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ARRL Surveying Interest in High-Speed Digital Networks:

from The ARRL Letter, Vol 22, No 12 on March 22, 2003
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ARRL Surveying Interest in High-Speed Digital Networks:

The ARRL High Speed Multimedia (HSMM) Working Group is surveying the amateur community to gauge interest in IEEE 802.11b "Hinternet" activity. The HSMM Working Group encourages spread-spectrum communication modes including such protocols as IEEE 802.11b operating on Amateur Radio frequencies under FCC Part 97 rules. It's adopted Hinternet (a contraction of "ham" and "Internet") as a way to describe the technology. The HSMM Working Group's survey is on the ARRL Web site

"The primary goal of the survey is to encourage amateurs to get on the air and start playing with this cheap digital microwave gear," says HSMM Working Group Chair John Champa, K8OCL Hinternet Radio Local Area Networks (RLANs) typically use direct-sequence spread spectrum between 2412 and 2437 MHz and are capable of simultaneously carrying audio, video and data signals. Hinternet aficionados adapt commercial 802.11b interfaces designed for Part 15 operation to amateur use.

The HSMM Web survey is brief and permits an opportunity for open-ended input. It asks if respondents have a IEEE 802.11 or "other high-speed digital station" running under Part 97. If so, amateurs are asked to register their stations. It also asks respondents to explain how they might use a high-speed digital system or network if they were to set one up.

Champa urged Hinternet-minded amateurs to also report what they've learned and any new applications to the ARRL IEEE 802.11b reflector operated by Texas A&M University (and linked from the "HSMM Resources" menu under "Contacts").

Asked if the Hinternet is catching on within Amateur Radio, Champa simply points to the more than 15,000 hits to the HSMM Working Group's Web site. The Hinternet also is the focus of the article "High Speed Multimedia Radio" by Kris Mraz, N5KM, in the April 2003 issue of QST.

Hinternet proponent Mark Williams, AB8LN, of Milford, Michigan, says he envisions growth of amateur 802.11b operation to cover all large metropolitan areas in the US, not just the few miles some contend is the outer limit for such point-to-point connections. "This is just too easy," he says. "With some of the Amateur Radio pioneering that we are famous for, we should be able to push this technology to its limits--50, 75 and 100-mile links at 2.4 GHz." He said wireless networks dedicated to Amateur Radio stretching across states and linking hams everywhere with high-speed voice and video are possible.

"File-sharing and e-mail, network gaming and pop-up chat are just the tip of a titanic iceberg," he predicted.

Applications abound for public service work too. Amateurs recently involved in the Texas search for debris from the shuttle Columbia used a 802.11b high-speed system on ham radio to link the net control station in Nacagdoches with the Internet.

More information is available on the ARRL High Speed Digital Networks and Multimedia Web page


The ARRL Letter Vol. 22, No. 12 March 21, 2003

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