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[OCLUG-Tech] Re: [oclug] Free Wireless project in Ottawa/Gatineau


Interesting. I as well was thinking of a public WIFI network around the city after reading the Classif WIRELESS HACKS book one day in chapters. There are already lots of open ports but most people don't recognize they are open to the world.

One possibility would be to follow suit with other free wireless projects like http://socalfreenet.org/ and add the FREENET philosophy. This would have an allinged philosophy of universal access to the Internet. The basic premis is FREE ACCESS like http://www.ilesansfil.org.

So a few months ago I approached NCF.ca to see if I had an audience. No Response yet, but perhaps I will follow up with them. The reason I was thinking this route is that they now offer DSL service to the home. Their policy allows and somewhat encourages their users to share their networkwork connection and setup servers. A static IP only costs an additional $10/month. So with WIFI this would add another way for people to connect.

This way we have a compatible backbone for the wireless network and don't have to worryr about some ISP's rasing a stink for not reading the fine print on sharing connections and servers. I am only familiar with Sympatico and they make servers a challenge and are unclear as to sharing network connections. We also have an audience being other Freenet users and could easily setp a SIG and webspace to support the project. WIFI Capture Portals could be configured to either allow access by NCF users or seprate hotsport users. Plenty of options.

With affordable internet that uses an open polic like NCF it becomes quite effective to propogate WIFIF hotspots. As socalfreenet has done it is possible to get property owners like Appartment buildings and business comples to house a hotspot. Minimal upkeep cost and they also benifit for the expertise of volunteers. Imagine having legit WIFI for the whole downtown core. Or hotspots all along the transit way

My personal interests lie in two realms. Being a geographer I am interested in starting a mapping project of WIFI use in Ottawa and then make the maps and analysis availbale to the public. Various products would indicate publicly open hotspots that are meant to be public. I will be using the Ottawa GRASS (GIS) Users group as a vehicle for this data when we get to that point. If you're interested in the mapping project check out the site and join the mailing list. http://cemml.carleton.ca/OGUG/

Another WIFI project I would be interested in playing with is trying to plan and design a route for a cross city, closed network via WIFI. This of course would use GIS (geographic Information systems) to plan the optimum line of site path. It would also give people a chance to test their home brew antennas, setup open source bases hotspot capture points and practice Linux network admin on a closed network.

The network could aslo be open, but that could encourage cheating on spanning the network. Seamless linear coverage From Barrhaven (my area of course) to the river and Kanata to Orleans. Then we find some points to jump the river with high gain antennas and go Aylmer to Hull and onto Gatineau. perhaps push up towards Chelsea. Chuck in some WIFI hotspots and you have a pretty good coverage. Some spider legs spanning from the network cover the hypotenuse. The process is the important part, not the end product with this project.

We should keep posted on each others progress, or heck, cooperate in some manner. Fancy Concept.

At http://groups.yahoo.com/group/osf_ow/ there is a bilingual discussion group on the creation of a project similar to "Île sans fil" (http://wwww.ilesansfil.org/) in the Gatineau/Ottawa area.

These folks have been to Ottawa twice to give talks about their project. Their first talk is here:


In brief, they provide the technical expertise and support for wireless access points in cafes/bars/etc so that any may use the wifi. That's something I'd like to see in Ottawa.