[nos-bbs] State of packet and gateway traffic

Jay Nugent jjn at nuge.com
Sat Apr 12 08:52:52 EDT 2008

Greetings Mike,

On Thu, 10 Apr 2008, MG wrote:

> I was going to use the encap.txt file as ONE of my research tools to get
> a feel for the current state of packet and gateway traffic in the US and
> elsewhere.............  now that we're on the subject, if anyone has any
> opinions on the increase or decrease of packet activity in the last 4
> years or so feel free to spew.
> Mike Goldsmith, W2aiq

   Here in Michigan we didn't necessarily partake of the WinLink Koolaid
(tounge in cheek), though we DO have some WL2K deployed in places.  We
wanted something that did MORE than just email.  We wanted a locally
controlled and widely managed network.  Something that ANY of a LARGE pool
of trained people can maintain and 'adjust' as needed during emergencies
-- no 'central' control.  We looked over all the various networking
schemes and decided to build a core network around JNOS.  The 'core' nodes
are attached to the Internet and configured as "Hamgate" gateways.  They
use IPIP encap routes (the encap.txt file you were looking for) and also
support NetROM/X1J4/K-net in places where it is easier to simply deploy
K-net TNC's (and occasional NetROM "stacks" at multi-ported locations).

   That said, please refer to [ WWW.MI-DRG.ORG ] for more maps and
information about the Michigan network(s).  Not all the maps and tables
are completely up to date nor do they show *everything*, so I will try to
summarize what we have deployed thus far...

   JNOS "Hamgates"       ==  ~20
   JNOS RF nodes         ==   23
   AX.25 stations        ==  ~45

   Red Cross sites       ==    5
   EOC sites             ==  ~12
   Hospital/Health care  ==    2 

   Planned new Hamgate deployments  ==  ~8
   Planned new JNOS RF nodes        ==  ~6

   Interest in the network continues to grow.  Albeit slowly at times, we 
seem to have intense growth spurts from time to time.  Recently I deployed 
3 nodes in 3 weeks, and hope to deploy at least 5 more throughout this 

   So to answer your question, yes, we have had an "increase" in Packet
activity in the past 4 years :) 

   This has all happened largely by getting out to radio club meetings and
stirring up new interest and already having a network in place for the new
users to get online and have FUN!  Another motivator to get people on the
air is to hold regular "nets".  We have 3 regularly scheduled weekly nets
on the CONVerse bridge (much like Instant Messager) that anyone can join
in from anywhere in the network.

   The majority of the network is TCP/IP based and supports the full
Internet suite of protocols.  So sending SMTP email is easy, as if FTP,
Finger, Telnet, and even HTTP (we even have a web-server serving up NWS
weather maps).  We *DO NOT* support the older hierarchical email
forwarding once used by the old store and forward BBS's.  Instead, we use
SMTP so email is delivered *directly* to it's destination over an
end-to-end TCP connection (then SMTP over the top of that -- JUST like the
Internet does!).  So this allows for the use of that "familiar interface"
a.k.a. Outlook Email to be directly interfaced to the network using

   This Summer we expect to deploy perhaps 20 new NetROM nodes.  And while
18 D-Star repeaters have been purchased and will be installed in 9
counties, and 20+ EOC's are being equipped with Icom-2820's... they are
for a VOICE network, and not a DATA network.  Digital "modulation" does 
not make a "digital" network :(

   As for the ENCAP.TXT statistics.  Let me summarize the contents of that 
routing table for you:

      The ENCAP.TXT file size has slowly become smaller over the years. 
      Much of this may be due to cleaning out the old gateways that no 
      longer exist.  But Barry K2MF could probably speak with greater 
      detail on this subject than I can...

        Sep 1998 it was 37k in size (text)
        Jan 1999 it was 39k
        Jan 2000 it was 36k
        Jan 2001 it was 33k
        Jan 2002 it was 28k
        Jan 2003 it was 30k
        Jan 2004 it was 28k
        Jan 2005 it was 26k
        Jan 2006 it was 21k
        Jan 2007 it was 19k
        Jan 2008 it was 16k, where it holds in size today

   o There are 278 individual routes in the table handled by 65 "Hamgates"

   o 49 of these route entries are inside Michigan (or 17%)
     Of the 65 Hamgates, 17 are in Michigan (or 26%)

   o 29 of the route entries are /32 (serving only *ONE* host)
     NOTE: That seems like a terrible waste 

   As for the 'elsewhere' in your original querry.  Check out the network
they've built in Slovenia!  Click on the yellow dots (in the map at the
URL below) to see the number of links and their speeds that each site has.


   There is a mix of 1.2 Mbps, 76k8, 38k4, 19k2 backbone links.  VERY
impressive and appears they designed and built all their own routers and
RF-modems, too!!!

   I would be interested in hearing a synopsis of your final report, if 
you would care to share it with the group.

      --- Jay Nugent  WB8TKL
          o ARRL Michigan Section "Digital Radio Group" (DRG)
          o Michigan AMPRnet IP Address Coordinator

In response to the issue about dumbing-down Amateur Radio, a fellow Packeteer said:
         "Would you like fries with that emergency communication?"
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