Thursday, October 13, 2011

Deploying a Phone Tower, Serval Style (The Day In Pictures)

So yesterday we went to beautiful Normanville with the goal of testing the maximum range between phones running our mesh telephony software.

We didn't get particularly far on that front, but we did discover some very interesting things about the unique requirements of mesh routing between mobile telephones, which will likely be the subject of a upcoming blog post.

But what we did do was deploy a mobile phone tower of a different kind.  Romana has wanted to make her wheel chair into a mobile phone tower for some time, and yesterday was her chance, as the pictures show.

Romana in her chair with Lyn beginning to attach the 7 metre long squid pole we use as the mast.

Further attaching of the mast.

Beginning to raise the mast.  The blob on the top is a Huawei IDEOS U8150 mobile phone running our software and acting as the "repeater".

 The raising of the mast:

Victory! Romana's wheel chair is now a mobile phone tower.
 But it wasn't all hard work.  The weather was glorious, and the views most excellent, and others were out and about enjoying the day ...

Or hoping for a chip.

Meanwhile, we moved to the jetty so that we could place our mobile phone tower (including blanket for the cool sea breeze).

The pole really does stand up quite high. It gets the phone about 6m above the deck of the jetty:

... which is a little higher than even the lamp post

Then we started walking along the beach towards Carrickallinga, slowly deploying a 6-hop mesh, and making multiple simultaneous voice calls amongst the nodes.

Corey and Romana did a great job standing on the jetty and talking to us via our impromptu phone network, while locals and visitors enjoyed the day:

This was also the first time that my son Caleb came along on a Serval expedition.  Little did he know that his pram was soon to become a phone tower as well.

Here I am with Lyn deploying a node some distance from the jetty:

Then it was Jeremy's turn:

Then the pram:

And all the while we were able to make calls among the various nodes.

We did encounter some serious mesh routing issues, which as I mentioned I will talk about soon, but for now I just wanted to let you all enjoy the pictures.

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