What’s Happening Now And What’s Planned
We’re using a system called AREDN – Amateur Radio Emergency Data Network to make all this possible. There has been a lot of interest locally and in just the last month more than a dozen amateurs have set up AREDN nodes and joined them to our regional mesh network. With your help we can start to connect all of these together using RF and provide a linked, self healing mesh network.
This work will entail setting up 5ghz sector antennas with supporting power and cabling at relay sites providing excellent coverage across the mid island area. Depending on the area to be covered we will be installing 1, 2 or 3 antennas with differing beam patterns and gain.
There are two relay sites already operational south of Nanaimo. One provides coverage looking north towards Nanaimo and a new site has just been set up which provides coverage for all of Ladysmith and south towards Chemainus.
Ladysmith and South Nanaimo Coverage – Up and Running
The next step in this plan will be to set up relay stations on Mount Benson and at Cottle Hill in Nanaimo. At an elevation of 3323 feet Mount Benson provides line of site signal coverage across our entire area. The Cottle Hill site provides additional coverage as well as giving us needed redundancy.
Mount Benson Coverage – With Your Help – Coming This Summer
For Parksvile and Qualicum Beach the site on Mount Copley in Lantzville will come online later this summer and will add more coverage to the north and will fill in some areas shadowed from Benson.
Mount Copley Coverage – With Your Help – Coming This Summer
There are other sites being investigated and as resources become available we hope to announce additional plans.
With a mesh network it’s not just connecting to a few central sites. Every station offers an opportunity to connect to every other site. Also this initiative isn’t limited to just our area as other community mesh networks can be built out and be connected together.
Check out this live map which shows the current activity on eastern Vancouver Island and over on the Sunshine Coast. It’s all happened in just the last few months.
Scroll out on the map and you can see the hundreds of mesh networks now operational all across North America and Europe.
To promote this initiative locally and to share information, setups, tips, tricks and training we have set up a local group.io forum – Mid Island AREDN Mesh Network discussion group.io page. This is open to all so feel free to browse and signup to keep current on what is happening.