I wish to run a large array (50+) of hacked Android phones as a computing cluster. They will need to be networked so I plan to use their built-in WIFI radios to talk over a single WIFI network. (I have looked into having wired network for the phones but it turns out its not very easy or cost effective)

I have not tried any of this out and I would like to get some feedback from the EE community to see if this would even work.

If I have the phones all stacked on top of each other (or maybe 5 stacks with 10 phones each - each stack placed next to one another), and I try to connect to a single WIFI network, will the WIFI connections for each device work at all?

  • 3
    \$\begingroup\$ Take some cell phones, stack them And test. .. \$\endgroup\$ – Passerby Aug 18 '15 at 20:35
  • \$\begingroup\$ If it doesn't work, you could always use USB, which IIRC supports up to 255 devices per bus. \$\endgroup\$ – user253751 May 7 '16 at 10:49

Placing WiFi transmitters in close proximity will cause interference. However the WiFi protocol is designed to work in difficult conditions and devices continuously modify their behaviour to compensate for intereference.

In your case if your application can handle intermittent and limited throughput then it will probably work. However if you are expecting 300Mb+ per device then probably not.

Microwave intensity drops as a square of the distance so separating your phones by even a few inches will help.

Also (assuming the phones are fairly modern) alternating between 5 and 2.4GHz will help. Placing each phone in your stack on a different channel may help but since the other phones will effectively raise the background noise anyway it will probably not make much difference.(assuming you can have multiple APs).

If you do have multiple access points then ensure they are distributed around the perimeter and not piled into their own stack as that will just compound the issue.

Bottom line is you will need to test as this is not a common scenario.


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