Paradrop is a software platform that enables apps to run on Wi-Fi routers. We call these apps “chutes” like a parachute. The name Paradrop comes from the fact that we are enabling the ability to “drop” supplies and resources (“apps”) into a difficult and not well-travelled environment - the home.
Our early versions of Paradrop relied on OpenWrt, however we are revamping the platform and tailoring it towards a broader developer community. Paradrop now runs on top of Snappy Ubuntu, a trimmed-down and secured operating system that can run on ARM and x86. We also enable our apps through containerization by leveraging Docker.
The Paradrop workflow¶
There are two components to the Paradrop platform:
- The build tools - our CLI that enables registration, login, and control.
- The instance tools - our configuration daemons and tools to launch apps on hardware.
As you can see from the image above, we will refer to Build Tools when we talk about the CLI program running on your development computer that controls and communicates with the rest of the Paradrop platform. Treat this tool as your window into the rest of the Paradrop world. Our Instance Tools leverage programs like Docker to allow Paradrop apps to run on router hardware. This “hardware” could be a Raspberry Pi, or even a virtual machine on your computer that acts as a router (which is why we call it an Instance sometimes). Using Paradrop, you can actually plug in a USB Wi-Fi adapter and turn a virtual machine on your computer into a real router with our platform!
Where to go from here?¶
What if I don’t have Ubuntu?¶
We will soon switch our development system to Vagrant, which will allow support across all major operating systems. We will also update the docs with notes on how to download precompiled versions of our Paradrop instance tools once they have been fully tested.