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I was intrigued for the idea of a darknet, as seen all over certain reddit subreddits, and was developed an idea in my head that I need some help to figure out.

Is it possible to set up an ad-hoc network with wireless signal extenders so that every computer on that ad-hoc network can share files with one another without use of the Internet?

Is it possible to do such a thing using solar-powered weather proof routers turned into signal extenders? I want to try to make small extenders and start the network from my dorm room using a desktop, then try to extend across my quad to a dorm building on the other side using routers I can leave hidden outside that will power themselves.


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the only problem might be that Wifi do take a lot of power, not sure if a small solar panel will provide sufficient power for continuous Wifi usage. – Lie Ryan Jan 17 '12 at 3:11
I was thinking more along the lines of what Paul was saying below with a solar cell charging batteries which power the device, so they shouldn't go below a certain level ever until night -- though the concern about power is noted, thank you. – James Roseman Jan 17 '12 at 3:19
for the battery to charge at sunlight, the solar panel had to produce more power than the device is using and for long term usage the battery had to be able to hold for some cloudy days; I don't know if a solar panel with the size of a portable device would be able to generate sufficient power for continuous Wifi usage (you'd have to do some calculation), you may need a large solar panel so it is no longer possible to conceal. – Lie Ryan Jan 17 '12 at 4:23
That's a really good point I hadn't fully considered. – James Roseman Jan 17 '12 at 4:27
up vote 3 down vote accepted

If two machines are on the same IP network, they can communicate with each other without any routing, and without needing the internet.

So you just need a series of Wifi APs that form a single IP network. You can do this by making your dorm AP the primary, then use a Repeater Bridge for each subsequent AP.

If you use a dd-wrt compatible wireless AP, then what you are after is fairly straightforward.

The solar requirement just one of power - you need a solar + battery solution that can provide enough juice to keep them running.

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How do I set an ad-hoc network for the repeater? Won't it just repeat the best signal? – James Roseman Jan 17 '12 at 3:23
An ad-hoc network is created without wireless APs, whereas this approach uses wifi APs. It seems if you are going to purchase extendors, you may as well use APs (same cost pretty much) and more flexibility, and no need for ad-hoc – Paul Jan 17 '12 at 3:51
I'm sorry if this is elementary networking -- but don't APs rely on an existing internet connection, rather than simply connection computers together? If there was no internet available where you were, for instance, would your setup connect computers together? – James Roseman Jan 17 '12 at 4:07
@JamesRoseman Yes definitly. Wireless APs aren't related to internet connectivity, it is just that lots of domestic internet routers happen to have wifi built in. You can get APs without any internet capability at all, or get APs that have a WAN port, and just ignore it. – Paul Jan 17 '12 at 4:39
So just to be clear, if I were to get a bunch of small APs, I could set up this network? What would it look like to a computer, a wi-fi network? – James Roseman Jan 17 '12 at 5:17

You should check this out it's the perfect starting point for you.

I've also given this a lot of thought. I'd want to reprogram Nintendo DS machines with custom software, make them weather proof and toss them on the roof of the local starbucks or other free hotspots with a 16GB SD card. It would have all the software needed to crack, sniff, host, etc.

I'd also make it a bit tamperproof.

Just an idea... :)

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in rural areas you could conceal it as a birdhouse and put it in a tree. poor birdies ;) – Baarn Jan 17 '12 at 2:44
Haha! I like the way you think! – skub Jan 17 '12 at 2:49

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