The Excitement of Broadband Hamnet/AREDN
Day in and day out I just can't stop thinking about the potential awesomeness of long range mesh networking and the endless list of services we can all explore and provide to each other as ham radio operators once a few key nodes are in place. For those who don't know what I'm talking about I'll clarify a little. Broadband Hamnet (now known as AREDN) is Ham Radio firmware based on OpenWRT that we can flash onto certain models of household routers and Ubiquiti WIFI dishes. This firmware auto connects and auto meshes with other nodes within range so once configured all of the connecting and routing of traffic through the mesh happens automatically. By traffic I mean Data, Similar in every way to the data that is passed through your home WIFI router to the various devices on your local area network. Any node in the Hamnet mesh can communicate with any other node in the mesh in sort of a large group atmosphere. In short, this is High Speed, Long Range WIFI Mesh (Group) Networking over 2.4 GHZ ham radio.
In the near future, A few permanent nodes in the Ukiah, Willits, & Redwood Valley areas will provide the backbone for the mesh in those areas and will connect hams in those communities. Any ham radio operators in those area can purchase a Ubiquiti Nanobridge M2 for between $50-$100 and be networking with other local hams with relative ease.
The AirLive website by Ubiquiti is a great tool for determining viability of potential future locations for nodes. The screenshot below depicts a potential link between a node on Laughlin Ridge and a Ham operator at the south end of Ukiah. The website uses Topographical data to determine it's results, and it's looking like once the node on Laughlin is up, most of the Ukiah area will be able to mesh with the node and all operators connected to it using a small dish like the Nanobridge M2 at a great speed!
There is soo much potential for a network like this. From Voice over IP phone and video conference calling to File sharing and live webcam streaming, this is the new generation of ham radio communications in the Mendocino county area and I'm proud to be a part of it's initial deployment.
Deploying a project of this magnitude takes a group effort. So far we've got a good group of dedicated ham radio operators pushing this project forward but we're always looking for other hams in the area who are interested in participating in the local mesh network. Join us on the Mendo HamNet Forums if you're interested! http://HamNet.TK
Have a great day!