Weird IP networks: Internet via birds and ham radios

If you’re reading this, you have internet access.

You probably have it either through a local cable or fibre ISP or through your cell phone provider. We all have one (usually both) of these.

Speedy. Reliable (mostly). Boring.

What happens when that infrastructure goes down? Maybe the power goes out somewhere along the network. Maybe a cell tower gets attacked by Godzilla. Who knows? Dangers lurk around every corner.

In those cases, when your traditional network connection fails you, you’re going to need a backup. Something to get you back up, online and moving data around. And, what the heck, we might as well do it all with as much flair and pizzazz as possible.

There are two options that jump out at me as ideally suited for just such a Godzilla-based-network-outage scenario.

The first is AMPRNet. The AMateur Packet Radio Network.

At first, sure, it sounds like a crazy idea. But did you know that the TCP/IP protocol was in use via amateur radio (ham) before the internet was accessible to the public? It’s true!

In fact, back in the 1970s, the entire “44” class A block of IP addresses (example: “”) was assigned specifically for use via amateur radio. Because of that, this is sometimes called “Network 44.”

Believe it or not, many people use it to this very day. HamWAN, in western Washington state, has set up what it calls the “Puget Sound Data Ring.” Essentially a bunch of sites, all around that region, are connected up to AMPRNet.

Super cool.


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