Mid-long range wireless mesh data comms.

Discussion in 'Survival Communications' started by jdcole, Jan 16, 2013.

  1. jdcole

    jdcole Monkey

    Figured this would be relevant to your interests:


    From their website:
    "HSMM-MESH™ is a high speed, self discovering, self configuring, fault tolerant, wireless computer network that can run for days from a fully charged car battery, or indefinitely with the addition of a modest solar array or other supplemental power source. The focus is on emergency communications.
    In its current form it is built using the Linksys WRT54GL wireless router and operates on channels 1-6 of the 2.4GHz ISM band, which overlaps with the upper portion of the 13cm amateur radio band. Other platforms and bands may be supported as development resources permit.
    OLSR is used for auto linking of the mesh node radios.
    OpenWRT firmware tools are used for firmware development.
    HSMM-MESH™ is currently being designed, developed and deployed as an amateur radio broadband communications system and being used in and around Austin, and Plano Texas, as well as other sites.
    Glenn KD5MFW, David AD5OO, Bob WB5AOH and Rick NG5V are the gents spearheading the efforts, while yours truly, Jim K5KTF keeps the website up and running to provide information about the project. There is a distributed development community with significant activity in the Dallas/Plano area and interest growing elsewhere."

    Edit: fixed URL.
    9h0s7 likes this.
  2. melbo

    melbo Hunter Gatherer Administrator Founding Member

    Thank you. This looks interesting! Welcome to the forum
  3. DarkLight

    DarkLight Live Long and Prosper - On Hiatus

    I'm going to take a look at this over the weekend. One if the things I've wondered about was "Internet over radio" or "wireless LAN over radio" using the ham bands.
  4. jdcole

    jdcole Monkey

    Thanks! I noticed nobody had posted it yet, so I figured that I would. The problem I had noticed so far with amateur radio comms was that when it came to digital transmissions, rates were limited to somewhere in the 128k range, tops (that I've found). In a SHTF event, that may be acceptable for most comms, but if you are trying to set up a resilient neighborhood, you're going to need some form of broadband for VTC/VoIP/video surveillance.

    I wonder if you can get one of those crazy 1.6kw amplifiers and a large yagi array, just to see how far this can really go. Or a small reflector, like how some of the old motorola canopy's worked.
  5. jdcole

    jdcole Monkey

    And remember, this only uses channels 1-6 of the 2.4Ghz wifi bands since those are the ones that overlap with the 13cm amateur bands.

    • Mesh nodes operate on channel 1. Channels 1-6 of the 802.11B/G wireless band are completely within the 2.4ghz ham band
    • Mesh nodes on channels 1-6 use FCC part 97 rules instead of part 15. This allows big antennas, more power, other changes
  6. BTPost

    BTPost Stumpy Old Fart,Deadman Walking, Snow Monkey Moderator

    This is "Good Stuff" if your Prep'er group lives within a few miles of one-another, but basically useless, for the Survival Crowd that is spread out over a larger area. OpSec says that one must pass Secured Traffic, over such a Network. Digital doesn't necessarily mean Secure, or Encrypted Data. There was a White Paper published this last Fall, where the author, ( A Comms Lawyer) made the case that Digital Comms could be Secured/Encrypted when used Under Part97, when the Secured/Encrypted Process and Keys were LOGGED, in the Ham Stations LogBook, and available for Inspection by the FCC, AND the Transmissions were also Archived for later Inspection, as well. @jdcole, where in Part 97 do you find a limit on Bandwidth or Bit-rates, for the 2.4 Ghz HamBand. Absolutely Hams can use BIG Antennas and Higher Power for such links. I use 24db Panel Antennas on some of my links, and 1 Watt Power Amps on a link that goes 5 miles down the beach.
  7. DarkLight

    DarkLight Live Long and Prosper - On Hiatus

    Ok, so, I was just thinking (for folks like you @BTPost, out there in the hinterlands and I was just getting ready to try to pull you into this thread), has any thought been given to putting a mesh node on one or more of the AMSATs? Put in a dish (or even a yagi) and pump 1500 watts into it and you should be able to relay the signal through the satellite, in theory. Of course you would use the minimum power necessary to get the job done, but if you can see the satellite you can be a part of the mesh.
  8. DarkLight

    DarkLight Live Long and Prosper - On Hiatus

    @BTPost - one word...pads. :) Not that I'm suggesting that we break any laws with regards to Part 97 or anything.
  9. jdcole

    jdcole Monkey

    BT - http://hsmm-mesh.org/images/stories/DataEncryptionIsLegal.pdf - goes into some of what you said, and examines other legal matters. However, in a SHTF scenario I doubt the FCC is going to be majorly concerned about your mesh net, considering they'll have bigger problems to deal with.

