Portable Network Kit (PNK)
This device allows the user to create a Wi-Fi area to connect devices.
The Portable Network Kit (PNK), created by New America, is a Wi-Fi mesh network that can be configured by the user. The product’s website provides step by step instructions on how to connect the different parts and install the software for operation. One of the manufacturer’s main purposes is training people to create a PNK.
It can be used in two different ways: to provide internet to other devices or to allow them to connect between each other as an “island” connection. The intended application is for use in emergency situations where a regular connection would not be available.
The price depends on the type of components that the user selects to make the device, ranging from:
– Basic PNK: 622 USD (minimum)
– Emergency First Response PNK: 2,576 USD (maximum)
Each component can have different providers, which can be consulted here.
Anyone who requires an internet connection
The construction process is explained in the guide and must be completed by the user. There are different required software and hardware.
The required files can be downloaded from the manufacturer:
- First, this program enables other programs to open. Decompressing software image program: Image USB
- PNK-Raspberry-Pi-image-2017-12-21.img (English version)
- PNK-Raspberry-Pi-image-2017-12-21.img (Spanish version)
IP for each component varies based on the manufacturer. The instructions provided by PNK are open source.
The parts that the device requires are delivered by different companies, which can be consulted here.
Type of telecommunication service provided (Mobile Internet, Fixed Internet, Satellite service, other)
Service needed for the product to work (Mobile data, SMS, voice, satellite, other)
Is a fixed connection needed for the product to work?
(Smartphone, feature phone, computer, tablet, other (specify), none)
Max number of connected devices at the same time.
(Uninterrupted prower supply (UPS), ocassional power supply [minimum time required], other)
Average jitter and packet loss to download/upload information
Network connectivity, education, behavior change, other
- Anyone with some computer skills and training should be able to use it.
- No coding involved
- People who have been trained should be able to train others.
- There might be some tinkering with configuring the disk image, and some trial and error with naming and connecting the routers (covered on the available material and trainings)
- Important: creating shared social protocols about how to use it and what kinds of data it should collect.
- New America’s FAQ section
- Contact us section
- Online community group
For problems with individual components, the manufacturers of each component should be contacted for support.
Dependent on the source of the different parts
Dependent on individual part
Create a Wi-Fi connection area in order to provide internet or just an “island” mode connection between different devices.
Two qualitative reports on use contexts found that the PNK was usable in disaster-relief scenarios, among other applications:
- Dominica Island (Caribbean Sea): Experience
- Sandy Five Initiative: Experience
Munguia Tapia, E., Marmasse, N., Intille, S.S. and Larson, K., 2004, MITes: Wireless Portable Sensors for Studying Behavior, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, One Cambridge Center.
The product was tested in a variety of usage scenarios, including providing internet during long power outages.
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