Network Usage Policy

Last Updated: 05/10/2019

Notice: This document is still being updated and actively worked on. We recently decided to redo our policy due to some unavoidable options in the firmware we use to create and support the research network.

Because our project operates a data transport network that anyone in our local town may make use of, we do have to put down some rules and expectations. This policy is ever evolving to meet the needs of our deployed network and you should refer back to this document from time to time to make sure that you are not doing anything that could cause townhall to force us to pull the project’s resources offline.

Acceptable Network Usage Policy

The Huntsville Hobby Network Project aims to provide a town wide network for residents to use for research, public event communications and the like. The network is built out of limited 2.4GHz links and as such we are constructing an acceptable usage policy to ensure that all resources are shared and used in a fair way.

Acceptable Usage Outline

Access to networks and network services owned or operated by the HHN (Huntsville Hobby Network) is a privilege which imposes certain responsibilities and obligations to users and is granted subject to HHN policies, local and federal laws, and any townhall imposed policies. The objective of this policy is to ensure an available, reliable and responsive network environment for all project users to make use of. It is the responsibility of each user to ensure that the HHN’s network and network resources are used appropriately and fairly.

Any activity that compromises the performance of the HHN’s network and/or network services such that others are negatively affected in an avoidable way is not acceptable. Acceptable use is always ethical, reflects academic honesty, and shows restraint and thoughtfulness in the consumption of our shared network resources. It demonstrates respect for intellectual property, ownership of generated data, politeness to other users, and an individual’s rights to freedom from intimidation, harassment, and unwarranted annoyance from other users. If any use adversely impacts the network, the user will be asked to reconfigure his or her network use so that network impact is avoided and lessened in the future instances of their network use.

Examples of Unacceptable Network Use

Examples of inappropriate use by our users include but are not limited to:

Violations of the rights of any person or company protected by copyright, trade secret, patent or other intellectual property, or similar laws or regulations, including, but not limited to, the installation or distribution of “pirated” or other software products that are not appropriately licensed for use by our project or its users. Simply put, do not share software or software code that is not publicly licensed under an open source license or MIT license. You will be reported to the authorities if such activity is observed on the network.

Unauthorized copying of copyrighted material including, but not limited to, digitization and distribution of photographs from magazines, books or other copyrighted sources, copyrighted music, and the installation of any copyrighted software for which the HHN or the end user does not have an active license.

Users shall not distribute computer viruses, trojans or other exploitive programs on the network. While the network is not presented as secure, it is an open network to the public, users shall not do anything that could cause harm to another user’s data, machines or network access.

Users shall not use the network to post, send or otherwise distribute personal information about any other user. This includes harassment, threats or other unwanted actions towards another user and such will be reported as soon as discovered. We employ a zero tolerance policy towards user bullying and harassment.

Examples of Acceptable Usage

Below is an example of network usages that are deemed acceptable by our project. This list is only an example and is not all inclusive.

Sharing weather imagery that a user has generated, playing a game such as Minecraft with a friend across town, hosting a project voice or chat server, hosting a live weather camera where permitted, hosting weather sensors, hosting project data services such as printers or storage, sharing project and research data, and hosting communication services for local events.

One of the main design goals of the network, and a core acceptable use, is to easily connect multiple research and event sites together to allow the transport of data, within our acceptable guidelines.

Such uses are treated as a core reason as to why the network exist to begin with and we should all do our part to ensure that our usages of the network stay aligned with these ideals. We have built this network with the image of an inclusive and easy to use data transport network in mind for all town residents to be able to make use of.

Acceptable Internet Usage Subpolicy

Due to the nature of the firmware that our project uses, we do not have a way to disable internet access to the network as a whole. However, we do provide and expect network users to follow our internet usage guidelines.

Any user who elects to provide an internet connection to the network with their node must use an internet content filter on the internet gateway to keep the data transport network as clean as possible and acceptable to all users. Any nodes found to be providing unfiltered internet access will be reported to the authorities.

Any node that is providing internet access to the network must have the internet gateway’s speed limited to no more than six megabits per second (6Mbps) in order to ensure that the network does not become any user’s primary internet access. Internet access is not a goal of the project or its services and really should not be deployed except where absolutely needed, such as to temporarily support public events or research outings. All internet gateways are required to be limited to six megabits per second (6Mbps) or slower and are required to be content filtered, no exceptions. Internet gateways must be regularly updated by their operators.

Acceptable internet usages are:

* Providing access to VOIP services such as teamspeak, discord, or skype.

* Providing eMail access to event or research groups.

* Providing filtered and limited internet access to event and research groups.

* Providing a low speed (6Mbps or slower) filtered internet connection to the network to support an events and its visitors.

Unacceptable internet usages are, but not limited to, as follows:

  • Sending or posting discriminatory, harassing, or threatening messages or images on the Internet or via email service.
  • Using access to perpetrate any form of fraud, and/or software, film or music piracy.
  • Downloading, copying or pirating software and electronic files that are copyrighted or without authorization.
  • Sending or posting information that is defamatory to the HHN, our services, colleagues and/or users.
  • Introducing malicious software onto the shared network and/or jeopardizing the security of the HHN’s and user’s systems.

Expectations to Network Users

All users who are accessing and making use of the HHN’s network and network resources are expected and required to stay on top of OS, Firmware and Software updates for their devices and applications in order to help upkeep the security of the research network and its users.

The HHN and its project members cannot and will not be held responsible for any wrong doing that occur from a user’s use of the network or network services. Each and every user is expected to do their part to keep the network safe and open for all to use.

Law Enforcement Auditing

The HHN Project and its staff are committed to fully working with law enforcement and we have enacted an audit policy that can be found on our website. That policy grants law enforcement and local governing bodies a method to request and obtain access the the core nodes provided by the HHN if they feel they should need access during an investigation. Users are encouraged to give the policy a view and understand what it entails for the network as a whole.