Long Range WiFi Broadcasts Open-Source Video Conferencing

WiFi is an ubiquitous feature of the modern landscape, but due to power restrictions on most hardware alongside the high-frequency signal it’s typically fairly limited in range. This of course leads to frustration where a WiFi signal can be seen, but the connection is unreliable or slow. While most would reach for a range extender or other hardware bridge, [tak786] was able to roll out a better solution for his workplace by using a high-gain antenna and a single-board computer which gets him an amazing kilometer-wide WiFi network.

The build uses a 10 dBi antenna from TP-Link that’s rated for outdoor use and a single-board computer which acts as a sort of router. The antenna is placed at the top of a building which certainly helps with the extreme range as well. This setup doesn’t actually broadcast an open Internet connection, though. [tak786]’s employer needed a teleconferencing solution for their building, and he also created a fully open-source video conferencing solution called trango that can run on any LAN and doesn’t require an Internet connection. The WiFi setup in this build is effectively just a bonus to make the conferencing system more effective.

[tak786] is planning on releasing a whitepaper about this build shortly, but for now you can access the source code for the video conferencing system at his GitHub page. And, before anyone jumps to conclusions, apparently this is well within FCC rules as well. Some of the comments in the linked Reddit post suggest that with an amateur radio license this system could be pushed much further, too. If you need more range than a kilometer, though, it’s not too much more difficult to do once you have all the right hardware.

15 thoughts on “Long Range WiFi Broadcasts Open-Source Video Conferencing

  1. Got an amateur license ? Exceptions based on location (country) lot’s more power and 2.4GHZ and 5GHZ access.

    https://www.arednmesh.org/

    A good receiver system is still required. All talk and deaf is not a good practice.
    Channel 1 and a wrt54g variant, you are all set to go. You can even push high power out the 54g.

  2. I wonder how difficult it would be to hack 4G LTE modems to connect in P2P mode on the 900MHz ISM band. Ubiquiti makes a wireless link product that’s essentially that, but not quite low cost at something like $150 per node.

  3. Ok, I have to admit I don’t get it. Not in the sense of #NotAHack, but I don’t get the technical novelty here. From the article and the linked reddit thread it seems that this is a WiFi AP on a roof connected to a LAN? With some, admittedly self-written, WebRTC server? WiFi range is mostly limited by walls & other obstacles in everyday applications afaik, so a “long range”(~500m) free-space network did not strike me as something extraordinary.
    Clearly there is something I am missing? :/

    1. Its a WiFi hotspot. Its not connected to a LAN. It is creating a WLAN where anybody in range can connect to the Wifi and make calls/share files. Looks very cool. Primarily for villages and places where there is no internet.

      1. I still don’t get how this would be so different from “someone put up a WiFi AP on the roof and setup a Jitsi instance”. That alone wouldn’t be that newsworthy right? There seems to be something novel others can recognize in this project I am failing to understand. :(

  4. 1km? I did 20km with directional antennas and line of sight 20 years ago with those oricono 30mW cards. The world record is 300km between a base station and a satellite, without any amplification, just good antennas.

  5. This is not just about Wifi Range. These guys have built a portable server (pi, sbc) on which they attached a router, radio and antenna. This has enabled them to create a sort of Wifi hotspot which allows anyone in a 1KM range to make audio, video calls and share files with others who are in the same range. Given, they might need some cheap wifi extenders at the clients end. As the reddit post says, this is mainly for off-grid and remote areas. I see potential here.

  6. Would like to see more information on this. This is either a brilliant piece of engineering or a false setup. Their http://www.web.trango.io seems to be legit and allows you to make e2e, serverless video conference calls. And I have looked at the open source code which works good on LAN. Given that, would also like to see a whitepaper which shows how they made their product work off grid.
    Will definitely be following this project. Good luck to the team

  7. My fellow hams and I were able to squeeze a 24 mile point to point 2.4ghz channel 1 WiFi connection between two Linksys WRT54g routers on hilltops. One site had a parabolic antenna. The other in a pickup truck just an external mag mount omni directional WiFi antenna.Both routers were running ham radio MESH firmware. Good clear weather without obstructions helps alot at these frequencies.

  8. For a really good look at what can be done, see a book from the ARRL called High Speed Multimedia for Radio Amateurs. The internet links in the text are garbage and one has to hunt to chase down what they’re talking about, but it IS findable. Amazon has a Kindle version

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.