Date: September 2022
Hams in the Topsham/Brunswick area in Maine have been experimenting with mesh networking technology over the past 2 years. They are using Amateur Radio Emergency Data Network (AREDN) firmware in conjunction with commercial, off-the-shelf hardwarare to build these high-speed networks. Their goal is to provide a high-speed mesh network backbone across Maine utilizing amateur radio 5.8 GHz frequencies and create a user uplink port using the 2.4 GHz Ham Radio frequencies.
This grant will allow the Maine Amateur Radio Foundation, which includes members from multiple radio clubs, to complete the first phase of this project, which will connect networks in southern Maine to eastern Maine. The backbone consists of 15 high-ground location sites with redundant line of site (LOS) paths. Future work will expand this effort across the entire state of Maine.
This mesh network will not be dependent on the commercial internet. Use cases for this network include repeater linking, VoIP Audio/Video conferencing for nets or real-world activities or events, and expansion of 1200/9600 baud packet stations by connecting the packet nodes into the mesh backbone. Network operation will be monitored with open-source software, such as Cacti, and will have alerting and reporting capabilities. All of these features will benefit served agencies during emergency communication efforts.