Mesh Network

The Wellington amateur radio mesh network extends from the far reaches of the Kapiti Coast to Wellington City and up the Hutt Valley to Mt Climie and into the Wairarapa.

Mesh coordination

The mesh is maintained by an enthusiastic group of mesh users (the Mesh Coordination Committee) with a representative from each of the six Wellington NZART branches.   While the mesh network predates RemoteDX Inc, much of the impetus for the mesh network was generated by the idea of remote HF sites, and RemoteDX Inc is a strong supporter and funder of the mesh.

Mesh software and compatibility

The mesh is currently operating on AREDN software. Download the AREDN software from AREDN.org suitable for your device (most of us are using Ubiquiti devices).  Those using Linksys devices will need to install Broadband Hamnet (www.broadband-hamnet.org).  This may not be compatible with the Wellington mesh in future, so we don’t recommend purchase of a Linksys device.    BBHN also uses more bandwidth.

Channel use

Channel use  on the Wellington amateur radio mesh is currently as follows:

Wellington, Ngaio/Khandallah, and Kapiti Coast:  Channel 3
Eastern Tawa, Porirua and Titahi Bay:  Channel 5
North of Mt Field (Kapiti Coast):   Channel 7

Mesh backbone

A mesh backbone is being constructed using RemoteDX funds and donated link units.  The backbone will NOT use mesh software, but will use a set of fixed point-to-point connections (with TDMA software) and maximise throughput.  The mesh by contrast is designed to be “self healing” and “self configuring”, but this adds overhead (as it is a half duplex system) that effectively limits the number of “hops” that can be achieved for usable bandwidth.  The backbone, by contrast,  is designed to minimise the number of “hops” across the network .  Every mesh node should ideally be just one or two hops from the backbone.

The backbone will use high points at Mt Field, Mt Climie, Colonial Knob and Kaiwharara Hill (Ngaio).  Other backbone nodes may be added in future.  The nodes will interconnect as follows:  Mt Field to Colonial Knob, Mt Field to Mt Climie, Colonial Knob to Mt Climie, Mt Climie to Ngaio and Colonial Knob to Ngaio via a Johnsonville link site (2 hops).

Upgrading your mesh node software
Details on software upgrading can be found on the mesh website (http://diskstation/wordpress on the mesh).  We recommend upgrading to the latest version of AREDN (v3.16.1 as at December 2017) in order to maximise mesh performance.

If you want assistance with upgrading contact either Ted (ZL2TB) or Malcolm ZL2UDF.

Purchase of new Ubiquiti Devices

Be aware that current Ubiquiti devices are  incompatible with the mesh.  AREDN is working on software that will work with these devices in future.  Hold off purchasing a new device for now.   Affordable and compatible Ubiquiti Airgrids are available for purchase.  Contact Mike ZL1AXG, Richard ZL2FY or John ZL2HD for details of mesh units for sale.