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This page is still being written. It will be changing over the coming weeks. Be sure to check back with us from time-to-time to see how we’re doing. Thank you for your patience.
Getting started – your first time with the portal
The first thing you’ll need to use the AMPR portal is a ham radio licence. AMPR resources are only available to licenced Amateur (“ham”) Radio operators. If you don’t have a ham licence, go get one! It’s not hard! Study a bit, pass the government tests, and you’re in.
But a word: lately we’ve been seeing a spate of people who have gotten the most basic ham licence apparently for the sole purpose of getting an AMPRNet address allocation. Often they apply for the allocation the same day their callsign is issued. Some wait a day or two. There’s nothing wrong with being a new ham and wanting to experiment with digital communications and networking — in fact, we encourage it. But keep in mind that this is an Amateur RADIO resource, not an amateur networking resource. If you’re not going to be doing your experimentation with radio-based networks, you’re in the wrong place.
The first step in using the portal is to make a login for yourself. What you need to create that are a username and password, and a few facts about yourself, such as your name, callsign, and location. Most folks use their callsign as their username, but you can pretty much choose what you like, as long as someone else isn’t already using it. For your password, use a “pass phrase” — they’re much more secure and they are what the portal expects. Read more about passphrase security here.
The process is much like that of signing up on just about every other Internet service. Go to https://portal.ampr.org and click on Register. Fill in the blanks, check the box to say that you agree to the terms and conditions, and a few moments later, an email will be sent to the mailbox you provided, and when you follow the instructions in that email, your registration will be complete. You should then be able to log in to the portal itself. Feel free to look around; there are a lot of built-in help screens and popups for your assistance.
Requesting an address allocation
First, decide how much address space you need. Although many folks can get along with just one address, people doing network experimentation usually need a small subnet, consisting of a few consecutive addresses — typically 8 or 16.
Next, log in to the portal using your username and passphrase. Find the subnet (partition of the AMPRNet) that corresponds to your location, by clicking on Networks, and working your way through the choices presented. For example, if you are in the UK, click on 18.104.22.168/16 for the United Kingdom, which will take you to the Regional Networks list. Look down that list, and pick the one most appropriate for you, then click on it — for example, 22.214.171.124/24 for the Outer Hebrides. Follow the instructions on that page until you reach the Request Allocation form.
The Request Allocation form
Before you can fill out this form, you need to know several data. The most important of these is how much netspace you want (ie., the number of addresses to request), and how those addresses will be connected to the Internet.
Select the number of addresses you want by using the pulldown Netmask requested menu. Choices here are in powers of two; pick the one that’s one step above the number of actual addresses you want. And be sure to account for the inability to use the first and last addresses in an address block, by adding two reserved addresses to the number of addresses you request.
This part is highly confusing to non-experts. Use this chart:
Next, enter a brief description, such as your callsign or city name.
For the Type pulldown menu, you almost certainly want “end user”;
the “Region” selection requires advance arrangement with the AMPRNet network administrators.
Connection Details can be a bit confusing. There are three choices; 99% of users will properly pick EXACTLY ONE of these because their new subnet will only be connected to the internet in ONE way.
Radio might be better labeled Other; it’s the choice when your connection isn’t an IPIP Tunnel nor is it Direct.
Most newcomers will be using the IPIP Tunnel connectivity (as explained here).
Sophisticated users who have arranged with their ISP to route their subnet directly (which is something only some ISPs will do) should chose the Direct (BGP) choice.†
And of course, those whose subnet allocation will not be connected at all to the Internet shouldn’t tick any of the boxes.
Next, please be kind enough to assist the volunteer who will be handling your allocation request by entering a brief note on what you’ll be doing – just a few words will help.
† Direct (BGP) requests are subject to further scrutiny and processing. Because a BGP-announced subnet is of necessity a /24 or larger, it represents a significant amount of network resource. It is also much more difficult for the AMPRNet administrators to supervise and control, so persons applying for a Direct subnet are subject to further scrutiny. They will be asked to both justify their request by explaining what they’re going to be doing with the netspace (i.e, to what purpose will it be put) and to fill out an additional information form.
The Direct request application will then be reviewed by the AMPRNet administrators before being approved. [One of the constant dangers that has to be watched for is unscrupulous persons who are using their ham radio licence to obtain network space that they will then use for commercial purposes, such as additional network addresses for an ISP. This is prohibited by the terms and conditions under which the netspace is allocated, and which the person agreed to when signing up for the portal, but there are people who are content to violate their word of honor and contracts, and some of them are hams.]