Geekiest Techno News

Blackouts Don’t discriminate!
How to communicate during network downtime.


Remember the 1980’s and the BRICK Size mobile phones (remember those? Yeah you do :P).  Rapidly mobile phones have become a necessity of our daily routine.  We can’t eat, move, sleep, entertain or even start our day without one.  This still doesn’t mean that the repressive regimes and the so called “democratic” nations can’t force mobile networks to have down time for a FEW DAYS.  For such a necessity to have suffered a blackout for a few days, creates an enormous set back to the fast paced living standards that are now globally set.  Here are a few suggestions which can solve and/or ease (depending on the budget) the scare cause by being disconnected with the world. Please note that some do require battery power.  [If you are journalist who bravely happen to be in Pakistan, Iran, Iraq, Egypt or Syria currently you can thank me for gathering this information by joining Zer0byte & sending me walnut cookies]

Ninja Tel – Private Base stations.

Ok so this maybe expensive but if we all pool money together this can become a reality.  Ninja hacker group has created a private GSM network at Defcon named Ninja Tel & customized HTC One V phones with creative and silly apps.  Ninja Tel is the biggest open base transceiver station (BTS) network thus far.

Image source [http://blog.mylookout.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/07/Ninja-tel-phone-and-van.jpeg]

OpenBTS networks are developed to allow software base switching technology to be house in compact space.  Ninja Tel is being housed in a van which comes with GSM base station, 12ft antenna, networking and Web app servers, official looking logo, hard hat wearing workers and other cool stuff.   Though the total cost of the base station is still unknown (that means it’s A LOT), Ninjas claim,

“We are a constructive group. We have a name and we did it not by being bad. Not breaking anything or taking anything down. We’re creating our own network. That’s Ninja style.”

Satellite Phone

Another revolutionary way of communication is the satellite phone.  Thuraya’s satellite phones are an ideal solution for a clear satellite network accompanied with voice and data solutions no matter where you are.

Image Source [http://www.highspeedsat.com/images/satellite-phone/thuraya/thuraya-satellite-phones.jpg]

One of its awesome products, Thuraya XT-DUAL is 50% GSM & 50% Satellite.  Whether you are at sea, land or up in the air, the reliable range and secure solutions let you operate as you would from home base.


A 2-way radio trans-receiver created in the 2nd world war by Motorola, Donald Hings and Radio engineer Alfred Gross.  It’s one of the cheaper & BEST ways for communication during a blackout, while camping in the woods or mountains or in a submarine deep cruising on the Australian ocean floor.

Image source [http://www.dofreefashion.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/07/do-_free_fashion_mobile14.jpg]

Normally walkie-talkie radios cover about 30 miles range.  Motorola still holds up its own with great two way radios.

Morse code

Surprisingly isn’t it that in today’s advanced technological age, in countries such as Pakistan even if you have the latest iphone, we may need the good old` morse code.  MC is a method of transmitting text information as a series of on-off tones, lights, or clicks that can be directly understood by a skilled listener or observer without special equipment.  Aside from “SOS” [Save our soul] here are another equivalent important code “BMF” [Bring Me Food].

Try practising  Morse code

Image source [http://content.artofmanliness.com/uploads/2008/10/morse-code.jpg]

Wifi mesh network with same ssids 

A wireless mesh network, sometimes called WMN, is a typical wireless network but using a mesh topology instead. These networks are often seen as special ad-hoc networks since there’s no central node that will break connectivity (in contrast with common wireless networks that you have at home/office, where there’s a central Access Point).


image source [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Self-form-self-heal.gif]

The mesh clients are often laptops, mobile phones and other wireless devices.

want to learn how to setup a wireless mesh network ? just follow this link http://wiki.freebsd.org/WifiMesh


Silent Lens (SL) Software

Silent Lens software makes it possible to share photos with other devices also running SL during a black out.  User would install SL app on the android device, dial their secret numeric passphrase to open the app and begin capturing images. Meta data is added and then the evidence data encrypted.  After being connect with another device also running SL, evidence can be transferred bi-directionally.  Main features of SL are robust, multi-modal ad-hoc mesh network (Bluetooth, WiFi, direct cabled connection).  SL is resilient against poisoning thanks to a robust ‘immune system’ that identifies trusted and untrusted sources of evidence.  It’s considerable flexibility in how devices can deliver evidence payloads to the mothership.  And it provides useful evidence for international criminal courts by offering verifiably-authentic documentation without compromising the safety of citizens.


RC Helicopter


Now if none of the above options seem like your cup of tea, I still got one more option for surviving during the black out. RC helicopters used to spray Dengue killing medicine, can also be away of communication.  Just make sure you have plenty of battery juice.


Image source [http://hobby-estore.info/images/esky-helicopter/EK-002793-09t.JPG]

Pigeons, Falcons, Hawks, Actually any bird that can be trained.

Homing pigeons are a specific variety of pigeons which can be domesticated and trained to be excellent messengers.  They tend to have the natural ability to return to their own nest and their own mate. Falcons and Hawks can also be trained but they can also seriously hurt you, so make life simple and stick with the pigeons.

Image source [http://wdfw.wa.gov/living/species/graphics/pigeon1.jpg]


Letters aren’t just for your significant other, though SHE would appreciate a message on a perfumed paper instead of a 3 word sms (just saying 😛 ).  When there is no budget, no dinero, no mula (English slang for money) writing a letter is one of the FREE option. Really, FREE? If writing utensils and paper are not available, a twig can be your pencil, mud your ink and the ground beneath your feet or walls of solitaire around you, your paper.

Image source [http://www.rogerwendell.com/images/letters/letters.gif]


I can bet anyone that the first thought that comes to mind during a black out is a prayer to end it quickly.  Prayer with a group has more value than praying alone in many beliefs.  I’m not promoting or suggestion for anyone to enhance their belief system, that’s a personal choice.  But Masjid, Church, Temple carry great ways to communicate during a black out, and…. get FREE grub! One thing that they all have in common is their way to call for prayer. Each house of religion is accompanied by a tower or a powerful Mega phone system.  If asked nicely the head Imam, Priest or monk may let you have your minute of glory.

Even in our fast paced, advanced technological world, Blackouts aren’t just a thing of the past.  For most 2nd world and almost all 3rd world countries harnessing and saving electricity is a huge struggle.  Remember whether you have an iphone 5 (Yes ITS Out!) or are an Android freak, blackout doesn’t discriminate. Use these pointers to ease and prolong your survival.


Categories: Awareness, TOP NEWS