Workshop on Low Cost Community Networks with FreedomBox


FWD from fsmk discuss mailing list


		   Sunil Mohan Adapa

		    <2017-03-01 Wed>

Table of Contents

1 About
2 Details
3 Registration
4 Facilities
5 Contents
… 5.1 Understanding
… 5.2 Planning
… 5.3 Wi-Fi network
… 5.4 Long range point-to-point Wi-Fi links
… 5.5 FreedomBox
… 5.6 Post installation
6 Contacts

1 About

Swecha and the FreedomBox project invite you to learn how to build
community Wi-Fi networks with FreedomBox. Community networks spanning
entire villages and campuses providing free Internet access and other
digital services such as free VOIP calls and radio services are
possible for a low cost of about INR 1,00,000 per location. The
workshop is meant for volunteers, hacktivists, enthusiasts and
entrepreneurs who are interested in understanding all the low level
details to replicate the success of Gangadevipally. This is a
training session to make the participants feel confident to lead an
effort to setup a community network.

Participants will walk away with the knowledge on technical and
organization aspects of setting up Wi-Fi networks. Documentation on
all of the discussed items will be available. Participants will also
get to engage with people involved or looking to get involved in
building networks.

2 Details

  • Location: Hyderabad, India

  • Date: 18th and 19th of March, 2017

  • Time: 10:00 to 17:00

  • End of registration: 16th March, 2017

3 Registration

You must register for the workshop by sending an email. The workshop
is expected to be small with mostly local participants and some from
neighboring states. Number of attendees we can accomodate is limited
and we will accept registrations on a first come, first serve basis.
Send us a registration email with the following details:

  • Subject should be “Registration for Workshop”.
  • Body should contain
    • Names of the participants
    • Reason for interest
    • Organization name if any

4 Facilities

There is no registration fee for the workshop. You are expected to
make your arrangements for travel, food and accommodation. Some
minimal arrangements may be available, please contact us for more

5 Contents

The following are the topics of discussion during the workshop.

5.1 Understanding

  - Decentralization of networks
  - Why Wi-Fi?
  - Model of ownership

5.2 Planning

  - Selecting a village/community to setup Wi-Fi
  - Approaching a community with proposal
  - Identifying suitability for target audience
  - Accumulating funds
  - Financial planning
  - Building a team
  - Training the team
  - Surveying for feasibility
  - Understanding users
  - Timetable for installation
  - Services to be run in the village
  - Planning for Internet connection
  - Planning a support/maintenance team

5.3 Wi-Fi network
  • Mapping installation area with Open Street Maps
  • Designing a Wi-Fi network for large areas
  • Creating a bill of materials
  • Purchasing hardware
  • Purchasing tools for installation
  • Comparing Wi-Fi router hardware
  • Choosing the right antenna
  • Configuring OpenWrt Wi-Fi routers
  • Testing and mapping Wi-Fi signals
  • Power-over-Ethernet for Wi-Fi routers
  • Power boxes for Wi-Fi towers
  • Designing towers for Wi-Fi networks
  • Optimal deployment of Wi-Fi routers
  • Erecting Wi-Fi towers
  • Providing power to Wi-Fi towers
  • Outdoor deployment of Ethernet and power cables
  • 100 Mbps Ethernet Backhaul
  • Fibre Optic Backhaul
  • Understanding Wi-Fi roaming

5.4 Long range point-to-point Wi-Fi links

  - Choosing hardware
  - Purchasing hardware
  - Configuring and testing the hardware
  - Choosing frequency/band
  - Link budget calculation
  - Installation of Wi-Fi hardware
  - Antenna alignment
  - Bandwidth measurement
  - Connecting to backhaul

5.5 FreedomBox

  - Basic set up of FreedomBox
  - Setting up DHCP for entire network
  - Setting up Internet connection
  - Configuring SIP server (repro)
  - Configuring Ampache
  - Configuring NextCloud
  - Automatic security updates
  - Setting up bandwidth control
  - Setting up remote access into FreedomBox
  - Setting up monitoring tool

5.6 Post installation

  - Registrations for users
  - Installing apps and configuring mobile phones for all services
  - Launch event
  - Monitoring
  - Building a village support team
  - Planning for computer availability in the village

6 Contacts

  Siddhartha Malempati <siddhartha at swecha dot net> +91-9490098016
  Sunil Mohan Adapa <sunil at medhas dot org> +91-9848880699

Community wireless network FreedomBox Hackathon
Minutes - Monthly Meeting, March 2017

It will be good if the hardware team actively collects potential participants’ names and register. FSMK can also purchase some kits if needed


How to register? To whom one should send the Email?


From our side @AnupPravin is coordinating. Get in touch with him.


For Registrations or
ping in telegram @AnupPravin


So how was the event?
Could someone please share what was learnt to those who couldn’t attend​? :smile:


@padawan It was amazing; they covered everything from software to hardware, to deployment and practical/social issues. I am writing a blog post based on it. I will share it here once it’s done.


@suriyadeepan Here is the report of the workshop from FSMK Side. Will be helpful for your blog

Here is a brief write-up (in progress) of the FreedomBox workshop organized by Swecha a couple of days ago


Thank you @AnupPravin. I’m sure it’ll be helpful in filling in the gaps in my notes.


Greetings all,
All the attendees from FSMK did learn quite a bit from the workshop by Swecha. I guess there is quite an interest to do a similar instalment in Karnataka too.

I will be going to my parents place in Sargur (near Kabini reservoir) next week. While there I will scout to see if there are any suitable villages for such an instalation. So in this weekend I plan to prepare a pitch of this idea to the people there.

Anyone interested in preparing this or scouting for other locattions for setting up this wireless infrastructure, please post here. Cheers.


Hi all,
I visited Sargur recently and was pitching the idea, just as an exercise to see go through the process. I was asked to make a list of all the benefits this project will have to the villagers of a village if we set this up. I’ve made an initial list of what I can think of here - Please add whatever comes to your mind. This will be a good thing to have for us in any case if we want to get this project up and runnning.