Cross Munchkins with TEOTWAWKI millenarianism...

Rohit Khare (
Sat, 30 Jan 1999 14:23:16 -0800

A repost from GeeK... a kook, but a very well-intentioned and technically
reasonable one.
What the world needs is less IP, more UUCP. :-)


Date: Mon, 25 Jan 1999 13:28:14 -0500 (EST)
From: Eric Glover <>
Subject: GeeK: [ss] Proposed Wireless Internet of Portable hosts (fwd)

I thought this might be of interest..I know it is basically one large

- ---------- Forwarded message ----------
Date: Mon, 25 Jan 1999 10:11:56 -0800
From: Jon Roland <>
eply-To: TAPR Spread Spectrum Special Interest Group <>
To: TAPR Spread Spectrum Special Interest Group <>
Subject: [ss] Proposed Wireless Internet of Portable hosts

A Proposal for a Wireless Internet of Portable hosts (WIPNet) by Jon Roland
KC5MYS The prospects that the Y2K problem, or other such
cascade failure arising from other causes, might bring down power grids and
telecommunications systems, suggests that we consider establishing an
communications system that could support emergency services in such an
event. One
of the main ways that emergency communications has been provided in the past is
through amateur radio networks. However, the advent of packet radio and
other forms
of digital communications on amateur bands suggests a better use of the
especially since a nationwide or worldwide failure of essential systems
would be
likely to overwhelm the ability of traditional amateur voice communications
to cope
with the situation. A number of amateur and commercial researchers have been
exploring expansion of the Internet to radio links, using the TCP/IP and AX-25
protocols and making use of both the amateur bands and the newly available
spectrum bands. These are represented by such efforts as FlexNet and
AMPRnet, and
such services as Ricochet. See This
is to suggest that we get together to establish a much more ambitious
system. The
effort is complicated by the need to confine the use of amateur bands to
amateurs, which is not a limitation for the use of spread spectrum bands. The
following are the design specifications for such a system. - All nodes would be
portable computers and transceivers. There would be no wired backbone, although
there could be connections to the wired backbone to make use of it, if it is
available, such as to span what would otherwise be breaks in the network. - The
geographic range of the system would be nationwide or worldwide. Any node
would be
able to send an email message to any other anywhere on the network,
regardless of
the number of hops in between. There would also be support for newsgroup,
ftp and
WWW services, but these might be restricted in the event of an emergency. - The
primary bands would be spread spectrum, with perhaps some use of HF bands for
longer distances, to span breaks in the network. - The addressing and routing
scheme would permit all nodes to move about freely, and perhaps rapidly,
every node having to have a complete database of every node and its location,
although such a database might be available on some nodes, making them DNS
- - There would be a priortization protocol to permit high priority
messages to have
routing priority over lower ones. There are many advantages to the use of
spectrum. It supports higher bandwidths, makes more efficient use of a
given band,
and provides better security. At the moment its use is limited to the 900
MHz and
2.4 GHz bands, and to 1 W, but amplifiers are available for use outside the
and we can expect that use at higher powers would be excusable in the event
of a
national emergency, as would the use by non-licensed personnel. A protocol
have to be adopted for exchanging sequence codes among cooperating
but PGP-encrypted messages on a standard contact sequence could be used for
and for authentication of the nodes. It would also be better suited for
packets from going astray. It would be possible, in principle, for nodes within
range of each other to update one another's link databases, and for those
to be transmitted to other nodes to update their, on a continuing basis, so
every node would maintain an updated database of every node and which was
in range
of which other, however, this would involve too heavy an overhead. A different
approach would be for each node to transmit its approximate grid location,
set manually or taken from GPS, and messages routed along a node path that
take them in the general direction of the target node until a link was
The line-of-sight range of both VHF FM and SS is about 20 miles, under good
conditions, and using antennas that could be carried by a person. That
means that
to establish a nationwide network, and to provide sufficient bandwidth for
message traffic, there would need to be a fairly dense positioning of nodes not
more than 20 miles apart, and preferably closer, across the country. This
could be
a problem in some of the Western states, especially desert country, where
population density is low, but in an emergency node-bearing operators could
themselves and position themselves to make sure that coverage was complete.
or four operators in each of the 3000 counties in the United States might be
sufficient. Small notebook or wearable computers with large disk drives are now
becoming available, and they should soon become fairly inexpensive. SS 1 W
transceivers are also becoming available at a cost of about $200 each. The only
other things that would be needed would be power packs, a good antenna, and
extra disk drive capacity, all of which could be carried by an operator in a
backpack. The importance of portability must be emphasized. In an
emergency, the
availability of fuel to operate a vehicle cannot be assumed, although
vehicle based
mobile systems might be made use of if available. But operators should plan on
being able to operate on foot, perhaps using solar cells to recharge their
batteries. The operator will also have to carry water, food, medical, and other
survival supplies on him, so the communications equipment needs to be as small,
light, and easy to use while on the move as possible. The military has such
systems, but, typically, they are too expensive for civilian use. Indeed,
they are
too expensive for widespread use by the military, which is why we cannot
depend on
military or national guard personnel to provide such services in an
emergency. This
needs to be a civilian, autonomous system that is not under central
authority or
control, like the Internet itself, and that therefore cannot easily be
or interfered with by anyone. We need to vigorously pursue the development,
testing, and deployment of such a system, with the goal of full deployment not
later than October, 1999. Comments for ways to do this are welcome.
Society, 1731 Howe Av #370, Sacramento, CA 95825 916/568-1022,
916/450-7941VM Date:
01/25/99 Time: 10:11:56