Wireless Internet via Community Network

From Chris Jackson
Thursday, May 1, 2003
Although I'm not a Hebden Bridge resident - I'm involved in the consume network and have two active nodes in Bingley and Shipley, and have given advice to ls29.net etc.

Your calculations are correct but fail to take into consideration the fact that Internet connections and web-browsing in particular are bursty type data transfers and the likeliness of all 200 people using their connection at once is little.

You are correct in stating that one AP with 200 people connected could be disasterous, indeed 4 AP's as you point out may also be a little squashed, however AP's are so cheap (70) that you could aim to install AP's all around the village.

Your bottle-neck is always going to be your 'net connection, so you would obviously use a caching DNS server, and possibly cache HTTP transfers as well. Both of these are simple to do using Linux and some free tools. You could build a server like this from brand-new gear for max 300.

The thing to remember is that even if you purchased a 2mb leased line between you all - the line would only be as contended as individual ADSL lines. Everyone seems to forget that standard ADSL lines have a 50:1 contention.

The only real problem to this type of network is that users would be unable to host servers as you are unlikely to be able to get hold of 200 routable IP addresses (you can try!), so everyone will have to be NAT'd (again - easy to do in Linux).

Security of the network is something to keep in mind, however you could easily use PPTP to link your clients to the Internet gateway, to protect yourselves from people who want to abuse your connection.

You are right in saying you should keep pressuring BT - but at the end of the day - if no-one else is interested you won't move anywhere.

Good luck with your project - I wish you all well. Take a look at www.ls29.net to see another village - just like you - unable to get ADSL who have gone the wifi route. forum-subject: In answer to Mark O'Leary name: Chris Jackson