An Australian research group has found a way to apply WiFi mesh networking onto the Android operating system, allowing phones to act as access points over radio waves to transmit voice calls as data.

The system, named Serval, can relay VoIP calls between phones using their WiFi networking. Individual phones can also act as relay points, and theoretically should be able to bridge together a phone in a remote area with no service to one with access to the cellular network, where the call can finally be relayed to its intended recipient.

The Android phones with Serval also seemed to be a decent substitute for walkie-talkies, as two phones can connect and exchange voice data without network access. The researchers are planning to make the software free and open-source, though no release date has been set.

4 Responses to “Researchers enable mesh WiFi networking for Android smartphones”

  1. Taylor

    The Open Garden Wifi Tether application is available in the Android Marketplace.
    One can also download the application APK (Android Application file), and install it directly.

    To run this current version Open Garden, you need to be a root user on your Android phone.
    The application APK file is available for download via

    For a video tutorial on how to easily root a phone (and back it up first!) see the website The Unlockr (a great resource on phones).

    For the Bat-Fone, I’ll look into it and let you know what research we come up with.

    • Fran

      Hi all,
      we’re interested in contact with the programmer of this app. A very important enterpreneur in Europe wants to launch a worldwide community to expand the use of Android as wifi hotspot in the world. We’d like to explain how your project can be consider as the starting point of this ambitious project and we are very interested too in knowing the problems you have had for develop this app (unsupported Android phones, many Android OS versions, root access, etc.).

      please, let me know if you would consider the idea to share your knowledge about how to use Android as wifi hotspot with us.


  2. me

    So that will be the solution to the evil NAT verizon wireless is now inflicting on 3G customers? More and more 3G devices are receiving dynamic private ip addresses instead of USABLE dynamic public ip addresses. This evil new verizon wireless 3G policy destroys VoIP as the verizon NAT is NOT USER CONFIGURABLE

    I “get to” rely on a public wifi mesh project for data services on my allegedly data-enable smart phone??

    Let the next class action lawsuit commence!

    A root application to manually set a public static ip address is worth the risk of collisions: some chance of voip vs zero chance of voip

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