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

  • Subject: [OCLUG-Tech] Re: [Ocuug] Free Wireless project in Ottawa/Gatineau
  • From: Allan Fields <afields [ at ] afields [ dot ] ca>
  • Date: Mon, 28 Nov 2005 02:20:32 -0500
On Fri, Nov 25, 2005 at 06:27:50AM -0500, Dan Langille wrote:
> At http://groups.yahoo.com/group/osf_ow/ there is a bilingual 
> discussion group on the creation of a project similar to "?le 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:
>   http://www.bsdcan.org/2004/papers/wireless.pdf
> 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.

Community Wireless:

Similar was discussed at ORCNet meetings back in 2001-2002 time-frame
for extending wireless to rural communities.  There was more interest
before Bell and Rogers started to bring DSL/Cable to rural communities
(for real vs. mail/telephone blitz ad-campaigns w/ no actual service
offerings to show).


The idea was that demand could be aggregated by region and a wireless
grid/mesh would be built off a number of wireless backbone connections
creating a city-wide 802.11 cellular network in a star topology.
(At the ISP rather than last-mile level)

Having a single tower to service a town/region (cellular) seemed the
most feasible implementation path vs. the wireless mesh model. 
Perhaps this fits best with an ISP model, though admittedly they
lacked the resources to put in place all the necessary towers in
time.  There was 1-2 years of dithering and finally Bell and Rogers
got their acts together (money flowed) to achieve the end result of
rural high speed being a reality.

I still have ORCNet original mailings if anyone is interested, or
you can subscribe to the group.  A lot of what was being done was
seeking funding from City, Province, Federal government (grants)
and working with ISPs to build towers and put in place wireless
links into the rural centers around Ottawa.   A lot of it was business
development cases (which community could make the case because of
X and Y business needing high speed rural/how many homes, etc.)

Was it coordination, or just reluctance/lack of expertise that kept
people from doing this themselves as early as 2000-2001?  In
California (Silicon Valley) it was being pioneered way back in late
90s.  I think this was discussed in some of those formative ORCNet
meetings, many people just wanted access but didn't have the
telecom/wireless know-how even though they were tech savy.  Since
then things are much better with many open access points all over
(any populated centre) and automated mesh setups in off-the-shelf
wireless router hardware.

Storm's cellular wireless network was (is?) also being built out
to service communities, at regular $40-50 rates for home wireless
service.  This is one of the reasons people didn't start their own
network, since it was affordable enough with a commercial ISP for
service areas outside/supplementary to DSL/Cable.

- Fun Stuff -

There are a few new start-ups which are involved in community wireless
and rural wireless specifically in the Ottawa area.  The same could
be done city-wide using off the shelf hardware (-- or better, more
powerful/higher gain antennas) for free/on donation basis.  This
would be interesting to see, I agree.  You still need the commercial
ISPs in their somewhere and someone is going to pay for the BW.

To make this entirely free, hooking into NCF would be a nice idea,
doing email and the like, though they have limited resources, so
it should complement rather than take away from their existing
resources/bandwidth/staff hours.

If everything worked perfectly I could help coordinate:
	Kanata (Terry Fox, Richardson Side Road area past Centrum;
	        Terry Fox, March Road - Kanta North Business Park)
	Barrhaven (Greenbank and Fallowfield area)
	Calabogie Lake (Lanark County)
It would be easier to justify some of these locations with potential
earnings.  But I understand the point of a freenet is at most donations

Does anyone want to coordinate on a warchalking database for Ottawa?
I've been on the road a lot lately and have found some great places
to hop on the Internet in my car.  It really helps getting the right
gear, with a Orinocco w/ external 7dBi antenna I've driven down
Eagleson and streamed Internet radio in realtime.

A couple of friends places were the same, Internet radio and SSH
like it was on the FM dial.  (Man those stations are powerful and
they jam so many into the same band pumping out the same stuff.)
I've yet to automate this in FreeBSD and/or Linux so that I can get
reliable service over tunneling via open access points as they come
and go.  Ideally it should just queue packets (lag out) until the
next access point is auto-tuned and do encryption/encapsulation for
full VPN.  Two cards could allow pre-scanning while one is operational.
Forget XM. ;)

BTW: one of my home routers is set to SSID: Default

Any ideas?

> -- 
> Dan Langille : http://www.langille.org/
> BSDCan - The Technical BSD Conference - http://www.bsdcan.org/
> _______________________________________________
> OCUUG mailing list
> OCUUG [ at ] listserv [ dot ] storm [ dot ] ca
> http://listserv.storm.ca/mailman/listinfo/ocuug

Allan Fields <afields [ at ] afields [ dot ] ca> - Ottawa, Canada
  Himeji Systems                     http://himejisystems.com
  Afields Research / Systems Lab     http://afields.ca
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