Rule#1: No non-Amateur methods
for data, sourcing, delivering or relaying our traffic.
It is important to know why the past efforts failed in order to understand why we think the current effort will succeed.
- Hams are involved with content movement into and out of the network
The purpose is to keep a human in the loop allowing for intelligent management of network saturation.
In addition, having a human involved allows the TARPNs to develop as clearly ham-to-ham via-radio operations.
It’s a point of differentiation.
We know the TARPNs are slower than Internet.
We might as well operate them that way.
- We want to make a network with radios.
I don't remember the past packet radio network builders ever stating that they were specifically interested in building radio networks.
Two of the principals of TARPN were also founders of NEDA, the most successful packet radio network on the planet from 1989 until 2000.
NEDA was interested in digital communications for Amateur Radio Operator use.
Commercial-means shortcuts already existed when NEDA was founded.
The first shortcut, or wormhole, either Dana WA2WNI or I KA2DEW can remember is the OTTSAT to CALSAT link that connected TheNET nodes in Calgary, Alberta, with Ottawa, Ontario.
Dana and I thought, at the time, that the wormhole was a good thing.
When I lived in Seattle, Washington, I made it part of the hobby to connect from where I lived over to Calgary and across the link to try to make it down to Albany NY.
The goals NEDA set didn't note any particular benefit for doing things via ham radio.
That was a mistake.
Using ham-radio network links has several benefits over commercial/government/professional links:
- Builders, operators and students of our network can see the interconnects and diagnostic output at every step of the way.
We are fully responsible for operating and expanding the network and have full visibility into its operation.
- The challenge of long distance connectivity is open and that challenge can be taken by any ham.
The appreciation and sense of accomplishment is intact and for some that alone makes the project worth doing.
- The maintenance and serviceability of the network is wholly Amateur and not left to the whims of a professional entity
- The educational value of building and operating a long distance VHF/UHF digital radio communications system makes building a network very valuable.
- The value of putting money and time into the network is somewhat consistently realized because all links in the network are built using similar technology.
- The emergency preparedness value of the network is very high because the system is fully maintainable by the builders in the face of unspecified disasters
Disadvantages of adding commercial links include:
- Disproportionate performance causes an imbalance in the availability of data vs the capability of the network to support that data, leading to overload of the Amateur wireless equipment, dramatically reducing the apparent value of Amateur constructed packet links.
- Non Amateur links in an Amateur network will reduce the apparent value of the efforts of volunteers who might build Amateur long distance link capability
- Lack of visibility into the route of the non-Amateur links reduces the ability of an individual operator to explore and learn the network architecture, reducing Dxing and camaraderie.
- Rule = a TARPN network has no Commercial-means connections for data.
We use Internet or cellular networks for configuration, status monitoring, upgrading, discussion about the network, but not to carry or source our data.
If somebody wants to take packet radio and put it over the Internet, it is fair that they take a text copy or screen shot.
To put material onto our packet network, they can do a text copy.