CI-FIRE Interview: Routek SME Success Story with FIRE

In this interview with Victor Oncins from Routek, CI-FIRE shows how SMEs are benefitting from FIRE (future internet research and exprimentation).

What expertise has Routek brought to CONFINE?
Routek is a small young company focusing on the business opportunities that appear in Community Networks. We offer technological and consulting services to end users and network promoters from both public and private sector. The owners and workers of the company, who are engineers in telecommunications, computer science and physics, are active members and participants of, the biggest Community Network in Europe. We have long-term expertise on bottom-up networking deployments.
Routek promotes, deploys and manages Mesh Community Networks networks based on the qMp - Quick Mesh Project firmware and the BMX6 dynamic routing protocol. This type of network is currently growing and used by several communities that benefit from their technical advantages. We support the open source projects qMp and BMX6 by allocating human resources to their maintenance and further development. This means that Routek has direct contact with the community using the network, receiving feedback about their needs and their requirements.

How has Routek benefitted from this collaboration? What new products/services can it now take to market?
Being part of the the FIRE project CONFINE through its 2nd Open Call for SMEs has been a really important opportunity with research and financial support to analyse and improve the BMX6 routing algorithms and metrics, currently being used in Mesh Community Networks. The CONFINE test bed facility has given Routek the right resources to experiment under specific environmental conditions that otherwise would have been difficult to create in a laboratory environment.
The outcomes of our involvement in CONFINE brings important improvements to the Mesh Networks that Routek deploys and promotes. Current and future customers will benefit from the subsequent development of software tools that will increase network performance and efficiency, providing a better Quality of Experience to their users, as well as Community Network users in general.

What advice would you give to other SMEs interested in contributing to FIRE in the future?
It is important for SMEs to take advantage of the opportunities for research that FIRE provides. On the one hand, they can gain access to experimenting facilities that, usually, only bigger companies can afford. On the other hand, they can get in touch with other innovative companies in their sector and public research institutions, exchange knowledge and collaborate in projects with shared interests, obtaining international visibility.
The social impact of the research projects conducted in the context of FIRE also plays a significant role in their success. They not only have to be of significant technical or scientific relevance, but they have to be useful for all the Community Network users. In the case of Routek, applying open-source licensing to our software projects has broadened the reach of the projects not only to our customers, but to an entire community that contributes back by providing feedback, suggestions and code contribution.