Dogbone is a project created by Trevor Ellermann (AKA Backbone) to provide mobile internet on the Black Rock Desert. Because Trevor works for Burning Man on the WiFi team, it has been asked that we make it clear that Dogbone is a private project, not one supported by Burning Man. Internet Burning Man already provides internet access to theme camps with directional dishes that you aim at a tower. This is different because it uses omnidirectional antennas that require no aiming, so a vehicle can move anywhere on the playa and maintain its connection. If you are stationary you are much better off using an aimed dish.

The way we cover such a large area with low-gain omni antennas is, we squish all the radio power down into a small amount of bandwidth. The result of this is that we get much more limited speeds, shared across all the users; we expect a total of between 1.5 and 3 Mbps. Due to these bandwidth constraints, Dogbone is only to be used for low-bandwidth applications at this time.

How to Participate

If you are interested in participating with the Dogbone project you need to join the Google group at dogbone-brc Google Group (click here to join) . That is the appropriate place to discuss or ask any questions about Dogbone.

Once you have joined the Google group you need to fill out this form:

Once that's done, read below, and watch your email for more information.

Required Hardware

To be very clear, we will NOT be configuring anything other then the below listed hardware. It's the same as last year.
You need to purchase the following Radio and Antenna. Either the international or US versions work.

Ubiquiti Rocket M5 (RocketM5) -
Ubiquiti AirMax Dual Omni, 10dBi (AMO-5G10) -

You also need to have a way to mount and power the radio as well as whatever network cables you require. More information on mounting/power below.


The only requirements for mounting is that it should be mounted completely vertically and up as high as possible. Trevor does the following on his truck for a magnetic mount and it works great:

Use this magnetic CB mount.

Un-bolt the center part and throw it away. Then I get a 1" flange form Home Depot plumbing department.

Use a drill and 4 bolts to attach the flange to the mount. Then you can screw in a 2' pipe to the flange and use that as your mast.

Whoever decides to drive on the highway with the gear attached to their vehicle, pay attention to what speed it gets ripped off your vehicle. We're curious how much wind load these things can actually take. :)


You need to provide 12-24V POE to the radio. You can either do this with a power inverter and Ubiquiti POE such as this one or you can wire it directly to your car battery. Trevor wired it directly to his car battery through his cigarette lighter and it works great.


Trevor will be configuring radios exactly twice. The first time will be early, when the system is up and that will be announced on the list and radio on playa. The other will be the Friday before the event.


The only way to get support is through the email list. Once the event starts Trevor is not planning on doing anything with individual radios. If the whole system goes down, it'll get fixed at our convenience but don't plan on anyone touching your radio.


Thanks to all the people who have helped make this happen:
  • Matt Stephenson
  • Brent Chapman
  • Curtis Goodman
  • Matt Peterson
  • The playa Wifi team for getting us internet access
  • Tool, Crow and the Rangers for letting us use their tower