Friday, March 20, 2015

Using COTS with AREDN

I've always been fascinated with wireless communications. I'm the kid that had all of the CB radio walkie-talkies torn apart on the toy room floor. Last year I really got hooked on QRP...I've made a number of 5W CW contacts, along with tons of 5W PSK31 QSOs. My latest adventure involves these two new acronyms - COTS and AREDN.

COTS stands for Commercial Off-the-Shelf equipment. And AREDN stands for Amateur Radio Emergency Data Network. I'm taking network equipment that was designed for commercial use in the 900MHz, 2.4GHz, and 5GHz bands and using it with a different firmware set on our US amateur radio frequency allocations. 

AREDN is the new kid on the block in this arena...a group of developers that had been working the the Broadband-Hamnet/HSMM-Mesh team started off on their own. They are developing some features that aimed at improving the manageability, stability, and flexibility of a mesh data network built using Ubiquity Networks COTS gear. 

My fellow Central IL ham friends and I have just completed a successful installation of the WX9WX Raspberry PI based D-STAR repeater. While doing this install, I found two very large 800-900MHZ antennas abandoned by Nextel. I have this disease...I can't let an antenna lay around unterminated. So I'm off on my next quest to build a data network using the AREDN firmware, focused initially on a 900MHz backbone. 

So far? So good. Flashing the first device was a piece of cake. Another ebay purchase yielded some nice 900MHz yagi antennas, and another has another device on the way. This should be fun! Stay tuned!

No comments: