In light of the current global situation with COVID-19, I thought I’d put a couple thoughts down in this post on how you can standup a temporary network for short term emergency type settings. I won’t be able to touch on every option out there, but maybe some of these can help spark your tech skills. The folks over at ITDRC are obviously better at this than I, so I encourage you to check out them at https://itdrc.org/.
If you are a fan of the WlanPi, Jiri Brejcha has put together this blog post on how you can setup a WlanPi to use your cell phone as an ISP uplink. I’ve set this up myself and it works quite well. Just remember this is a temporary setup, so if you need a large network uplinked I wouldn’t suggest this method. You can find the blog post and steps here: http://www.jiribrejcha.net/2020/02/iphone-usb-tethering-on-wlan-pi/
There are many options for using cellular connectivity directly from various network components such as the Aruba 7005 controllers and Aruba APs (in RAP mode), Fortinet & Meraki (MX) firewalls. If you have a larger (or more demanding) requirement for more than just a couple devices, one of these options would be preferred. In many of these options, LTE USB modems can also provide redundancy if you are looking for disaster recovery planning in the future.
For much more intensive requirements, I would suggest looking to companies such as Cradlepoint and their line of LTE capable gateway boxes such as the IBR series that are purpose built for cellular connectivity.
If cellular isn’t an option (and latency isn’t a huge concern), there are always satellite uplinks from companies like HughesNet and ViaSat in some parts of the world. Many disaster groups frequently use this option in times of crisis to provide temporary internet uplinks to enable communications from affected regions.
Again, this isn’t a comprehensive list of the options available, but in case you were looking for a short term, rather simple option, this should help get you going. Be sure to engage on twitter to help suggest options and remember that we are all part of a much bigger global community.
Stay safe everyone!