At last night’s excellent meeting of the Oakville Amateur Radio Club, Brian, VA3BCO gave a very-well received presentation on HSMM MESH Networking.
Here’s a link to his slides.
And we’re not talking theory here. Thanks to John, VA3BL our technical director and his team the Oakville Club’s MESH link went on the air earlier this week.
So what is HSMM MESH (and forgive me if I get this wrong)?
HSMM stands for high-speed multi-media. Found on the Amateur micro-wave frequencies that parallel commercial WiFi channels, it allows licensed Amateur Radio operators to create their own private, high power (we’re talking milliwatts to maybe a Watt or two), flexible, resilient, ad hoc Internet.
So when we say high-speed what are we talking about?
PSK/RTTY/HF Packet run 300 – 300 bps. Pactor III or IV go 3 to 10 kbps. D-Star which supports high-speed data hits 128 kbps. HSMM goes up to 54 mbps+.
This means HSMM can handle things like streaming video.
MESH technology would allow for file sharing, IRC chat applications, IP cameras (think the Santa Claus parade), VOIP phone connection even web browsing.
The equipment is cheap as some old Linksys routers can be flashed to work on the Amateur frequencies and easily available commercial units from Ubiquiti which put the microwave transceiver at the antenna need only power (from a modified standard ethernet cable or a battery perhaps with a solar cell.
These units sell for as little as $56 to $100.
Software and directions how to flash the units are readily available on the Internet.
Practical applications for ARES work are endless. For the rest of us, joining an HSMM MESH network would neighbouring contest stations to share logging programs in real time allowing for M2 class operation. Control of a remote Amateur Radio station from your laptop would be easy and secure.
HSMM MESH offers Amateur Radio a super cheap, super reliant and tons of fun new way to communicate.
The biggest issue is you must be able to have line-of-sight view of another HSMM MESH station.
The easiest way around not having someone you can see is the club could setup remote, solar-powered MESH nodes on cooperative apartment buildings or police and fire stations thus extending the network across the town.
Again thanks to Brian who gave us the presentation last night.
We’re planning a second slightly more advanced presentation sometime in the new year that will focus on how to add applications such as IP cameras to our MESH network.
Stay tuned 🙂