[aprssig] Igates Are A Fair Weather Solution (was: "Finito")

Robert Bruninga bruninga at usna.edu
Mon Aug 29 11:32:08 EDT 2005

The lead-in sentence of this post inspires me
to ramble a bit.

>APRS relies heavily on infrastructure.  In an 
>emergency, infrastructure will probably not be 

So True, but...
The reason I find this amusing is that it shows
what the internet and 24/7 access to a global
feed of data has done to the original APRS

The original APRS concept, remember, was to
be a come-as-you-are, RF system for local 
real-time tactical information INDEPENDENT of
any infrastructure.  It included PHG circles on
every station and network display tools so that 
ad-hoc paths could be SEEN through whatever
stations were on the air.

Stations would use each other to relay to each
other as needed.  This independence from any
established infrastructure was the reason for
its development.

But, of course, the other 99.999% of the time,
when we dont have emergencies, we operate
24/7 using an infrastructure that grows up to
satisify the need for wide area connectivity just
to find something to do... and this includes
exploiting the free bandwidth of the interenet.

And there is nothing wrong with this!  

Except for one thing.  It causes operators and
possibly some authors to forget about RF, and
how to build the network AD-HOC using each 
other to communicate when the inrastructure is 
gone.  And then software begins to  cater
to the fun things you can do on the internet
while ignoring  many of the fundamental RF
tools needed for effective ad-hoc communications.

Hardly any home stations any more transmit 
a PHG circle showing their transmit power, their
Antenna height above average terrain and
their antenna gain.  This was supposed to be
fundamental information in APRS, just as
fundamental as entering your LAT/LONG.
Some programs don't even have a provision
for users to enter this fundamental data.

Also, the orignial WIDEn-N system ignored 
path tracing.  Making it impossible for users
to see what the network was doing.  Hopefully
with the new-N paradigm, and full path tracing,
users will once again start paying attention 
to their local RF network and what it takes
to communicate locally...

just some thoughts...
Bob, Wb4APR

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