Meshing, rugged, free/open wifi routers for refugee camps


Originally published at:


It’s funny how on one side we get weary about smart meters that emit worryingly high amounts of electro magnetic fields and on the other side, we get all excited about free WiFi. In this case, it is certainly an advancement for the refugees to be able to use the Internet for free, on the other side, it’s a lot of additional, possibly toxic electro smog in the air.


toxic electro smog… Ughhhhhh I think refugee’s are a lot more concerned with that might actually kill them or endanger their life than some made up concerns of hypochondriacs.


There can be more to it that that.

Refugee camps can have local servers providing news, social media (health and welfare as well as chitchat), information on a whole bunch of topics: sanitation, host countries and how to apply, perhaps online forms, job board, resources inside the camp when the outside Internet is limited, censored or monitored…


What makes you sure that these are “made up concerns of hypochondriacs”? There are significant studies about the dangers of electro magnetic fields. Some people are highly sensitive - get headaches from WiFi and DECT phones.

Yeah, yeah! I totally see that and I’m on the fence here.



However, scientifically controlled tests in which people were exposed to electromagnetic signals but were not told when the signals were turned on or off overwhelmingly showed that study participants were unable to determine when the signals were present, according to a 2009 review of 46 such studies published in the journal Bioelectromagnetics.


I’m pretty sure I could tell if a WiFi transmitter is on somewhere near me, but I probably would fail at a test where it is turned on and off intermittently, as the effects I sense do not dissipate immediately after the source is shut off.
Here’s a more convincing test method:


A single test on a serial news show should not be more convincing to you than a meta-analysis of 46 scientific studies.

An extensive literature search identified 15 new experiments. Including studies reported in our earlier review, 46 blind or double‐blind provocation studies in all, involving 1175 IEI‐EMF volunteers, have tested whether exposure to electromagnetic fields is responsible for triggering symptoms in IEI‐EMF.

The effects you sense are real to you, hopefully no one will debate that. But outside that, there is just no evidence to support IEI-EMF being a physical condition.


True, but you can also get a false result by repeatedly using a flawed test method. Obviously, the test method in the video shows a convincing result, assuming it’s not falsified, but is not the method used in the usual tests.

I must add that I’m one of the least probable persons to believe in weird mumbo-jumbo. I discovered my electromagnetic hypersensitivity after getting a DECT phone and went through several weeks of headaches while being totally unsuspecting about electromagnetic fields as the culprit. I’ve been an early adopter and extensive user of WiFi until the phone story made me inspect what else could give me headaches. WiFi is not as bad as DECT but clearly noticeable.

BTW.: there seems to be a strong correlation between led poisoning, which is clearly something that affected me, and EMF hypersensibility and I also remember a time when led poisoning was declared bogus.


There are a number of criticisms of Dr Magda Havas’ study.
This one points out that there seems to have been no precautions taken for shielding the heart measuring instruments from RF interference.

Looking at the video myself, that towel over the face is inadequate as a blindfold. I’m not suggesting that the subject is peeking down the side of his nose, but if that’s to be properly ruled out, there’s no point in using a sub-par blindfold.


Hmm, yeah. I totally agree the experiment was not carried out under optimal conditions. For a convincing result, the same experiment should be repeated under lab conditions.


Hackaday project page:

Since the software is open source, I wonder if a quick-and-dirty wifi mesh node could be created with a cheap board like a Raspberry Pi and wifi dongle? It wouldn’t be as capable and rugged as their unit, but cheap is good.


Hmmmm… It SAYS OpenSource Hardware, but other than a reference to OpenWRT, it doesn’t seem so. No links to design files. Just a lot of press.


This looks like the physical design:

The top of the project:

Forked from this project:


Chuck McGill sure thought it was:


Here’s the thing.

Someone has just told you that their personal experience beats science.

What you are doing now is arguing with a religious belief.

Believe people when they tell you who they are!!


The limitation of a project like this, is that it presumes a sane area outside the disaster where units like these can be stored and then shipped in to restore some communications.

This isn’t a solution where people inside a disaster area could keep a bog-cheap unit beside the emergency candles, an app on their phone or laptop, a modified router (if that’s still legal) and then when communications go down, they put it on the roof, powered by a car battery, some solar panels, and have a node that will try to mesh with other nodes. (And once the net is down, it’s too late to grab software from elsewhere to do it.)


I visited github prior to posting. Look at it. No code. No schematics. 3d print case files only. Nothing of any consequence.


This seems like a laudable, useful, and public-spirited project, however at first glance my eyes saw MESHING, RUGGED and for a brief moment my brain saw MESHUGANAH.

Then I read the comments… :face_with_head_bandage:


Would you care to compare an FM radio station (or AM, if you prefer) to the output of a 6 cm band WiFi (or cellular) source. Poynting vector, penetration of tissue, whatever. You call it, then compare.