First: I’m so excited by this project – thanks so much to everyone involved!
Idea: My thought here (apologies if it’s already suggested elsewhere on the forum!) is about enhancing the range of a Meshtastic network by deploying some low-power, phone-less ‘relay’ nodes – which would consist simply of a particularly low-power micro (an ESP32, or perhaps e.g. a SAMD21) and a LoRa radio – no screen, and no smartphone. The function of the repeater node would simply be to extend the range of the Meshtastic LoRa mesh network.
Background: my experience of LoRa radio is that it is most reliable with line-of-sight, and can be quite unreliable when line-of-sight isn’t possible. Typically, LoRa networks are deployed using ‘gateways’ that are usually positioned at some elevated location nearby (a building, or a mountainside) that is likely to have unobstructed line-of-sight to any given LoRa node. But when deploying in random locations (side of a mountain while skiing or hiking), this isn’t always possible – you might have two users on opposite sides of a ridge.
So, the idea would be for users in a given area to hike up to some ‘local topological maximum’ (a tree on a nearby ridge, say) and to deploy an autonomous version of Meshtastic-device that simply relays any mesh messages it receives back out to the mesh network.
If this sounds useful – and if it isn’t already a feature of the current codebase! – would it be easy enough for a novice (like me) to ‘pare down’ the current Meshtastic-cevice project by dropping the BLE functionality, so that it simply runs ‘LoRa mesh’ code? Maybe this would be done (more or less) by modifying the src/main.cpp file? I can imagine specifying a particular default channel in firmware, perhaps? And then as a next step I imagine porting the code to e.g. a SAMD21, which might have lower-power sleep modes available to it than the ESP32 (I think?) …
Anyway, cheers everyone!