    This is more about how the technology is there.

    Even more importantly - even if you didn't encrypt the signal itself, you could easily encrypt on layer 3/layer 4. It would be another layer of obfuscation. Get yourself a hardware firewall/router (some of the smaller Fortigate models come to mind), or use something like a cisco ASA behind the WRT and you'll be able to all sorts of cool stuff. Mind you, this does require more knowledge of network engineering/network security than your average prepper group has. Plenty of hams who are preppers, not nearly enough nerds.
  10. BTPost

    BTPost Stumpy Old Fart,Deadman Walking, Snow Monkey Moderator

  11. DarkLight

    DarkLight Live Long and Prosper - On Hiatus

    @BTPost - You sent me a link a couple of weeks ago (since I'm impatient). I've gone over the whitepaper and I'm always looking for ways to implement the MonkeyNet. I really do wonder how hard it would be to bounce the signal off of one of the amateur satellites to extend the mesh over LONG distances.
  12. BTPost

    BTPost Stumpy Old Fart,Deadman Walking, Snow Monkey Moderator

    I suspect not hard, HOWEVER Mesh is Near Real-Time Network, and without a Store & Forward built-in, so that traffic stays in the TX que, until the NODE returns to the Network, like PacketPakTor does, it is not a real form of Comms, in the SHTF Senerio. I think a Hybrid System with Mesh for local stuff and a Packet/Mesh Bridge would make sense. Sending a MonkeyNet PAD Encrypted Message thru Packet/PakTor would be very simple, as it likely could be less than one Packet, LARGE, and could wait for a connection with a low Bandwidth Link, and then forward. Wouldn't be very effective for a SKYPE Bandwidth video Link, or even a SKYPE Messaging Link. these need Near Real-Time Comm Links, which low bandwidth Links can NOT do.... One of the reasons we choose NOT to specify the LINK Layer, or Physical Hardware, for MonkeyNet, as these are largely UNKNOWN, until the time of the message transmission intiation.
  13. jdcole

    jdcole Monkey

    Having fault tolerance is always good. Having a router behind your various connection methods would allow for not only link failover, but also have the possibility for some form of load balancing. Get yourself an older model Cisco ISR (28xx series comes to mind) and with the right wic/hwic/nme you can do lots of cool stuff. Ebay is a good bet to find older Cisco hardware. Here's a good idea of what I mean: Cisco ISR in Home Networking & Connectivity | eBay
  14. BTPost

    BTPost Stumpy Old Fart,Deadman Walking, Snow Monkey Moderator

    Your assuming that the SAT based link will be available MOST of the time, which is NOT the case.... These are Low Orbit SATs, that are in view, from any ONE location, for only 10-15 minutes out of every hour. I am not aware of ANY Cisco Router that will Store & Forward Packets, on a link, with AT BEST a 25% Duty-cycle. That bad of a link would just be LOCKED OUT, and then periodically Tested, and reactivated for the short timespan it would be available on the next Pass, but the router would NOT then forward any Stored Packets from the previous pass, or in-between Passes. In the mean time all the packets would be non-Ack'ed and the Sending Node, and would need to just keep "Banging the Router" waiting for a valid LINK. This would be a terrible waste of bandwidth. Much better would be, a Store and Forward NODE, at the SAT Terminal Site that would accept the complete Messages, and then when the SAT Link came up, dump as many as possible up to a Store & Forward SAT Controller, and accept as many Messages from the SAT Controller, as each Pass could reliably deliver, and then recycle the que, when the Pass was over. Basically, the way Packet BBS's did in the original Packet Systems. Nothing anywhere near Real-Time Comms.... Mesh will work for local stuff, and MAYBE even City-wide Stuff, but is impractical for anything longer than that, where the Link doesn't have Near Real-Time Link Integrity. If one could build an 802.11x Node into a Low Orbit SAT, and then use a Tracking Antenna with a Square (4 in Phase) of 24db Panel Antennas, and a 5 watt PowerAmp, this type of Long Distance Comms, would start to become practical, IF the two stations, on each end of the link, were both within the SATs Footprint, for some fair period of time. Otherwise you would be much better off, to use an HF WinLink Connection between Mesh Systems. .... YMMV....
  15. jdcole

    jdcole Monkey

    Oh man, I wasn't even referring to the amsats. We'd have to wait until we get one in geosynchronous orbit before we could even think of that pipe dream.

