Flyer: Introducing ARDC

What We Do

We encourage and support research regarding amateur radio, computer networking, and related topics.

Amateur radio operators who wish to research and experiment with radio-based tcp/ip networking need network space — IP addresses. We have a large IPv4 network space, some 12 million addresses from through, portions of which we assign to qualified amateur radio researchers and experimenters around the world, without charge. Our doing so enables researchers to experiment with actual networks in a way that is not practical using commercial Internet facilities.

Additionally, we promote scientific research into new protocols, mechanisms, and techniques for radio-based (“wireless”) networking, with particular emphasis on the Amateur Radio environment.

Experimenters are encouraged to interact and share their results and conclusions. Our primary mechanism for interaction is the 44net working group mailing list. We also publish papers, tutorials, and articles on our web site and wiki. We plan to participate in and sponsor seminars and workshops on Amateur Radio tcp/ip networking. And through our philanthropic arm, we fund grants and scholarships to organizations, groups, and individuals working in these and related areas.

Please note that assignment of blocks of addresses to hams who request space is NOT automatic. Each request is considered on its merits. One factor to keep in mind is that the larger the netspace requested, the more justification may be required before allocation will be made. It helps if you tell us what you’ll be using it for when you request some netspace, and how that will benefit Amateur Radio networking.

What We Don’t Do

We don’t charge for our services.

We’re not an Internet service provider. We don’t supply network services nor connectivity to the Internet; those are up to each client to arrange for themselves. Typically folks connect via another ham or contract with an established ISP such as a cable company or DSL provider.

We don’t sell addresses; you might consider an AMPRNet allocation to be in the nature of an extended loan of IP space, which is, of course, subject to our Terms of Service.

How It Works

Generally the AMPRNet allocations are blocks of addresses that are assigned to hams who are interested in radio networks. Blocks can be small, even a single address, but more typically are subnets of 8 or 16 addresses, suitable for individuals, or of 256 addresses, which is plenty for most ham groups. There can also be larger allocations for larger networks.

There are several ways to use the AMPRNet addresses that we have available.

Radio Links

Around the world there are hams and ham radio organizations who have established local subnets that they make available to other hams over various kinds of radio links. In countries where it is permitted, some provide access to the Internet. With their permission, you can join their part of the network.

Internet Tunnels

In the absence of radio links, it’s possible to route via point-to-point tunnels through the Internet. These route to each other forming a mesh. Each tunnel gateway router operator has a subnet allocated to his tunnel router. Via a list of the other tunnels with which they can connect, they route traffic for the other tunneled subnets over those tunnels. A tunnel gateway may also provide connectivity to the commodity Internet.

These tunnels work similarly to VPNs (Virtual Private Networks) except those are typically encrypted and AMPRNet IPIP tunnels usually aren’t.

CIDR Blocks

Hams and ham organizations that are technically qualified may be able to arrange, with prior approval from us, for peering with an Internet Service Provider for an allocated subnet of the AMPRNet, thus obtaining a direct connection to the Internet. (Typically there is a charge from the ISP for this service.) These subnets make use of Classless Internet Domain Routing and are known as CIDR blocks, with their peer connectivity advertised by their ISP using the Border Gateway Protocol [BGP]. We encourage these folks to provide radio links, tunnels, VPNs or other connectivity to fellow hams in their area.