“Airgap” refers to a computer (or network) that is physically disconnected from a larger network and the Internet.

This word originated in the pre-wifi days, when there was literally air between machines; that is, no connecting communication cables. Nowadays, it also refers to a lack of radio (wifi or otherwise) communication. That is, it is complete physical isolation.

Airgapped systems are often desirable in situations where Computer Security is important. For instance:

  • Handling sensitive or classified information
  • Backups and archiving

Tools for Communicating Offline and in Difficult Circumstances can facilitate airgapping. NNCP in particular can be useful.

The page Dead USB Drives Are Fine: Building a Reliable Sneakernet talks about using NNCP to build a reliable airgapped network.

Keeping your (digital) bits secure.

Keeping your data safe in the event of a disaster or compromise is important. That’s why we back up.

“OK,” you’re probably thinking. “John, you talk a lot about things like Gopher and personal radios, and now you want to talk about building a reliable network out of… USB drives?”

I sometimes see people read about NNCP and wonder “This sounds great! But… what can I do with it?” This page aims to answer those questions.

I loaded up this title with buzzwords. The basic idea is that IM systems shouldn’t have to only use the Internet. Why not let them be carried across LoRa radios, USB sticks, local Wifi networks, and yes, the Internet? I’ll first discuss how, and then why.