    I was merely mentioning that using a more functional and modular router (like the cisco examples) would allow us to pass traffic over different transmission methods - paclink/D-STAR/mesh, and other methods available. What I'm trying to say is that there isn't going to be one end-all-be-all to the problem of shtf communications solutions. It's going to have to be utilizing mixed transmission methods to serve the widest audience possible. If we could get, in each major city, a station that had repeaters available and a backend to translate between different protocols/topologies, we could get a step closer to MonkeyNet
  16. Finster

    Finster Simplify, I'd say more but this says it all.

    Define "need" re:wifes opinion. Clearly you have pennies in your pocket everyday, put some a jar everyday. Come year end the prices should have returned to normal and just buy the damm thing.
  17. stg58

    stg58 Monkey+++ Founding Member


    FidoNet consists of approximately 10,000 systems world-wide which comprise a network which exchanges mail and files via Modems using a proprietary protocol. They are connected for the purposes of exchanging E-Mail to the Internet thru a series of gateway systems which interact with the Internet via UUCP with cooperating UNIX-based smart-hosts which act as their MX-receivers.

    With some exceptions, you cannot Telnet or FTP to a FidoNet site, only communicate via E-Mail and Usenet News.

    About Joining Fidonet

    Fidonet membership is not to be taken lightly. Every member has certain responsibilities, set forth in Fidonet Policy 4. There is really only one rule -- that you run an FTS-0001 compliant mailer during ZoneMailHour (ZMH) daily.
    Fidonet is open to any and all comers who are able to meet the ZMH technical requirement, but is not something you join on the spur of the moment without understanding your responsibilities. You will really need to have at least a basic understanding of how Fidonet and your FTS-0001 compliant software work.
    The best way to gain this knowledge is to both participate as a user on an existing Fido-BBS, and to set up your own not-yet-linked-to-Fidonet BBS. Once you have a basic understanding of what Fidonet provides and how your software does this, you are ready to proceed with joining as an official member. Don't let this scare you -- virtually nobody knows what's going on when they first join. There will be plenty of time for questions and usually tons of help available to you later. Waiting until you have a little bit of understanding will simply ease the process for both yourself and your Net Coordinator. Remember that your NC is just a hobbyist too, has plenty of work to do already, and often has several other newcomers like yourself needing help at any given time.
    How To Join Fidonet (Step-by-Step)

    1. Gain a basic understanding of Fidonet and your software. Download the POLICY4.ZIP document from a nearby FidoNet BBS. Read this thoroughly. Then read it again. Do the same with your software's documentation. You will also need a current copy of the Fidonet Nodelist.
    2. Set up your BBS. Make sure it operates correctly, to the best of your knowledge.
    3. Follow, to the letter, the procedure outlined in POLICY4 for joining Fidonet. The request *MUST* come in as a Netmail message. This shows the NC that your system is indeed capable of exchanging mail -- the basic requirement for membership. Do NOT request a node number in a LOCAL message on your NC's system, it will only delay the process, and may even be simply ignored.
    4. Be patient. It may take up to 2 weeks for your request to be fully processed and appear in the Nodelist. Remember that your NC may not be able to contact you at all until your address becomes official.
  18. Hazmat54

    Hazmat54 Monkey+++

    Is this the same kind of thing?

    Village Telco

    Mesh Potato? Just found that link, haven't had time to study it.
  19. This HSMM-MESH looks very intetesting. I'm curious to dabble with it, but one thing holds me back: Do I need a HAM license to power one of these units up?
  20. BTPost

    BTPost Stumpy Old Fart,Deadman Walking, Snow Monkey Moderator

    Yep, Ham License is required for that particular system.... HOWEVER, there are Mess Systems that run on regular WiFi Frequencies and Power Levels that require NO License... Also understand, that if you are not where a Mess System is already up and running, starting one requires lots of other folks to get involved, to have any distance covered. Must Say'en.... YMMV...
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