Join Your Own Private LoRa Mesh Network

We are fortunate to live in an age surrounded by means of easy communication, and like never before we can have friends on the other side of the world as well as just down the road. But as many readers will know, this ease of communication comes at a price of sharing public and commercial infrastructure. To communicate with privacy and entirely off-grid remains an elusive prize, but it’s one pursued by Scott Powell with his LoRa QWERTY Messenger. This is a simple pager device that forms a LoRa mesh network with its peers, and passes encrypted messages to those in the same group.

At its heart is a LoRa ESP32 module with a small OLED display and a Blackberry QWERTY keyboard, and an SD card slot. The device’s identity is contained on an SD card, which gives ease of reconfiguration. It’s doubly useful, because it is also a complement to his already existing Ripple LoRa communication project, that uses a smartphone as the front end for a similar board.

We feel this type of secure distributed communication is an exciting application for LoRa, whether it be for kids playing at being spies or for more serious purposes. It’s certainly not the first such project we’ve featured.

19 thoughts on “Join Your Own Private LoRa Mesh Network

  1. I have this idea of dog collar with lora and gps module. Once dog is lost (loose communication with owners smartphone for longer time) whenver pass by other dog it’s sending it’s ID and position to other dog collar and than to second dog owner who can than send that data to “lost dogs server”. I know that this would be a challenge for technical reasons and privacy reasons but still can’t get it out of my head.

    1. Cheat mode is to get a 30-50W iron and about 2″ of 18 gauge copper, coil it tight round tip and leave about quarter inch mini tip sticking out. Not a really durable tool like that, but useful for sorting out the last few stubborn bits, the one contact that keeps going dry, or the two that keep blobbing together etc.

  2. I was actually thinking of building a messenger based on LoRa. But here in the EU the duty cycle is too low at 1%, so the maximum packet size is extremely limited (I forget what it is for The Things Network but I think it was 12 bytes or something). :( So there really isn’t much point.

    The 915Mhz band in the US is not so restricted but I believe to maximise compatibility most LoRa networks enforce the lowest common denominator.

    1. Well, just like with TCP, you can use multiple packet fragments to form a message stream, as slow as that would be. But yeah, duty cycle is a bit low since this really isn’t want LoRa was intended to do. Still, pretty damn cool idea.

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