DACS proof of concept

During the LA8HTH event August 13th-14th 2011 (Ham-treff Helgeland), a bunch of us set out to complete a proof of concept QSO for our DACS project.

The DACS project aims to put together a defined set of software and services, and eventually precompiled software for commercial off-the-shelf hardware. The hardware such as smartphones and common home DSL routers will create a robust self-configuring mesh topology network that operates on the lower WiFi channels (within the Amateur Radio frequencies in most countries). More details and specifics in a later post.

We set up one mesh router on the roof of the cabin we used for the LA8HTH event, and one on top of my car about 3 kilometers away. The laptop in the trunk of the car listened on TCP port 31337, and another laptop at the other end (operated by LA6TRA Hans) connected to my end.

Packets travelled successfully via the available path from one endpoint (laptop) via the two routers to the other endpoint (laptop). All wirelessly and automagically discovered.

This technology is nothing new – it has in fact been used for emergency communications both after hurricane Katrina and the Haiti quake, but we’re aiming to put things a bit more on rails and bring some really useful functionality to the ‘masses’.

Our proof of concept proved that we can wield the technology, and that the outdoor ranges of commonly available WiFi equipment combined with gain antennas are useful in ham radio scenarios.

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