The amateur radio community has always worked to investigate new communication technologies, learned how to work with them and where possible use them to provide services within our communities. Towards this end our team is working to set up an Amateur Radio Emergency Data Network (AREDN) high speed communications mesh network for all interested amateurs to use.
Amateur radio has long had frequency allocations in the 2,3 and 5ghz microwave bands but it generally wasn’t easy or affordable to operate in these ranges. This has now all changed. The recent huge increase in the use of Wi-Fi systems worldwide has resulted in the wide availability of inexpensive, commercial grade equipment operating in these frequency ranges and specifically within allocated amateur bands.
About five years ago a group of amateurs recognized this opportunity and set up an organization called AREDN – Amateur Radio Emergency Data Network. The basic premise was to develop firmware to run on this new equipment and to permit amateurs to easily set up high speed mesh networks within their community. This concept has been embraced by the amateur community and there are now hundreds of these mesh networks in use throughout Europe and North America. These networks permit internet style functionality and speeds using RF links. The AREDN design makes it relatively easy for amateurs to set up nodes and a home station can be set up for as little as only a few hundred dollars.
Perhaps the most fascinating aspect of AREDN is the wide range of applications and uses amateurs have leveraged this technology for amateurs and for communities to use. Tie ins with WINLINK, MESHCHAT, ipPhones, Remote Station Monitoring…. the list goes on and on.
To find out much more information about AREDN you can visit the organization’s web site at – https://www.arednmesh.org/ where you will find all the documentation, software, training required to help you get started. There are very active discussion forums covering all aspects of AREDN: equipment, planning, purchasing, setup, training and usage.
Like every popular topic today it is hard to describe how much good information is now being shared on YouTube. Just do a search there for AREDN and see all the activity.