Community Networking Toolkit

This is a toolkit/resource guide for anyone interested in starting up their own community network.

Here is a spreadsheet containing a bunch of tools and equipment that you should bring to network deployments. This was created by Esther Jang who has a lot of practical experience deploying sites. This spreadsheet is color-coded into different categories based on how important they are to have!

Ethernet Crimping

Ethernet crimping is an important skill for network site installations. The length of an ethernet cable connection is only truly known once you’re on site so it is useful to be able to quickly cut ethernet cable to the desired length and crimp it.

Internet Society (ISOC) Materials

All-aspects Community Networking Guides

  • AlterMundi (Spanish Language)
  • NYC Mesh - How to start a community network
  • NYC Mesh Docs
  • Telecommunications Reclaimed - Linked from NYC Mesh guide
  • Start your own ISP
    • This site is dedicated to helping you start your own Internet Service Provider. Specifically this guide is about building a Wireless ISP (WISP).
  • Commotion Construction Kit
    • The Commotion Construction Kit is a set of documentation tools that the Open Technology Institute has used in workshops around the world and at home. It is a “do it ourselves” guide to building community wireless networks.
  • Neighborhood Network Construction Kit
    • The Neighborhood Network Construction Kit is a set of documentation tools that the Open Technology Institute has used in workshops around the world and at home. It is a “do it ourselves” guide to building community wireless networks. Many of these activities were first released as part of the Commotion project.
  • Community Technology Field Guide
    • A collective resource for digital stewardship, digital justice and community infrastructure. These resources emphasize self-governance, participatory learning, collaborative design and sustainability.
  • Building Broadband Commons - Tools for Planners and Communities
  • Next Century City - Becoming Broadband Ready, a Toolkit for Communities
  • Wireless Networking in the Developing World - Online Book
    • Wireless Networking in the Developing World is a free book about designing, implementing, and maintaining low-cost wireless networks.
  • Community Networks in Comics
    • It is not easy to explain the concepts behind community networks, both the technical characteristics of radio frequency networks and the social and human aspects of community technologies.
    • Teaching a workshop for popular groups using colonizing terms and methodologies can increase the existing barrier between people and a technology that was not created for their interests.
    • With this in mind, images and analogies are powerful tools to make it easier to explain a technical term or an idea. We reject the premise that to do so would in any way underestimate people’s ability to understand technical matters.
  • Building Consentful Tech Zine
    • In 2017, Una Lee, Dann Toliver, and their design firm And Also Too published the Building Consentful Tech Zine as a provocation on how to think about and design for consentfulness.
    • This framing really resonated with our group, so we expanded it into a project where we prototype what this looks like in practice (and learned some interaction design methodologies on the way)!
  • Report on Digital Skill Sets for Diverse Users
    • The City of Seattle, in partnership with Technology and Social Change Group (TASCHA), developed a set of Digital Equity Indicators that helps measure Seattle’s progress in meeting the initiative’s goals.
      • What digital skills do existing frameworks and curricula cover?
      • What digital skills should the City and partners recommend to digital skill instructors to teach and promote?
      • Do these resources have corresponding assessments to help assess individuals’ digital skill abilities?
  • Worksheet for Digital Skills for Diverse Users
    • A list of 74 skills identified by TASCHA (see above resource) to include in digital equity curriculums
  • Report on current state of Detroit Community Network
    • In this case study, we focus on Detroit and the predominantly Black and lower-income neighborhood of the North End as an example of innovative, community-scale projects that are locally generated.
  • New Community Networks by Douglas Schuler
    • Online book about building and socially sustaining community networks, based on Doug Schuler’s experiences with the Seattle Community Network project in the 90’s (1996)