Creating a Community Network

Archived from groups: alt.internet.wireless (More info?)

I have been toying with the idea of creating a wireless community network.
Most people in this space are interested in sharing Internet, however I'd
like to do something a bit different.

My idea is to bring together local residents in much the same way as BBSes
did years ago. Applications such as chat, games, a community web page, etc
is what I have in mind. This would all be non-Internet based.

Looking at antennas, I was wondering what kind of range (very generally
speaking) something like an 18dbi omni mounted on my roof would give. Is
this even doable considering the "donut-shaped" pattern of an omni? Would
tress interfere too much?

Has anyone done anything like this?
4 answers Last reply
More about creating community network
  1. Archived from groups: alt.internet.wireless (More info?)

    Seeker wrote:

    > I have been toying with the idea of creating a wireless community network.
    > Most people in this space are interested in sharing Internet, however I'd
    > like to do something a bit different.
    >
    > My idea is to bring together local residents in much the same way as BBSes
    > did years ago. Applications such as chat, games, a community web page, etc
    > is what I have in mind. This would all be non-Internet based.
    >
    > Looking at antennas, I was wondering what kind of range (very generally
    > speaking) something like an 18dbi omni mounted on my roof would give. Is
    > this even doable considering the "donut-shaped" pattern of an omni? Would
    > tress interfere too much?
    >
    > Has anyone done anything like this?

    18dbi would be a VERY flat doughnut. It would be mostly a matter of luck
    to hit someone's antenna. Think more in terms of either a flexible 8dbi
    omni - or use multiple sector antennas, such as four 90° sector antennas.

    Up close, trees aren't a big deal. When I say up close, I mean like
    200-500 feet. Going out further, trees are not only a big deal, they are
    a deal-killer. Get a clear line of sight and you can go for miles with
    either setup. Throw in a few trees and you are dead in the water.
  2. Archived from groups: alt.internet.wireless (More info?)

    I'd be surprised if you'd find much interest in a local-only BBS type
    of wireless system. If, coupled with Internet access, you'd probably
    have something. But, if you do toss in Internet access, one thing you
    should be very careful of is --- Does your ISP agreement allow for it.
    Read the fine (and even, not so fine) print. Otherwise, you could find
    yourself in a heap of trouble, you never saw coming.

    Okay, on to the antenna question. In general, yes. trees (and anything
    else in the way) is going to limit your effective range. No matter how
    much gain your antenna is spec'ed for. Also keep in mind that (in
    general) the more gain an antenna is rated for, the narrower the
    beamwidth. For example, say for instance you mount an 18 dBi omni
    antenna (with no downtilt rating) 20 or more feet above your roof
    line. A very good percentage of the radiated power is going to be
    directed straight out in all directions (but, not downward where the
    people are).

    There are ways to counter this. 1) Buy an omni/gain antenna with
    downtilt. 2) Get a few of your neighbors to put up some repeaters on
    their homes. This may sound like a BIG deal. But, it doesn't need to
    be. I'm mounting D-Link DWL-2100AP's in NEMA 3R outdoor enclosures
    (and weather-proofing them). They're relatively inexpensive, and they
    work well as repeaters and bridges. If you have a number of them, well
    placed within your community, coverage would be vastly improved. Note
    that the root AP would have to have an unobstructed view of the
    repeaters. Of course, there are a few other ways (and more expensive).
    But, this would be the most simple and inexpensive.

    Chet
  3. Archived from groups: alt.internet.wireless (More info?)

    On Sun, 02 May 2004 18:38:04 GMT, "Seeker"
    <newsgroups@minusthespam.pcuptime.com> wrote:

    >I have been toying with the idea of creating a wireless community network.
    >Most people in this space are interested in sharing Internet, however I'd
    >like to do something a bit different.

    Make sure you have some thoughts about "bandwidth hogs."

    >I was wondering what kind of range (very generally
    >speaking) something like an 18dbi omni mounted on my roof would give.

    All depends upon where you live...etc...etc...etc...etc...there are
    theoretical specs....and also, how long your cable is and type...and
    output of your transceiver.


    >Would
    >tress interfere too much?

    Yep....line of sight.....

    >Has anyone done anything like this?
    >My idea is to bring together local residents in much the same way as BBSes
    >did years ago.

    http://www.austinwireless.net/cgi-bin/index.cgi/AboutUs

    http://www.bawug.org/about/
    >
  4. Archived from groups: alt.internet.wireless (More info?)

    On Sun, 02 May 2004 18:38:04 GMT, "Seeker"
    <newsgroups@minusthespam.pcuptime.com> wrote:

    >I have been toying with the idea of creating a wireless community network.
    >Most people in this space are interested in sharing Internet, however I'd
    >like to do something a bit different.
    >
    >My idea is to bring together local residents in much the same way as BBSes
    >did years ago. Applications such as chat, games, a community web page, etc
    >is what I have in mind. This would all be non-Internet based.
    >
    >Looking at antennas, I was wondering what kind of range (very generally
    >speaking) something like an 18dbi omni mounted on my roof would give. Is
    >this even doable considering the "donut-shaped" pattern of an omni? Would
    >tress interfere too much?
    >
    >Has anyone done anything like this?

    I don't think your idea will go very far (sorry). Without providing
    internet access, you are going to require your neighbors to have two
    network feeds - one for your local net and one for the internet. The
    roadblock will be getting the "non-computer-savvy" people set up to
    join both networks.

    If, OTOH, you were to create your own network with it's own domain on
    the internet, you could probably make more progress except that now
    you'll have to pay commercial rates for a connection to "the cloud"
    and bill your neighbors for their fair share while guaranteeing you
    can be a better provider than the one they already have.

    Greg
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