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COMMUNET Home

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COMMUNET  April 1997, Week 3

COMMUNET April 1997, Week 3

Subject:

Re: Wireless Community Network Examples

From:

Wally Bowen <[log in to unmask]>

Date:

Thu, 17 Apr 1997 18:06:38 -0400 (EDT)

Content-Type:

TEXT/PLAIN

Parts/Attachments:

Parts/Attachments

TEXT/PLAIN (75 lines)

Bob -- Here's some language from our recent TIIAP grant application 
describing what we call the Wireless Public Bandwidth Cooperative.  
Following that excerpt is one describing our overall network 
architecture.  I hope this helps.

Wally Bowen, Mountain Area Information Network (MAIN)

MAIN has discovered that it can affordably upgrade from 64k to T-1 lines 
in remote counties by creating a cost-sharing "bandwidth co-op" using 
wireless “spread spectrum” technology.  This low-power, unlicensed radio 
technology has a line-of-sight range of approximately three miles.

Line-of-sight wireless may seem ill-suited for a rugged mountain region.  
However, the mountains work in our favor by causing public agencies 
(county government, schools, sheriff’s office, rural health clinic, 
social services, economic development, etc.) to cluster in town centers 
and mountain valleys.

By placing an omni-directional antenna on the county courthouse, MAIN can 
reach half a dozen public agencies or more with T-1 bandwidth.  Upgrading 
to T-1 in remote Graham County costs $1,600 a month.  Spreading this cost 
over half a dozen agencies makes T-1 speed affordable for local agencies, 
covers a major portion of MAIN's bandwidth costs, and helps keep 
citizens' user fees low.  With no monthly recurring costs, a wireless 
Public Bandwidth Cooperative is a one-time capital investment of 
approximately $10,000.  

How MAIN Works

The architecture of the Mountain Area Information Network is designed to 
enable citizens in every county -- no matter how rural and remote -- to 
access the Internet with a local phone call.  Therefore, MAIN has located 
a server in each local calling area, which in all cases but one, means a 
server in each county (only Cherokee and Clay counties share a common 
local dialing area).

These servers are linked via 64k lines (roughly $225 a month per line) to 
the BellSouth connectionless data switch (CDS) in Asheville.  Traffic 
from the rural counties is then routed via a T-1 from the CDS ($521 a  
month) to a T-1 link to the Internet leased from MCI (the $2,800 a month 
cost is split 50-50 with a private computer firm in Asheville).  Each 
server has a modem pool of U.S. Robotics Courier modems, with a 
user-to-modem ratio of 12-to-1 to ensure satisfactory access.  The 
monthly cost of a dial-in line is about $45.

The operating system for MAIN's "distributed computing" network is LINUX, 
the shareware form of UNIX.  This versatile, low-maintenance operating 
system enjoys substantial grassroots development and support, and enables 
optimum scalability and interoperability.  The ease of its operating 
environment enables remote administration of the network, thereby 
avoiding costly on-site service.  This is a major advantage for a 
community network in a large, mountainous region. 

END

On Thu, 17 Apr 1997, Bob Pauls wrote:

> Our community network employs a spread spectrum radio link to provide
> Internet connectivity to an area elementary school. Next month I speak
> at the Illinois Community Networks Conference. I am interested in
> hearing from any other networks that employ wireless technology in any
> aspect of their network operations so that I might point to them as
> examples of innovation in connectivity.
> 
> I would appreciate at minimum a brief paragraph from respondents about
> what and how they use the technology.    Thanks in advance.
> 
> Bob Pauls
> Shawnee Free-Net
> Carbondale, IL
> http://www.shawnee.org
> 
> 
> 

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