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Offline communications in 2018 – Agroecology lab

Offline communications in 2018

Disclaimer – this is just some notes to help organise my thoughts. It might be of interest to someone, but it’s not a ‘proper’ blog entry.

I’m particularly interested in a peer-to-peer mesh as a network for SSB messages: a decent(ralised) secure gossip platform


It works, with a sufficient density of phones broadcasting, or where at least some of the phones connect to the internet at least some of the time.



Serval has done some really interesting work on Android: but they are hindered by the lack of ad-hoc infrastructure mode.

Qual.net have some interesting ideas around Wifi-direct, but only proof of concept apps at this stage

Using additional hardware

This always seems more challenging, in a developed world context, why would I buy more hardware when I already have the internet? It might work in developing world contexts if the content is compelling.

Lantern.works have done some nice UI stuff, and their hardware model seems affordable with the £10 Pi Zero and a £25 commercial LoRa board.

Disaster radio has some stuff that works and is interested in £15 Lora ESP’s as a possible platform too.

Serval are also working on hardware for a disaster recovery scenario.

Bringing this ecosystem together:

The online/offline nature of Manyverse gives it the most content/utility currently. It’s the app people might install.

The networking side seems most considered by Qaul.net. Can Manyverse be convinced to repackage the Qual network layer (once fully working)? Rather than re-implementing the network side?

Lantern.works has a nice interface for on-boarding and a good hardware platform that can serve .apk’s. Can Lantern be convinced to serve manyverse.apk and run a pub server for SSB protocol? They could then utilize sneaker-net to share their pocketdb updates too.

Disaster radio has hardware that’s the lowest power and cost. – Can Lantern  be made relay disaster.radio messages and vice versa?


Pi Zero’s with Lantern OS Lora & Kiwix.org content go into PAYG homes.

Users with Android phones find them, get Manyver.se.apk. Kiwix.apk. Nitroshare.apk. Share that content peer to peer with other users.

The Pi Zero’s speak LoRa to each other with the lantern system, and optionally with any disaster.radio nodes in the vicinity.

Possible funders

Call for code https://callforcode.org/

There are also some commercial/for-profit efforts