For our work, we will need semi-autonomous devices, creating “pockets of internet”, providing services and content, even if the uplink connection is unavailable or inadequate. It will be useful both due to the patchy (and sometimes costly) coverage in various areas and possible high bandwidth need. As we want to provide educational content via mobile devices, the need for bandwidth for, say, 400 people, will certainly excess any probable uplink capacity available at the camp.
So we need separate wireless networks, providing tools and content online, even if it is to be a very local online.
I started prototyping from the mobile node, codename “Daedalus Prime”. It will be used in our car-based installation, both for the team support and for field network deployment, wherever we go.
Basic functions will be the same:
- secure access to the internet any way available
- secure access to internal resources, mainly via ownCloud and other local services
That is why I used two separate hardware modules — it will be easier to upgrade them, as we (hopefully) get better equipment). For starters, we got:
- TP-Link MR 3020 router[0. Full description, see https://wiki.openwrt.org/toh/tp-link/tl-mr3020]: “very hackable”, lightweight and relatively cheap (and I just had it laying around, so why not). Currently it is just a stock hardware, but I plan to add external antenna, memory (micro SD) and USB for external devices (hi-gain wifi adapter)[5. Hackers needed! Badly!]. Currently, it uses internal wifi for up-linking, with mobile USB stick as backup. It runs OpenWRT software, which is modular and highly configurable.
- Raspberry Pi model B [1. Full description, see https://www.raspberrypi.org/products/model-b/], is running Debian linux, as a pre-packaged server plus some applications. Initially I deployed FreedomBox[2. See http://freedomboxfoundation.org/], which is one of several “self-hosting” solutions available under FLOSS licences. Very good for testing, it is a bit “too heavy” for my Raspberry. I am going to test some other packages — and surely could use some better hardware, if there is anybody keen and able to donate such[3. Comprehensive list here: https://wiki.debian.org/FreedomBox/Hardware].