Phone connected to the DIY LTE network playing a YouTube video, with antennas in the background

Building Your Own 4G LTE Base Station

We’ve seen quite a few DIY 2G networks over the years, but the 4G field has been relatively barren. Turns out, there’s an open source suite called srsRAN that lets you use an SDR for setting up an LTE network, and recently, we’ve found a blog post from [MaFrance351] (Google Translate) that teaches you everything you could need to know if you ever wanted to launch a LTE network for your personal research purposes.

For a start, you want a reasonably powerful computer, a transmit-capable full-duplex software defined radio (SDR), suitable antennas, some programmable SIM cards, and a few other bits and pieces like SIM card programmers and LTE-capable smartphones for testing purposes. Get your hardware ready and strap in, as [MaFrance351] guides you through setting up your own base station, with extreme amounts of detail outlining anything you could get caught up on.

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A GSM Base Station With Software Defined Radio

gsmIf you’re wondering how to get a better signal on your cellphone, or just want to set up your own private cell network, this one is for you. It’s a GSM base station made with a BeagleBone Black and a not too expensive software defined radio board.

The key component of this build is obviously the software defined radio. [Julian] is using a USRP B200 radio for this project. It’s not cheap, but it is a very nice piece of hardware capable of doing just about anything with GNU Radio. This board is controlled by a BeagleBone Black, a pretty cheap solution that puts the total cost of the hardware somewhere around $750.

The software side of the build is mostly handled by OpenBTS, the open source project for the software part of a cell station. This controls the transceiver, makes calls and SMS, and all the backend stuff every other cell station does. OpenBTS also includes support for Asterisk, the software of choice for PBX and VoIP setups. Running this allows you to make calls and send texts with your SDR-equipped, Internet-enabled BeagleBone Black anywhere on the planet.