I recently discovered AREDN (Amateur Radio Emergency Data Network) which is big in the States, where HAM radio is used on consumer grade wifi routers to provide a resilient IP/DATA network available in times of emergency. Or just for fun using the amateur portion of the 2/3/5Ghz Bands. 

Several wifi routers, once reflashed with the appropriate firmware, automatically broadcast themselves and then join any other network points to create a kind of amateur internet using RF. 

Primarily for fun! Amateur radio has so many different aspects to it. This is another but it also has a practical use. As a member of Essex RAYNET we are looking at ways of providing enhanced data communications at events and in times of emergency which do not rely on the internet. The ability to link DMR repeaters and hotspots to build what is effectively a private DMR network was the main reason i started this project.

YES! Please do!
A network is not much of a network if its only me on it! The plan is to build a network across Essex and surrounding counties. It’s going to take us some time and careful planning but the more people that join the quicker and bigger the network will be. 

The project uses opensource software and the hardware can be picked up online second hand for not a lot of money at all. 

So continue to read, join the members area and be part of something fun and new in the world of amateur radio!

Well this website is a good start. I intend to put lots of information on here on the steps required. 

At first it can seem complex and bewildering, my aim is to build some step by step guides for people to get started, even with no networking experience!

I will also add a map of the nodes as they get added, so be sure to let me know when you add a node so you can be added to the map.

There are also lots of data available to the AREDNMESH.ORG site. 

There are over 50 units supported by the AREDN software. 
To get started I would recommend a TP-LINK or UBIQUITI access point, these can be picked up fairly inexpensively (under £40) on eBay and other online second-hand websites. 

I would recommend 5Ghz which is the frequency less used and therefore has less interference on the Amateur portion.  Although there is nothing stopping you using 2.4Ghz but you would need two nodes as I do not run any on this band(currently)

 

Panic not!

Even if you are out of range today, as the network grows you may find someone a inbetween joins and suddenly you will be part of the RF Mesh. 

Even if you can’t yet reach my node mesh, you can still build a smaller localised node island. Once you have experimented and built your own island or group of nodes with your friends, then you can pool resources in order to get the island linked back to the main mesh network. We can do this via a tunnel or a long haul rf link.

In the meantime, there is a simple way to link remote nodes via the internet, whilst this is not ideal as the whole point is to create a network that is resilient to the internet, it does mean that for 99% of the time you can join in the fun. This is called a “tunnel” and you just need to agree with someone else to set up a tunnel. Just post on the forum that you need a tunnel and someone will offer to help. 

Simply post your question on the forum and one of the community will help. If you have good knowledge of networking or AREDN please join and help others too.