It was a fair and well-written article, which we appreciated.  We believe, however, that right from the word “comparison”, Althea missed the mark.

At their core, Althea and RightMesh are solving 2 very different problems.  RightMesh is committed to bringing connectivity to the next billion.  Althea’s goal is to lower the cost of bandwidth for everyone.  Different goals, different markets, different solutions.  Trying to compare the 2 is kind of like comparing apples to oranges.

Without getting into too much detail, let’s hone down the comparison to two main differences which underlie most of the Althea article:

Phones vs Infrastructure

RightMesh uses smartphones to route internet connectivity through hops while Althea is designed to run on Linux-based routers connected to stationary high-bandwidth Wi-Fi transmitters or runs of cable and fibre.  Although there are pros and cons to each of these options, RightMesh is focused on phones for a mission-driven reason: in order to connect the next billion, we need to minimize barriers like additional hardware and costs.  Even in developing nations and remote locations, people already have smartphones. Althea concedes in their article, “taking a phone-first approach is exciting, because it could bring access to very remote areas or disaster zones where nobody has had a chance or ability to install networking equipment”.  This hits the nail on the head.  A hardware based solution simply would not achieve the RightMesh mission, so it is moot to compare the speed, routing efficiency, latency, signal strength or verification methods of the 2 approaches.

Closed vs Open Source

A second comparison in the Althea article examines open source (Althea) vs a proprietary mesh networking protocol (RightMesh) and what that may imply. Although Althea criticizes RightMesh for our “secrecy”, we are actually gaining much feedback from select groups in the blockchain/crypto and software developer communities that we choose to share with at this point.  RightMesh has consciously chosen to keep our protocol closed for the moment as we want to ensure we work out all the kinks and have all systems ready to go before we share.  Our beta SDK is now open for developers to retrofit or create apps on the mesh, and we are working one-on-one with the select applicants for this specific reason.  Our long term plan will likely include a transition to open source; however, for now, our proprietary protocol allows us build the best platform to support us in our mission to connect the next billion.  In Althea’s own words,  “Getting away from the longstanding patterns of traditional networking code will [also] let them try new techniques possibly better suited to the smartphone networks they are trying to create”.  Again, we adhere to our mission, and keeping our source closed for now will help us achieve our goal with the greatest efficiency and success.

Working Together

In Althea’s conclusion, they state that RightMesh will be complementary to Althea: “Internet access can be supplied by Althea’s infrastructure-level networks, and distributed to groups of phones with RightMesh”.  Yes.  We agree.  Our solutions will always have different vulnerabilities, performance and implementation channels as we are trying to achieve vastly different goals.  But working together, with Althea providing internet access and RightMesh extending it to distributed phones, will create opportunities for us both to achieve success and bring all the social and economic benefits that come with connectivity to billions more people around the world.