Your own personal network

The cloud is a (mostly) always available service that can be seen by all devices. Without this, it is difficult for individual devices to find each other. Signpost is building “personal cloud” infrastructure to let your devices all see and reach each other without requiring any complex configuration.

Peer-to-peer services are notoriously hard to use due to the prevalence of firewalls and NAT middleboxes that prevent all of our devices from seeing each other. Consider how difficult it is to access a display from work into your home PC, or vice versa. Many cloud services have sprung up to assist with this, but they all require you to give access to your personal infrastructure to an external third-party. For example, Dropbox or GoToMyPC. Why is it so difficult for our devices to be networked without these services?

Signpost addresses the problem by probing connectivity and using DNS updates to provide a constant “pointer” to your devices. In addition, it also understands the internal structure of networks (e.g. the home) and can directly redirect devices that are on the same network to each other without going via the Internet.

We recently presented Signpost at the Usenix Security workshop on Free and Open Communications on the Internet (FOCI). You can read the paper, go over the code, or view the slides below.

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Overview of Signpost Benefits
Features Security Resilience
Personal Namespace Identity Decoupled and vendor-proof
Stable Device Binding Service Association Your ID
Ubiquitous Connectivity Secure P2P Works offline