And we continue to learn. Wow, there is so much to this MESH networking endeavor, and much to learn that is so unexpected!
Today, I thought we could enhance the northern section of the Anchorage area MESH network by pressing the NNE facing 120 sector at ANMC into useful (rather than static) service. That meant I needed to change frequencies on the unit to match that of the other nodes in North Anchorage and Site Summit, and to also pull the bandwidth down to match these other nodes (from 20 down to 10 MHz).
The result, great connections to EARS and Site Summit, as expected, and giving us redundant and backup paths for the network. But, there was more. An unexpected development. To my surprise, I
could see the remote node at KL4A near Yetna. What?! That shouldn’t have happened…..well, so I thought. Not only could I see it, but the signal strength was better than that received from that same node at Site Summit! Wow…..but there was virtually no throughput. Why? I needed to increase the “distance” setting on the ANMC node. It’s a speed of light thing that has bit me in the butt before (I’d be happy to talk to you about it if you’re really curious). At any rate, I increased the distance setting to just over 44 miles and BAM!, 18.9 Mbps throughput! So not only did we improve the performance of the Anchorage network locally, but we ended up with a BETTER and redundant link from the Anchorage area out to Yetna. Wonders never cease.
UPDATE – 3/16/2019: So as it turns out, this interesting path between the ANMC node and Yetna comes and goes….and it mostly goes. It appears that we had some sort of phenomena that provided enhanced propagation between these two sites on the day of the configuration. As I monitored the path throughout the day, the signals slowly faded until finally, the path went away. Perhaps it was some sort of tropospheric ducting, or scatter, or something to do with an inversion layer, etc. One can’t be sure, especially me, but clearly there was something atmospheric at work here. It has come and gone since, but never seems to sustain itself. On the other hand, the link between Yetna and Site Summit has been sold since installation.
If you’d like to learn more about MESH networking and/or want to get involved. Stop on down to the RSOC on a Working Wednesday (usually from 6ish to 9ish pm), or on Saturday (usually from 10ish to 2 or 3ish). Or, drop us a line at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Kent Petty, KL5T
AARC MESH Network Manager