D-STAR, D-RATS, and MESH
Michael J. Hauan
I've set up a MESH with 2 WRT54G routers here at my home. Setting one of the nodes as an internet gateway was a snap. Works very well! I'm awaiting delivery of three 24dBi antennas so we can experiment with what kind of distance we can get out of a pair of them. The cost of one WRT54G and a 24dBi antenna came to less than $60 using eBay.
As we implement our D-STAR system, D-RATS looks like a very promising application for EmComm use. While it was designed with D-STAR radios in mind, what I've read of its documentation suggests it will work with any TCP/IP network. So, we can combine D-STAR, MESH, and other networks in whatever fashion makes sense and delivers the best service in emergencies.
The building blocks exist. We just gotta put them together!
For instance, I'm picturing an in-town MESH connecting the D-STAR repeater with Joint Communications, the CMRA club station, and one or more of the Columbia hospitals. If we can get longer hauls to work, or establish a suitable chain of MESH nodes, we can shoot for links to Hallsville and further north, Boonville and further west, Jeff City and further south, Fulton and further east. One of the beauties of the MESH protocol is that if one node has internet access, all connected nodes do as well. If several nodes have access, one's internet-bound traffic will go through the "nearest" node -- the MESH tracks the best routes from one node to another.
Griff has been experimenting with other devices than the WRT54G. It remains to be seen which ones will provide the best bang for the buck and (this would be nice) if they can run the same protocol and interconnect -- like having different brands of wireless router extending your local network.
Reminder to all -- at next month's CMRA meeting we'll discuss D-STAR.
Michael James Hauan, ACØG