WiFi and mesh communications without internet

We have a small amount of low-cost networking gear at camp (raspberry pi, WRT/tomato routers, 2.4 ghz directional antennas, etc.). One common time sink is walking back and forth between camps to ask a simple question, then walk all the way back with an answer.

What are the best (simple, utilize existing infrastructure) methods for text and voice comms without using internet. Cross-platform would be ideal, but Android would be the primary OS.

The FOSS project Rumble is interesting because it uses Bluetooth, WiFi, or internet to get messages through. Unfortunately, it doesn’t look like there’s much ongoing development.

There’s a free “Wi-Fi Talkie” app in the Play store that we’ve tested, and that too seems to have little development (last activity April of 2016).

So, those sorta work, but what are we missing?


I haven’t researched it in a few years but project meshnet/hyperboria was having some success in setting up meshnets in big cities. Another one that I very occassionally get email updates on is netsukuku. I wish that I had more people around to communicate with. I’d spend more time developing stuff like my horticultural supporting meshnet node drones but these days, I’m really trying to limit my time in front of screens.

I was starting here. But I’ve noticed some of the Prism-Break recommendations are increasingly dated.


If the two camps are on the same LAN, you can use a serverless chat like: http://www.kouchat.net/

XMPP (jabber) protocol also supports serverless messaging, but I haven’t seen a mobile client that supports it yet. https://xmpp.org/extensions/xep-0174.html

Looks like that hasn’t been updated since a week before Rumble was updated. The ability for Rumble to use Wifi/LAN, bluetooth or internet still nudges me its direction. Wow, so many of these FOSS apps have such ugly MS Paint design. I wonder how much that gets in the way of their adoption.

The Scuttlebut Patchwork app is actually pleasant to look at! I think it does what you want -It was initially started by someone that lives on a sailboat.
Install and setup stuff:


In Scuttlebutt, the “mesh” suffices. With simply two computers, a local router, and electricity, you can exchange messages between the computers with minimal effort and no technical skills. Each account in Scuttlebutt is a diary (or “log”) of what a person has publicly and digitally said. As those people move around between different WiFi / LAN networks, their log gets copy-pasted to different computers, and so digital information spreads.

edit: Sorry, got excited and forgot the Android requirement. Looks like a mobile app is in process, but not done.

I think the adoption problem is pretty simple. When I was trying to build support for a meshnet project, the number one complaint is that people wouldn’t be able too stream hd video or play WoW over it. People just don’t see the value of being able to freely communicate. The second issue is abuse. People pretty much told me that they’d wreck anything I setup by purposefully abusing it until it breaks. That’s when I came up with the idea to require a cryptocurrency bonded account to access the decentralized social network that would be the gateway to the rest of the meshnet. Kind of like steemit but with an upfront bond that could be lost if community moderation convicted a user

That’s when I came up with the idea to require a cryptocurrency bonded account to access the decentralized social network that would be the gateway to the rest of the meshnet.

Eth-tweet: https://github.com/yep/eth-tweet

Eth-tweet doesn’t have the built in abuse resistance. Lots of people are close but no one’s put something truly antifragile out there yet. Maybe once I get famous some coders will get excited and help…lol

Ended up installing LEDE firmware (OpenWRT fork) on an Asus N16 router, then adding Prosody (xmpp server). It works great when it’s working, but stability has been a problem. The server crashes constantly with no errors in the logs. The router runs fine, it’s just the xmpp service that dies. I traced one issue to an undocumented issue on SSL cert expiration limits, and thought that solved it, but something else crashed it overnight.

I fight an Asus N16 for connectivity pretty regularly. It crashes at least a few times per day. It gets power cycled very frequently. I wouldn’t fight the software side of the battle too much. Pretty sure it’s a firmware issue.

which firmware are you running? i haven’t had actual crashes or connectivity issues since i switched from an older version of tomato. LEDE 17.01.2 hasn’t been bad in any regard other than the Prosody crashes (which are pretty rare now). i added a server start command in cron which will hopefully handle most of the annoyance until/if i figure out where it’s choking.

i much prefer the UI and some of the defaults of LEDE fork GoldenOrb, which has 3/4G USB modem support added and default USB storage support. unfortunately, i can’t get the modem to work at all so i’ve been experimenting with the more stripped down LEDE version.

It’s factory. It’s the router at a friend’s business so I can’t get hacky with it, even if I could. The rest of the stuff you typed might as well be mandarin…lol I used to be able to code in basic, fortran, and turbo c and was somewhat of a networking guru. I also used to be able to do differential equations in my head. Post stroke though, the math and programming skills are totally gone. I’m sure I could power through and relearn but the passion for it left too. These days, I research hardware and ocassionally throw out ideas for software in hopes that someone young and ambitious takes the ideas and runs with them.

android scuttlebutt

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That looks awesome! Combine it with hamnet or something similar and we might have an answer to the comm problem. They haven’t figured out anti-spam/abuse systems other than reporting and censorship yet though, so it’s likely that infiltration and the tragedy of the commons will compromise it eventually.

I contacted the creator through twitter because the crypto$ bonded account ideas at prototribal could really help. Twitter went down right after I sent the message…

Looks like manyverse is just another honeypot. :frowning:

Edit: Maybe I jumped the gun making that call.

I’ve moved away from WiFi and ham, mostly because of relatively high power demands of remote stations. At this time, I think LoRa radio makes more sense.