"Off-Internet" Messaging : Ukraine
This is a technical issue, not a political post.
I have become stuck in UK and unable to return to family in Ukraine.
Flight pre-planned for Day2 of invasion obviously cancelled.
Internet in Kharkiv breaking down now.
I am doing research on 'offline' comms, maybe some kind of relay or mesh. But time is short and frankly brain is not as clear as it usually is.
So any advice appreciated.
Scenario is I stay here in UK for now, but also interested in scenario of going to Poland and waiting it out there. So maybe no internet there other than mobile phone.
As I said, tech query not political, but please forgive me a quick 'Slava Ukraini'.
I hope that you soon have the possibility to safely reunite with your family.
I don't have any practical experiences in the direction you are looking for, but I believe the search term "off the grid" should provide you some further insights. Basically everything part of tech, that would also come in handy in case of natural disasters (hopefully minus broadcasting your location to bad actors).
Some stuff I was able to find with a quick google search:
- https://techcrunch.com/2015/07/29/firechats-off-grid-messenger-gets-private-messaging/#:~:text=FireChat%2C Disrupt alum Open Garden,was no Internet connection available.
@fbartels that's brilliant.
Yes off grid good search term
And thanks for the links
Brain is not working
Trying to keep family calm during bombing
ei8fdb last edited by ei8fdb
Hi @timconsidine I hope you can get back to your family soon.
The 3 I'd suggest are Matrix, DeltaChat and Briar.
I'm aware that support and infrastructure been created for people inside Ukraine (and those who need to communicate with people in Ukraine), in the case of external Internet access being disconnected.
These servers are for Matrix, and Deltachat.
DeltaChat is essentially instant messaging over email which then communicate via specific generic email servers. A user sets up a server by scanning a QR-code, then adds the people they want to chat with. It is localised to Ukranian and Russian.
The last is Briar messenger. It is a messenger app for Android, Linux and MacOS (the mobile device version is most "featureful" supporting 1-1, group messaging, the Mac OS and Linux clients support 1-1 messaging only).
There is no server infrastructure required, it is peer-to-peer. It uses different peer-to-peer transports like the Tor network, Bluetooth, and the same local network. If you'd like to try out Briar with me, let me know, I use it.
Another option to not forget, but often forgotten in the "Internet focused" world, is communications via licensed amateur radio operators. You'd obviously need to know a licensed operator where you are and in your family's city but much more robust in terms of dealing with censorship/breakdown in IP based communications. I'm assuming you're in the UK so RSGB.org is the UK amateur radio society. Unsure of the Ukraninan equivalent. Not something for immediate need, and I hope you won't need it in the future.
humptydumpty last edited by
Tim, I read that Elon Musk sent Starlink satellite dishes to Ukraine and they're now deployed and active. I'm not sure who has access and where exactly but it was mentioned that "freedom citizens" do have access to it. Maybe that could aid you in contacting your family. I hope your family is safe and you are reunited with them. There's no need to apologize. This isn't a "political" issue, this is plain barbarism. Slava Ukraini!!!!
necrevistonnezr last edited by
@ei8fdb upvote for deltachat as works on top of and is compatible with already existing infrastructure - email
@ei8fdb thank you so much !
Analysis is very helpful and time-saving
I will check all of this out.
Interesting you mention ham radio.
I just passed my Foundation License exam and waiting to get my call-sign.
I'm in touch with the Kharkiv amateur radio club, so they may be able to help relay some messages.
I can't use my licence out there unless I am a Full Licence holder. That will take time, but not needed for now. Ukraine licenses only available for citizens. I have permanent residency but am not a citizen.
Am looking into SDR and repeaters.
Problem currently is that Ukraine martial law has restricted ham radio to avoid it being used against Ukraine forces. But maybe some usage is possible.
Thank you again for your clear summary and direction steer.
@humptydumpty yes, indeed.
They have been delivered to Kyiv, but I have no knowledge of any in Kharkiv. I will ask around.
If I was in UKR military, I would seize them for defensive forces !
Thank you for your supportive message
@necrevistonnezr helpful recommendation, thank you.
Yes, interesting opportunity.
jdaviescoates last edited by
It doesn't look like it's active anymore, but this looked like an interesting relevant project
Also old but interesting:
Building an Open Source Cellular Network at Burning Man:
These days there are also things like Secure Scuttlebutt social networking/ messaging stuff that is resilient to being offline and @rmdes has recently been packaging Go-SSB Room see
@jdaviescoates brilliant, thank you
robi last edited by
A rather different approach would be to familiarize yourself with and learn telepathy.
Get a book on Telepathy and spend some time in nature while you wait a few weeks for things to settle soon.
This process will keep you and your family calm and focused.
May you and your family be safe.
@timconsidine It must be terrible to be separated from your family at such a time.
Here is a live map of Starlink satellites:
If you know where your family are likely to be, you could start posting a letter each day. Eventually you might be able to establish a back and forth stream of communication like that. If you include a sketch or painting in each letter, even if you aren't good at art, it helps make them more valuable.
timconsidine last edited by timconsidine
Thanks to all who responded with advice here, and also by private message.
You may wish to know that eventually after difficult journey, my wife + step-son + sister-in-law managed to get to Poland. I am here in Warsaw with them, waiting for UK visa, and hopefully they will to get to a stable home, temporary or longer-term soon (whatever that means, few days, few weeks). Parents-in-law are stuck there, currently in occupied territory so evacuation difficult, and we just have to pray for their safety.
My intention is that we return to Ukraine when it is possible to do so.
Thanks again for all the advice.
rmdes last edited by
@rmdes thank you will check out cwtch.