Poor Man’s ATAK: Mini Router
While Android Team Awareness Kit is free software, there seems to be a large expense to use the program for your team. Running a local TAK server requires maintenance, set-up and monitoring. A cloud-based server, like Sit X from Par Government, has an initial cost and maintenance cost. There are tradeoffs to having a server verses not having one. One solution is to have a mini router as the conduit for information and situational awareness.
The mini router will look like connection to Wifi. Your team will all attach to the mini router signal and as long as they are within line of sight to the signal. Now all the team will have the coveted Green Dot about the self-marker box. An alternative to the mini router is enabling a Hot Spot on one of the teams phone. Just like the router, the team will attach to the hot spot and have full internal connectivity. Using a local signal, not connected to the internet or a server only allows internal SA, there will be no reach back. Now the max advertised distance for a mini router is about 300 feet outdoors. A solution to growing this internal network is to turn additional mini routers into relay routers. Most mini-routers will allow the user to go into the settings and make up to 7 additional routers relays. Now, the team can grow their distance to 2100 ft. Using anymore than 8 routers will nullify the bandwidth. The source router loses bandwidth as the signal jumps from relay to relay. If the relay’s were in a straight line an 1/8th of the signal will be lost, environmentally, from router to router. To the point, a mini router, like the Good Life AR300, will cost about $30 dollars and a battery pack is about $20. This is a cost effective means to keeping connectivity through ATAK on a budget and still get the mission accomplished.