Othernet reception with other hardware/software


Currently you can only receive Othernet with the Dreamcatcher. The actual target audience is not able to receive Othernet. Most people in developing countries cannot afford a Dreamcatcher. In addition to the sales price, there are also shipping and customs fees. For example, I paid a 25 euro customs fee.

Is it intended to enable reception with other hardware and software?

For example raspbery pi + antenna or an app for a smart TV.

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The ultimate goal of this project is to get this hardware to the point that it can be produced cheaply and in turn given away to schools etc via NGO’s. We are all participating in the development of the project. You should not presume that this is a fully functioning service or product offering yet. Your $$$ go to help finance the development of this project.


@Mark_Phillips is spot on. The goal here is to eventually make something that can be sold for about $30 and still allow distributors and resellers to profit from making the product available in every nook and cranny of the world. Nokia did exactly this with their $20 candy bar phones of yesteryear. Of course, we need to provide a useful service for that $30 (or whatever the final version ends up costing). Working on the service is something that can happen pretty quickly after we sort out all of the hardware and manufacturing headaches.

@Robert At $100 all-in, this is not a product for the people we really want to serve. Most of our individual customers are hams and electronics hobbyists. It’s not possible to receive an RF signal–especially a microwave (12 GHz) signal with generic consumer products. Over the air tv uses completely different technology. Even the very cheap and common rtl-sdr, which is based on digital TV components, is unable to receive the signal without additional, not-cheap or common hardware. We know this because we are one of the few shops in the world that are still designing new products with these chips.

A Pi and antenna + app could not accomplish anything useful. Not everything can be solved in software.


We need to stabilize the buy in cost in disadvantaged areas using Othernet Hardware/software, and then provide useful information to the user. Today, Othernet does provides a fine source of information.

The hardware needs to be backward compatible with older versions of software, and automatically updateable. Our target audience must be non-government organizations (NGO) and small rural communities without access to current events.

All of us"geeks", hams, and hackers must look to the other beneficiaries of Othernet. Ken


Many thanks for the interesting contributions. But we should not lose sight of these technical possibilities of the target groups of this project. Even if it is possible to sell a Dreamcatcher for 30,- dollars worldwide, it must be useful for the existing IT structure. However, this is not the case at present. Some years ago I was in Ghana. in the internet cafes only old PCs were to be seen. I tested Skylark with older hardware, e.g. old Android tablets. They already had problems with the display of the login mask.

Coupled with projects like Rachel and OLPC this project has significant potential to bring educational materials to far flung remote corners of the planet. It does not have to gell with existing IT infrastructure at all. Indeed, the target audience is significantly IT impaired. This is not meant to augment the local Internet Cafe.

Newer product is available to pretty much everyone everywhere assuming they can pay for it. Your experience in the Cafe in Ghana was not so much about unavailable equipment but rather greed. Why would the owner upgrade the terminal hardware when for the most part he can pull local $$$ out of the economy with crappy old machines?

Sorry, But have you ever been to Ghana or any other poor African country?
Speaking of greed here is out of place!

Most people simply have no money for IT. We the first world supplies them with computers, but only as scrap metal. The first world thus saves on disposal costs. Fortunately, there are clever people there who assemble functioning computers from part of the junk. But most of it is burned by children to melt out rare metals. The health consequences for the children are catastrophic! Any old telephone or tablet that could be used for Othernet and is not melted down is good for the health of the children.

Did you look at the boss’s desk? Or the POS machine they used to take your money? Better than the machines they had in the booths.

I have not been to Ghana but I was in Nigeria for a while and also in Kenya too. Respectable PC hardware was easy to find if you could pay for it.

no @Syed this is the wrong thinking… you are making consumer product. that does exactly this.

You’re hitting the nail on the head with that. Most people in Ghana and probably also in Nigeria and Kenya do not have the money for respectable PC hardware!

With this project one wants to help exactly these poor people. Their problems should be dealt with. Like every second day for 12 hours, the power goes out. In the north of Ghana there are places without electricity. Without solar panels, IT help is pointless there.

I think the current programming of the Skylark login mask is very unfavorable. For a login mask you don’t need JavaScript. The JavaScript libraries used are not supported by older browsers. Is there a reason to use this JavaScript overhead?

@ac8dg What I meant was the ability to repurpose generic hardware for satellite reception.