More Radio Technology Engineers, Packet Radio Hardware 2021, ARDC One More Time
NinoTNC scores over the software packet modems in ease of configuration, scalability, diagnostic tools (LEDs, scope hookups, TEST-TX button, built in packet TX and RX for link testing). You can have a dozen NinoTNCs on a network switch if needed. An average of about 2.5 radios per switch is about right for a successful VHF/UHF data network.
Software TNCs don't need hardware. Really? The recommended additional (sound-card) hardware has changed several times while I have paid attention, and the cabling requirements to hook up the radios don't usually come up in the conversation. If you can get a hardware TNC with USB connection for $25 (@quantity 10 or so), with all of the most excellent control/display built-in, is it really obvious that the software TNC (with its required sound hardware and home-brew cables, configuration complexities, zero LEDs of display) is that much better a deal?
I remember the AX.25 development in the eighties. I used to work on commercial X.25 at the time. The world has moved on. The nicest thing I can say about it is that it is easy to set up, at least on Windows, so it can be good for the average ham. Pushing baseband audio into an FM radio will always be limited and inefficient, and spending more money on interface hardware to a DIN connector, which the manufacturers now seem to want to add incompatibilities to, is only going to make the limitations slightly less so. All the big boys are using SDR these days, it appears, and moving data at speed. Of course, if your country administration limits your symbol rate for what reason I have no idea....
Thanks for the Breaking Defense link. I remember when Canada took that stuff semi-seriously.