A Raspi to the Rescue during Meetings with Crappy Internet Connectivity

Raspi-at-meetingQuite often I'm in multi-day meetings with lots of participants. In recent years more and more hotels have bought Wi-Fi equipment that can handle 80-100 participants with twice the number of Wi-Fi devices in a single room. Unfortunately, there's still ample opportunity to be trapped in meetings for several days where the Wi-Fi fails once the room starts filling up. For such cases I've developed a solution that can fix the issues for everyone but unfortunately it's not always possible to put it into action.

In such cases I'm now resorting to plan B, which is a Raspberry Pi that acts as a Wi-Fi access point for my devices that tunnels my traffic into the Internet via smartphone tethering, i.e. a second Wi-Fi link. In addition, the Raspberry acts as a VPN tunnel aggregator so all my data is transported over an encrypted tunnel to my home and only from there to the 'unprotected' Internet. If you are interested in the details and the scripts to configure a Raspberry Pi of your own for a similar purpose have a look at this blog post from a couple of months ago.

While this helps me it unfortunately doesn't help the other meeting participants as data over cellular is still too expensive to give 100 people access. But with the introduction of affordable global roaming data rates in 2014 I now have at least a solution for myself. This requires, of course, cellular reception in the meeting room which is sometimes also a challenge…