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Laptop wireless frequency agility?

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w6bi's picture
Laptop wireless frequency agility?

The OLSR protocol can be run on any Linux computer.  But what about the ability to move the wireless adapter into the Part 97 channels?   Do any of the extant laptop chip sets support that kind of frequency agility?

This is probably not something AREDN has the resources to tackle near-term, but it would definitely enhance the mission of enabling emergency data communications.




>Do any of the extant laptop

>Do any of the extant laptop chip sets support that kind of frequency agility?

The Ubiquiti M2 line of products use the Atheros AR7240 + AR9287 chipset. 

Here is an excellent starting point titled "Using WiFi Atheros chips in hamradio bands"

Admin note: moved to ragchew

Admin note: moved to ragchew forum

Personally I don't see much use in having a laptop speak OLSR. The laptop will not have as strong of singal and access.  All it will due is increase the noise floor of your local node.  Best to just plug an AP into the mesh node and operate on a non ham channel where everything from your laptop to an iPhone can be connected to take advantage of the network.


K5DLQ's picture
The ubiquiti airGateway is a

The ubiquiti airGateway is a great solution for local Device access to the mesh over wifi.  They can be found for around $20 USD and plug directly into the PoE adapter.

w6bi's picture
ubiquiti airGateway


AE6XE's picture
Summary and AE6XE's 2 cents...

While it would be a fun thing to go implement, it doesn't create new functionality that we can't already do.  If we had unlimited time on our hands :) ...

Let me clarify, we can connect a windows/linux/apple machine on the LAN port of existing mesh nodes to put services and access services on the mesh.    To turn our computers into mesh nodes with horse power to host services, still requires another mesh node with appropriate antenna gain to connect into the greater mesh.  So between the roof mesh node and the computer in the shack, we can already use cat5 or a $20 airGateway AP over RF to do the job.  

This is somewhat similar to the issue of buying a mesh node with built-in muti-ports to plug in many devices (bundled capabilities).   But the same end result (and comparable cost) is achieved by buying 2 custom built devices to do both--we're not forced to buy both capabilities bundled together if we don't want it.  The theory seems to also hold that we have better products when the 2 capabilities are focused on separately by 2 vendors.  None of the switches bundled with mesh node hardware options work very well--linksys, NSM5-XW, TP-Link 5Ghz have low level problematic defects that we are all working around--try to use DtDlink on these devices...


w6bi's picture
Mesh & laptops

The situation I was thinking of was where we had perhaps a Red Cross Shelter going, and were able to get network connectivity to the outside of the shelter, but there was no physical path to run cable in to where communications were.  I guess you could install a mesh node next to the laptop, but that seems like one extra thing to have to deal with.




If you install an AP next to the mesh node you can just use the laptop without any extra software and use phones etc.

This also means everyone in the building could connect (if allowed) and all this would be done on a non ham only channel to keep the noise floor down (running a mesh node locally either in the laptop or next to the laptop just takes away the gain by moving to ham only channels by giving you more "junk" noise)

Basically you run the access layer as part 15 (can be encrypted for access control) on say channel 11 (far from ham) and merge it on to the PART 97 via the mesh node.   The AP will take anything from local RF (say laptop or a phone ) and forward it to the rest of the mesh.

It would be similar to say Person A (a friend of yours) comes to your house, you let them use your wifi by giving the name and password and they can get to the internet without any complicated software install.   Now same situation but plugged into MeshNode instead of a home network means they can access the mesh (instead of the internet) 

Would you rather have to customize each computer that will be used or provide a common method that virtually everyone knows how to do? I would go with the latter .

Hope I am making sense on my suggestion.


K5DLQ's picture
Yes.  The "extra" mesh node

Yes.  The "extra" mesh node next to the laptop is, in my opinion, a much better option than loading OLSR on the laptop with limited wireless range. The AirGateway is another.  That way, all the network routing functions are on devices built specifically for that purpose.


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