• My thoughts on building a RF-LAN based packet radio network

    Posted to rf_lan@yahoogroups.com - Sep 2002

    I think we need to attempt to build a amateur high speed network first before attempting to assist the local community. The reason is the local community could well use up all the available bandwidth before we worked out a good network design. We need to practice first! before opening it up to the masses (not to mention the legal requirements which would need to be met for the masses).

    At the moment the UK BBS Packet network is suffering from diminishing radio links where the only way to forward to certain BBS's is via dialup/Internet. One of the main stumbling blocks for utilising WLan cards is of course the range if you cannot get somewhere on 2m there no chance at 2.4gig. So what do we do?

    I would propose the best place to start rolling out WLan technology is on the already existing TCP/IP packet network. The reason for this is the IP addresses are already assigned and the people running these networks are already clued up on TCP/IP technology.

    Of course range is still an issue and this is where good antenna choice is going to come in to play. Nobody really want's an earth station in there back garden.We could of course also design linear amplifiers for the WLan cards to give it that extra push.

    Once some successfully linking has been achieved on the TCP/IP networks and everybody has had a play with netmeeting!. We can look at channelling other traffic through the backbone network such as packet mails (this will happen automatically as the TCP/IP BBS's already do this) and APRS (UI-View) traffic.

    The APRS traffic would need to be thought about a little more. Available already are ways to connect UI-View for example straight to the internet feeds and indeed we could use this on our backbone. We could also use virtual AGW ports (winsock interface) which connect over TCP/IP seamlessly and appear as another port to UI-View. You can then say digi from 144.800 to a radio which is connected over the WLan.

    To summarise, lets start with the amateur network. Lets upgrade the TCP/IP packet network and utilise this as a back bone for what traffic we already have. We have the software (x-router, AGW, UI-View, TCP/IP standard suite) what we need are amplifiers and decent antennas.

    73 - Andy, M0CYP