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lainchan archive - /tech/ - 36041

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alright lainons, I want to build myself something like the Enigmabox (https://en.enigmabox.net/) but for less than $300 with the possibility of adding antennas so i can mesh multiple together so me and my 2 neighbors can communicate without paying comcast. Can you help me make this happen?


meant to type less than $200 woops


If you're just going to use it to communicate with your neighbors, isn't it functionally the same as a pirate box?


No, because I want it to do true mesh networking so neighor A can communicate with neighbor C through me and so if we get neighbor C's neighbor interested he can peer with neighbor C and communicate with neighbor A


I'm pretty sure that would be doable with pirateboxes, unless I'm misunderstanding your wishes


a piratebox would need two or more directional antennas to connect from house to house and a omni directional antenna so the devices in house can connect to it and something like cjdns to be configured so the packets are authenticated and encrypted if i understand correctly. It would also probably need quite more power to handle multiple smartphones\computers in a house at the same time but im not sure and would appreciate clarification


In germay, there is a organisation called "freifunk" [1]. I think they do exactly what you want to do. Afaik they use cheap TP-Link routers, with a special tweked openwrt.

[1] https://freifunk.net//en/


Yeah, I've read about them, they are really great. https://guifi.net/en in spain is also really nice. Thing is I want to use custom parts compatible with a basic linux distro like https://pfsense.org/ instead of relying on the routers and their locked down firmware.

basically I want to built a cheap computer running linux that I can attach antennas to so it works a nice router that can do mesh networking


I recognise the case they're using for it. If you want to build a complete copy of it, you can find the board they use here https://pcengines.ch/alix.htm

You should be able to get a case there too.


great resource, thanks. I don't think those have any wifi though. What would you recommend I use with one of those to connect different houses wirelessly?


There should be a model there with at least one wireless interface. We have a few in the lab I work in and someone was using them as wireless routers. A few have USB interfaces so you could always use a USB Wifi adapter. By the way, those boards run off a compact flash card (which can be kinds pricey), but they'll run Debian and a few other Linux distros just fine :)



Looking at it again now, It's possible the ones we have have an extra module added. You might just need to get the wireless module and add it on. Or just use the USB interfaces


Also, for the connection you should get some nice big omnidirectional antennas and set up an adhoc mesh between you are your neighbours. You can use the OLSR routing protocol to enable routing on the devices. Maybe use a different interface on the board as an access point for a wireless LAN so you can connect your devices to it without having to add them to the ad-hoc mesh. Downside to this though is that a lot of ad-hoc implementations don't support WPA or WPA-2. You might have to make due with (dare I say it?) WEP.


That's probably the APU2, not the Alix that you linked.

You can use any Wireless NIC that you want in the miniPCI Express slots. You can use USB devices too.


would this project be able to be done with fully libre hardware?


what are the recommended antennas to be used for a project like this?


Would a protocol like BGP not be sufficient for that? You create a wireless mesh network, use BGP as the routing protocol to peer with your neighbors, and secure traffic between endpoints using IPsec or OpenVPN.

There are low cost routers from Mikrotik and Ubiquiti that pretty much purpose built for this type of thing (i.e. poor man's WISP).

The only challenge is that someone (or several people) in your collective will need to maintain the gateway to your upstream Internet provider if that was a service you intended to deliver.

With this part you may run into contractual issues with your ISP, as they'll want you to purchase a wholesale service, rather than a residential service for this type of thing.

I'd trust inter-operable, standardised, network protocols, over a box delivered and maintained by a single vendor.


BGP? and I think something like https://ssbc.github.io/scuttlebot/ or https://github.com/cjdelisle/cjdns wojuld be better than openvpn


Border Gateway Protocol, specifically an iBGP full mesh, if the network isn't too big. Alternatively, OSPF (Open Shortest Path First) could also be used.

So basically the protocol the routers use to exchange routes/paths to different network segments.



are those open source though? Also, dont seem to see anything about end to end encryption on that page


2.4GHz Yagi would be perfect, but even a cantenna will do the job just fine.


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like so? i don't know if those are the parameters for what you are working with


The BGP & OSPF protocols are IETF standards, like TCP/IP. There are both closed and open source implementations of those standards.

For example the *nix routing software Quagga is open source, and implements both BGP and OSPF, as well as other routing protocols. Another open source routing software is Bird.

Going further, VyOS is an open source network operating system based on Linux, and uses Quagga as its routing engine. DD-WRT, a Linux-based network operating system for embedded devices, uses both Quagga and Bird depending on the build.

The routing protocols I mentioned are are just for basic Layer 3 (IP) connectivity. You'd want to use a higher order application to encrypt your traffic over the network. I suggested IPsec or OpenVPN as these are the most commonly used VPN applications in network operating systems.

This is all assuming that you want to build your own wireless mesh network, and not just encrypt your communications over existing ISP networks.