WTF is Aredn for SHTF
Updated: Sep 3, 2022
Point to point (P2P) 2.4 & 5 ghz Amateur Radio Emergency Data Network. Voice over ip (Voip), message (Meshchat), ip camera & data mesh communications. Individual nodes can find one another to build an extensive network. I was introduced to mesh networking through Meshtastic, & Lora devices. Those devices I’ll cover on their own. However, they were the gateway for me to start experimenting with Aredn, I’d call it the daddy of this type of Ham radio. The purpose of which is an entirely independent mesh network. The fact that you can repurpose over the counter wifi gear, quite a list at that from several manufacturers. Open source software has been adapted and enhanced to create the AREDN firmware, including OpenWRT https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/OpenWrt and OLSR https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Optimized_Link_State_Routing_Protocol
What you'll need
This requires the modification of domestic & or commercial wifi equipment available online. The devices need initial setup before pimping with new firmware from https://www.arednmesh.org . There is a plethora of detailed information on the site, documents a forum and some great videos. Here at http://www.broadband-hamnet.org was an earlier version.
An extended amount of reading to understand & follow steps exactly, dedication & concentration. For an initial setup for a ham about £200 maximum, as this can be finessed later.
There is a list of suitable devices here : http://downloads.arednmesh.org/firmware/html/stable.html
I would take a look at this for an overview of what you’re about to do : https://arednmesh.readthedocs.io/en/latest
Don’t be put off, it’s that the Aredn team have gone to the trouble of such detailed instructions, forum and faq’s. Again if I can achieve this, then anyone can. I now have 4 nodes on both frequencies and the beauty of the system is that nodes will find one another and you can also create a tunnel to a node or backbone on another continent.
My own Mesh network
Independent mesh nodes capable of delivering phone call, file data, messages & using emcomm apps to manage events. All over RF from 10kmk to 60km and through tunnels (links to other nodes further away in the world over the internet)
Using Winbox to program OpenWRT routers
This led me to a greater understanding of getting the most from routers & networking before tackling the Aredn firmware & then an Emcomm mesh network.
I discovered the world of RPi (Raspberry pi)
Having discovered RPi 3B’s, it was easy to dedicate them with flashed images to specific tasks. Later adding windows 10 to one board.
Programmed cheap 2nd hand routers
Used old Linksys WRT54G routers as an independent mesh network (Broadband Hamnet) http://www.broadband-hamnet.org with TX & RX yagi antennas. I call it big Brothers little brother & a superb learning tool for my Aredn mesh.