Nodes Communication at the SONM Platform: Whisper and Discovery

In the past week, the SONM team has been working hard to integrate the Whisper Protocol and to implement the Discovery Algorithm, is a crucial part of the platform.

SONM is a decentralized worldwide fog supercomputer for both specific and general purposes — the first of its kind — which is an efficient and cost-effective way to solve various problems especially in comparison to the cloud computing, an understood technology. The Whisper Protocol and the Discovery Algorithm are an important part of SONM client which makes the nodes work and coordinate in harmony.

Technology Outline and Development Results

The Whisper Protocol is a secure peer-to-peer communication protocol in the Ethereum network for DApps, which is designed to allow nodes communicate with each other. It is designed to rely on identity-based data and enables users to send messages within the network.

The Whisper Protocol can manage indexed sets of records such as those controlled by several keys. The records can be non-unique, and the keys can be identical or different.

The Whisper Protocol is particularly useful in these circumstances:

  • DApps needs to publish small amounts of information to each other and have the publication last some substantial amount of time.
  • DApps that need to signal to each other in order to ultimately collaborate on a transaction.
  • DApps that need to provide non-real-time hinting or general communications between each other, such as in a chat app.
  • DApps that need to provide dark (plausible denial over perfect network traffic analysis) communications to two correspondents that know nothing of each other but a hash. For instance, this DApp could allow a whistleblower to communicate to a prominent journalist.

In the application, the Whisper Protocol allows transactions to be automatically executed and without the need for a centralized archive.

Integration of the Whisper Protocol by the SONM development team into the Client has successfully been initiated — a significant technical achievement — and testing has proven its effectiveness. Presently, the SONM team is further testing the way all the elements run together, closely monitoring the system, and getting ready to complete the Whisper Protocol implementation. Our developers and sophisticated testing infrastructure is ensuring that everything is checked and the system will be able to handle production-level loads. Our team expects the process to be completed in August.

While the Whisper Protocol is the instrument of communication between nodes, the Discovery Algorithm is designed to set up this communication. The Discovery Algorithm allows deploying hubs (learn more about hubs on and miners in a unified network without any awareness of a direct IP address. The Discovery Algorithm is supported by continuously-online bootstrap nodes on dedicated servers, whose IP addresses are hard coded within the SONM client.

When connecting to the network, the bootstrap nodes communicate with each other to acquire information about current network state and other nodes. This way, knowledge about other nodes and the network state can be shared across all new network participants.

The SONM team has successfully launched the first bootstrap node, a mediator between all the miners and hubs present in SONM and connecting them to each other. The bootstrap nodes reflect the system’s configuration and performance at any time and is a crucial element in the Discovery Algorithm implementation.

One of the key benefits of Discovery Algorithm is that before its launch, miners had to know the exact IP address of the hub node in the network to setup an application manually, a sophisticated and complicated task. Now, this process runs automatically, an important step in SONM tech development that increases efficiency substantively.