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Is there a way to create/enable a local network between a Raspberry pi and mobile devices?

I am thinking of a project which will use the Raspberry pi to host data which can be accessed using multiple mobile devices like phones and pads. However, the project will be based in some territories where the access to the internet is limited.

My idea is to host data such a photos, videos, some text on the Raspi 4 so the people from these territories could access and also upload their files to the raspi so other people from their community could see it.

I intended to install the MAZI ZONE project (http://www.mazizone.eu/toolkit_guidelines/#what_you_need) but I've read that there's no code for the Raspberry pi 4 because of and underfunding problem.

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  • You do this the same way you would create a hotspot (which does the same things as a router) except you either don't have an upstream interface, or else you do not allow routing from the hotspot interface to the internet facing interface. In any case, the basic tool here is hostapd and you will find many questions here tagged 'hotspot' (as well as many on the same topic that didn't get tagged). – goldilocks Sep 13 '20 at 14:27
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I would look to use something like Pirate Box (Wiki note here) despite it closing down at the end of this year as the core base has been stable and runs well on the Pi.

Other packages are Freedom Box or Library Box

You may also like to offer Wikipedia using Kiwix (also shares web sites) and details on portable Wikipedia is here

Obviously be careful over copyright and local legislation as some areas in the world object to freedom of information.

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  • I've read about the Pirate Box and it's a very interesting project, the only problem is that it uses a tp-link router with 3g/4g. In my case, I want to set up the Raspi in a place where's no connectivity at all. There's no 3g/4g antenna and you cannot access to the internet by any chance. I'm really amateur in all of this but according to my investigation it is somehow possible to access to files on a Raspi by connecting to it via wifi or bluetooth. Am I wrong? Or do I definitely need some kind of router, ethernet o device that provides internet so that the Raspi could work as a hotspot – Ari Ramirez Sep 14 '20 at 0:15
  • I think of this project from a cultural and sociological perspective. The objective is to ensure that the people of these territories can access certain cultural assets and share the media that they generate with their community through an offline platform. – Ari Ramirez Sep 14 '20 at 0:32
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It is very simple to create a stand alone access point with a Raspberry Pi without internet connection. So all devices supporting WiFi can connect to it and share its data. You can use the RasPi to store data and/or run useful server like a web server or a NAS. You are free to install what you want to have available on the local network. For a simple setup a stand alone access point you can look at Setting up a Raspberry Pi as an access point - the easy way. Use section ♦ Setting up a stand alone access point.

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  • @AriRamirez if the answer solved your problem can you please mark it as correct when you are able to. – Darth Vader Sep 13 '20 at 14:46
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The conventional solution is to set the Pi as an Access Point, which gives clients access to services on the Pi.
There are many ways of doing this. The Foundation tutorial Setting up a Raspberry Pi as a routed wireless access point has step by step instructions.
If you just want an Access Point without internet access stop before Set up the network router

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Contrary to other questions I would say this requires special care and is by no means "very simple".

Set up the pi as Access Point to let other devices (smartphones, mostly) access it is something I already consider nontrivial but let's just assume you'll execute what suggested in the linked answers. What you get is a WiFi bubble working "in the same room".

There is no such thing as a "territory". The radio in the Pi is awesome for what the cost and footprint it takes but that's it. Don't expect to go across more than a few rooms. In Line of Sight, I guess you could get to the nearby building.

Talking about "territories with no internet" such as say some villages with 40 houses I think we're already hitting a wall.

You will need at the very least external antennas which the PI does not support. Once you buy an AP with an external antenna you can buy a decent AP to do the heavy lifting for you. Note the (few) examples on the site you mention show external antennas or possibly repurposed APs.

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    i'm thinking in setting up this "wifi bubble working" in a strategic point of the community, for example: the community center where people meet up, maybe a school, etc. I'm talking about very poor territories with no connectivity at all. Here in Argentina we call them "villas". – Ari Ramirez Sep 14 '20 at 0:29
  • I think of this project from a cultural and sociological perspective. The objective is to ensure that the people of these territories can access certain cultural assets and share the media that they generate with their community through an offline platform. – Ari Ramirez Sep 14 '20 at 0:31

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