No specific mission or purpose implied

Packet radio fits into an ever shrinking subset of the digital landscape, but VAPN considers certain packet network topologies viable enough to warrant this entire Virginia Packet Network concept.

The Virginia Packet Network is a tool to be shared by all licensed amateur radio operators. Other than obvious abuse or illegal activity, the VAPN is open to all individuals and groups including, but not limited to…

  • Individual hams;
  • Appalachian Trail patrons;
  • The local community in and around Fauquier county, Virginia;
  • Amateur radio clubs and groups;
  • NTS handlers;
  • Prepper communities;
  • Emcomm operations if it makes sense.

No one person or group has priority access to the VAPN. Therefore every individual and group has equal access to the resources provided by the VAPN equipment.

Let us not forget the key point of amateur radio is facilitating peer to peer communications… a key feature of a free society. Viva la liberte.

No emcomm prioritization

We consider the definition of Emcomm to be hams helping themselves as much as hams helping “served” groups and agencies.

Relying on amateur radio for truly urgent emergency communications may be possible, but may not be prudent in today’s information age. Hence the best amateur radio operators can likely do during some sort of fan-hitting moment is take care of their own needs and those of their ham brethren using that extra set of skills and gear they have from their hobby.

Any worthwhile group or agency requiring communications should have commercial grade backups to their backups already in place. Thus, this leaves amateur traffic from emcomm groups with little reason for higher priority access over individuals experiencing the same emergency conditions. All communication schemes are finite resources with limited throughput. There is simply no way for anyone to know if individuals’ messages are any less important than those from an emergency communications group. Packet radio is naturally multi-user by design providing equal access to its users. Given sufficient bandwidth, packet radio allows the two to mix. This fits well with our “no priority” goal.

Finite resource

Discussion with folks with previous experience with AX.25 packet systems reveal a common and troubling trait. It seems packet starts off well for some particular event, but gradually gets to a point where is gets in its own way and useful communication wanes. There’s no doubt the AX.25 protocol isn’t capable of stellar performance in crowded conditions. We can only hope our multi-frequency, multi-port approach and high speed ports mitigate this somewhat. Additional measures may require limiting max users of each port to some small number. Only time will tell how well this works.

No expectation of privacy whatsoever

This is amateur radio. Complying with the United States FCC amateur radio rules, the VAPN shall not obfuscate any data passing through it. Because of this, there is no reason not to freely share any logs and stored messages with any and all requests from government authorities or courts who ask for such information.