Open Source Network in a Box

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  • Also referred to as NIBs
  • A Hardened Case with all that is needed for networking at a site (Outside of external antenae/dishes perhaps) (Also any cables used for connection to devices (ethernet etc) would also need to be added in post installation
  • Main use case is semi-permanent setups
  • May also contain a NAS and/or a VOIP server, and/or a Radio Node (s)
  • Needs external power either by utility power, a genset/generator, a solar electric system, a battery bank, or a HMCU Powerplant

Industry Standards

Existing Open Source Designs

Minimum Viable Product

  • Able to use Link Aggregation to merge 2 or more WAN sources depending on budjet and need etc
  • Also have optional internal WAN sources such as cellulat to ethernet/pcie, coaxial to ethernet/pcie, and fiber optic to coaxial/pcie
  • Satellite Communications would most likely require external units, but perhaps the signal decoding could be internal, and the antennae external
  • Also look into ports built into the case door for waterproof use (waterproof ports etc)
  • UPS or only external power?
  • Processing power?
  • Optional NAS Rack(s)
  • All rack mounted for modularity, ease of use, and conforming to industry standards ( may not work for Unit Load Devices need to look into this )
  • Small versions could perhaps be put in/made into a "hiking backpack" form and functions via either an internal frame bag, or an external frame and welds/ties

Basic Design


  • Some sort of hardened case such as a "pelican case" with built in rack mount rails
  • add a custom silicon/tpu etc cover for extra shock + scratch protection?
  • Expensive, but perhaps less so than a pelican brand (also has integrated power distribution if desired)

Power Distribution

Core Module

  • Motherboard (Workstation or Server?)
  • GPU/Graphics Card or Intiggrated Graphics?
  • RAM (How much is needed, also will depend heavily on budjet )
  • SSD Storage (To prevent storage bottlenecks, depending on use case and budjet, a large one may not be needed, a small NVME or PCIE card would do? ~250gb etc? )
  • PSU (Modular ITX)
  • Cooling (This may be hard if sealed? air or water? would some sort of plate epoxied to one cut out side (to keep it sort of waterproof etc) act as a good enough heat sinK, perhaps make a plastic cover for protection when not in use?)


  • At least gigabit ethernet
  • 10GB would be a nice to have (especially with NAS use and large file transfer such as videos and large cad files (ie assembly etc) )
  • Bonding/ Link Aggregation via a managable switch?

NAS Module

  • Off the shelf or semi-diy (motherboard and slots rather than hot swappable rack)
  • Optional but would allow for large group storage even when using small smartphones, tablets, and computers thus reducing individual storage needs
  • Mainly need only HDDs since speed is less of an issue, perhaps independant ram/ssd for buffer?

VOIP Module

  • Not 100% neccisary, but would do the conversion on the server end, so landlines could be used instead of VOIP phones
  • Any off the shelf options?

Radio Node

  • Probably best in a seperate device/case, but a radio Ham Radio HF Radio or UHF Radio or multiple that could be connected to the network allowing for use of other devices for input

WAP Module

  • Could be integrated with the core
  • Again may be best for seperating this from the case, but perhaps leave processing inside
  • Wifi cards or full on routers depending on need
  • What standard(s) short range fast, and long range/long range directional slow?

WAN Module

  • Could be integrated with the core
  • Multiple modems/hotspots
  • Could be DSl, Coaxial, Fiber, Cellular, Satellite, or any source really as long as it gets converted to ethernet, a pcie card, or something fancier (fiber/network grade plugs, bit unneccisary for this scale (not a supercomputer/large network center etc)
  • Also could handle the aggregation if it isn't in the switch section

Display/IO Module

  • Not 100% needed, especially if using another device for this, but slide out rack displays and keyboard + mice exist. also small no sliding displays exist
  • Would be quite easy to diy most likely (Display port/vga from core to a small screen, usb for mouse/keyboard/rollerball etc if in use)


See Also

Useful Links