[FoRK] Mesh over Egypt, mesh over Portland, we bring good things to light.

John Goerzen jgoerzen at complete.org
Thu Feb 3 13:59:37 PST 2011

On 02/03/2011 03:01 PM, Ken Ganshirt @ Yahoo wrote:
> It allows/affords routing of any kind you wish. It's all controlled
> by a simple routing file on the local system. It is not necessary for
> routing to be anything but 100% direct ("direct" being defined by the
> hardware layer, of course).

As the long-ago 1:291/51 I agree with what you're saying.  I'll also add 
that everything you described for FidoNet applies equally well to the 
now-defunct global UUCP network, and to the still-kicking amateur packet 
radio network.  Both can also run over IP.

One of the particular advantages of the packet radio network is that it 
can operate on HF frequencies -- though a amateur radio license is 
necessary.  These frequencies permit global digital communications with 
transmitters in the 50-100W range and simple dipole (wire) antennas, and 
in many countries permit higher-gain antennas and much higher power.  It 
is the ultimate in "route around" if I can talk directly to a station in 
Japan from Kansas with no intervening telco, satellite, or other 

On the other hand, HF is vulnerable to changing atmospheric conditions 
and no single frequency is likely to be usable for intercontinental 
communications 24/7.  Also packet on HF typically runs at 300bps.  So, 
like everything else, it is no silver bullet.  Not suitable for video, 
and even photos of any kind of resolution questionable, but does well 
with text messages and can hook into the Internet at unencumbered points.

-- John

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