Mishmesh is a lightweight offline mesh-enabled communication platform designed to facilitate communication in regions with little to no infrastructure. Originally designed for use by displaced peoples, for example Jordanian Refugee camps, Mishmesh can take many forms. It is intended to have it's shell and features redesigned each time it is deployed. This allows for cultural specificity in both form and function, encouraging user adoption.

Displaced Peoples

According to the Global System for Mobile Communications Association (GSMA), over two-thirds of Refugees in the researched areas are active smartphone users, and access to a smartphone is almost universal. Access to the internet, however, is more dubious and difficult, as in some locations only one in three people have been able to successfully reach services that could improve their quality of life. Reliable access to communication and services are integral to a communities ability to advocate for, and improve their situation. Having a scalable local mesh network that allows users to communicate has an incredible amount of use cases.

A major caveat to this project is that because of ethical concerns, no refugees were involved with the design or user testing for this device. The next step for this project is to plan a pilot program for iteration in real world use. The goal will always be to design directly with the end user, instead of for them.



The system will need to potentially be carried 12+ hours a day. Every ounce counts. While, the initial prototype is designed to be reproduceable by anyone, a dedicated board could allow for trimming of excess weight.


A caravan can range from the hundreds to the thousands. Kutupalong became the largest refugee camp in the world in 2017 with 800,000 people arriving. The purpose of this system is to allow for a high degree of flexibility in implementation. Allowing specific focus on each unique circumstance, as no crisis is the same.


According to the GSMA, affordability, both digital and reading literacy, and charging are the largest barriers to effective mobile usage. As a result, the system needs to focus on allowing multiple forms of communication, like speech and text,  and utilize iconography that does not rely on language. A WIFI-enabled phone is all that is needed to access the system.


If any individual access or routing point goes down, the network is capable of continuing to function without any external action. This can allow for a more reliable spread of access over a greater area.

Secure Communication

End-to-End encryption and a lack of message logs ensures safety and anonymity for at-risk populations.

A cluster of Mishmesh devices connected to one another, sharing information and connectivity with the end user and eachother


Mishmesh runs on all open source software. Utilizing OpenWRT, a Linux based router platform, it's easy to spin up a variety of website hosting services. The initial prototype used Node.js and Express, but a full LAMP stack with a CMS would also work. As a result, NGO employees could easily keep web content and services up to date.

Additionally, chat features between different users and the managers of the devices helps facilitate open communication in a way that is unique to the end user. For example, many refugees are illiterate, so a custom interface was designed to utilize voice chatting features. Below is an example of the UI.

The tested range of the WIFI clocked in at a 300ft radius around the device indoors. In addition to the standard mesh-capable antenna, for just $30 in components the range can be extended through LoRaWAN technologies to up to 5 miles outdoors. This can be added to a users phone as well, massively expanding the range of access to the network.

Finally, and perhaps most excitedly, because the platform is basically Linux, it can run machine learning algorithms. This opens the possibility of having algorithms run in isolated systems. While the larger models will likely be too powerful for the computing of the system, smaller algorithms can be utilized for remote operations.