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back to article Emergency mobile networks take off on model planes

A project to turn mobile phones into mesh networks that can communicate if a catastrophe knocks out cellular infrastructure has been recognised with a $US10,000 prize from US Aid and Humanity United. The prize was awarded under the Tech Challenge for Atrocity Prevention program, with the Australian-led Serval Project team …

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If you want to do that _now_

you can already use one of the B.A.T.M.A.N. based Freifunk firmwares. Those are easy to get onto your commercial off the shelf router (just download and use the "firmware upgrade" feature) and work without any configuration.

Those will open 2 networks, one adhoc network connecting the nodes, the other one is a normal managed network you can connect to with your cellphone, laptop or whatever. What you get is a large switched network, so it's transparent for most uses. You don't need any special software on your end devices and it just works.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: If you want to do that _now_

From the indiegogo site:

While we have a much broader plan, the purpose of this campaign is specifically to advance the status of the Mesh Extenders.

The combination of a Serval network with mesh extenders should provide much greater range, and this solution doesn't assume the presence of a pre-configured router with a UPS.

Being able to download the software from another phone is a nice touch, for those who have not already installed the software from the Playstore.

It is a worthwhile project that could save lives, and I have made a modest contribution.

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Re: If you want to do that _now_

Well but it assumes the existence of remote controlled planes... plus the people to fly them. Sure you need less of them, but they will be hugely more expensive and scarse.

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A remotely controlled model plane .......

... that provides an encrypted voice and data service to anyone who has the appropriate (and inexpensive) ground equiment? I'd be surprised if the security services allowed this to happen. Expect strict laws and severe penalties for any unauthorised person in possession of such equipment.

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Re: A remotely controlled model plane .......

my thoughts exactly: this enables terrorist paedo pornographers to spread their vileness in secret and will have to be stopped.

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Anonymous Coward

Jointly and Servally :P

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Black Helicopters

Far too dangerous... Encrypted mesh networks...

What's to stop the terror paedo hoodies from using it for nefarious purpoises?

The security services wouldn't be able to listen in unimpeded.

Mrs. May wouldn't sleep for worrying.

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Re: Far too dangerous... Encrypted mesh networks...

Never mind that shit, what about all that Vodafone lost revenue???!!!????!

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where to get an RFD900?

RF Designs and the RFD900 are found here:

http://rfdesign.com.au/index.php/rfd900

( just in case you wanted to know)

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Model aircraft?

Didn't the Japanese just look at a system using tethered balloons?

Surely that would make more sense than model aircraft.

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Re: Model aircraft?

I don't think they were talking about sticking these on RC aircraft and having people fly them around (a literal mobile network) but using long range radio parts as used in RC planes to achieve long distance line-of-site radio comms.

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Black Helicopters

Re: Model aircraft?

I guess an RC plane would be more useful in the immediate aftermath of a disaster, you could just fly it over the affected area.

Balloons would be better once the situation is somewhat more under control and someone can enter the area to tether the balloon.

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Bronze badge

Re: Model aircraft?

"I don't think they were talking about sticking these on RC aircraft and having people fly them around"

I think you;'re right. On a second reading and trying to pretend I didn't read headline, it all became clear.

On the other hand, line of site comms in a disaster zone could only be improved by sticking the payloads underneath tethered balloons :-)

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Open platform

Sounds like a project for a really open phone platform, luckily one is available now and more due soon.

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