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Make Your Own DSL

michael posted more than 12 years ago | from the send-me-some-while-you're-at-it dept.

The Internet 272

Logic Bomb writes: "Robert Cringley's latest is a striking set of instructions on how to create your own DSL service, or even your own "socialist Internet Service Provider". A cookie goes to whomever manages to implement this first! :-D" Cringley is on a roll.

cancel ×


fuckin a. (-1, Offtopic)

Fecal Troll Matter (445929) | more than 12 years ago | (#2214150)

dsl own0rz, d00dz.

Re:fuckin a. (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2214286)

fetid fetal fecal fungal matter
foetid foetal fecal fungal matter

221956th post!!! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2214154)


wait a second... (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2214156)

second post that is


More like he's been rolling something. (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2214159)

The guy's a crackpot. Long on bravado, short on substance. He's a small step above Katz. A VERY small step.

Re:More like he's been rolling something. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2214264)

Yeah, that article was full of 'just do this' info for the masses that makes it sound easy, but for all intensive purposes, would take forever to actually accomplish. Sure it's a neat idea, but it's nothing like just changing the oil in your car. I say even Katz has much more valid social points to talk about than Cringley has technical ones to talk about.

Re:More like he's been rolling something. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2214288)

damn it. There is NO saying that goes "for all intensive purposes". It is "for all intents and purposes". You should sound like a moron when you say "intensive purposes"

Re:More like he's been rolling something. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2214311)

Hear hear! Thank god someone else recognizes this. I feeling like punching people in the face when they say "For all intensive purposes". IMNSHO, use of this phrase is the fastest way to being labelled an idiot.

Re:More like he's been rolling something. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2214413)

Hey, for a while (back in high school) I used to say/print "intensive purposes" myself. Couldn't recall if I had ever seen it written out, and when most people say it, it does sounds like "intensive purpose."
And if you stop to think about it, it kinda makes sense -- "intensive" purpose must be all the more than just a normal purpose.

All I am saying, is give the guy a break. It is an easy mistake to make. I just needed someone to point it out to me, and I corrected.

Now, if he says it again, he is fair game....

Socialist Internet Service Provider? (2, Funny)

SpanishInquisition (127269) | more than 12 years ago | (#2214173)

Gives a new meaning to "Code Red"....

Verizon DSL (1)

siokaos (107110) | more than 12 years ago | (#2214175)

For those of you who didn't know, a Westell (Infotel) Modem contains the Alcatel chipset, with two ARM processors, that are firmware upgradable. If anyone has WAP, or other cool firmware hacks, contact me.

The chips themselves are:
Virata Helium (VC8410-PQc 05)
Alcatel Dynamite (0023 SAMB ARM)

Wow, it's that "easy"...? (1)

nougatmachine (445974) | more than 12 years ago | (#2214181)

I'm hardly a neophyte when it comes to technical stuff, but a lot of this article went over my head. Am I alone here? Maybe I'm just tired right now.

Re:Wow, it's that "easy"...? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2214224)

Yes, you are alone.

We are all alone.

um, yeah, whatever (2, Interesting)

kaisyain (15013) | more than 12 years ago | (#2214183)

Notice that part where he says:

So now we have a two megabit circuit but no Internet...But to turn that into an Internet connection, one end has to be plugged to an Internet backbone. There are many ways to do this. Put one end of the circuit at your business. Put one end at your school. Put one end in the machine room at a local ISP.

You're kinda missing the whole if you think this article offers any useful information. Broadband without access to the internet is somewhat less than useful for the majority of people. And having DSL between me and Jimmy down the block doesn't do much good when it's just slamming into my 56k modem to get to the "internet".

Re:um, yeah, whatever (1)

siokaos (107110) | more than 12 years ago | (#2214203)

The point is, is that you can have your own GATEWAY to the internet.

Also, it is insanely cool to play quake with the kid down the road (if executed properly)

IMHO not worth the effort, but Intranets are looking nicer and nicer as the internet gets more commercial...

Re:um, yeah, whatever (3, Funny)

PCM2 (4486) | more than 12 years ago | (#2214221)

Yeah... I love the part where he says "put the other end on the Internet backbone at your business." Okay, everyone ... get out your hard hats, we're stringin' circuits!

Oh, but wait -- if it's "my" business, aren't I paying for the magic "Internet backbone" there, too? He must mean someone else's business. But isn't that a little ethically dubious? Nah, I guess not... we're getting over on Da Man, after all. Damn telcos! I'll show 'em...

Re:um, yeah, whatever (1)

Jaeger (2722) | more than 12 years ago | (#2214401)


  1. You have a business. Since you read slashdot, odds are you're a geek. Since you're a geek, odds are you already have a really fast connection at work, paid for by work.
  2. You have a home. Your home and your business are at different locations.
  3. You want to use your super-cool high-speed access at home.

Conclusion: Get a dry pair between your business and your house. Sure, you are paying for broadband access once, but not twice.

(If you telecommute, you might even be able to call it a business expense.)

Re:um, yeah, whatever (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2214222)

Which part of But to turn that into an Internet connection, one end has to be plugged to an Internet backbone. didn't you understand? The article clearly states that one end of the connection has to be connected to a fat pipe.

If you haven't read Cringley before, he's in an area where he can't get DSL access. However, if you can talk a business (who has a T-1 or better) or a local ISP to let you set one end of your connection there, then you're in business.

Nowhere in the article does he even suggest connecting it to a modem.

Re:um, yeah, whatever (1)

disc-chord (232893) | more than 12 years ago | (#2214228)

Yea really... This is about as usefull as the classic BBS text file on how to assemble a nuclear weapon.

"Step 3) Okay, now you need to do is steal some weapons grade plutonium"

yea, okay... Thanks for that tid bit.

Re:um, yeah, whatever (2, Informative)

DeadPrez (129998) | more than 12 years ago | (#2214234)

One thing you have to remember is most T-1, DSL, etc contracts specifically state you can not resell bandwidth. If you were going to do this you better make sure whatever you use for your uplink legally lets you resell bandwidth (99% of the time its going to be illegal).

Re:um, yeah, whatever (2, Interesting)

SagSaw (219314) | more than 12 years ago | (#2214282)

I Am Not And Never Ever Hope To Be A Lawyer, but it seems like you and your 20 best friends (and probably the landlord as well) could form some kind of legal entity which could then contract for business T-1 access.

its called a Co-Op (3, Insightful)

cybercuzco (100904) | more than 12 years ago | (#2214238)

Yes, except that then you coulld say, start up a local internet co/op in your neighborhood/apartment/housing project. Offer service for 30 bucks a month and if you get enough takers (approx 17 subscribers) you can afford a REAL T1 line to the net. With only 20 or so subscribers, chances are good that when you load up a webpage youre the only one doing so at that time. As long as no one is hosting linux distros, youre golden (and of course you can have a clause in your service contract to charge for thruput). Everyone gets cheap high speed internet access, and you get to make some money on the side.

No, that is the point... (3, Insightful)

2nd Post! (213333) | more than 12 years ago | (#2214250)

I think his point is valid.

If I had a dry pair to your house, we could shuttle info back and forth very effectively, right? If we both had a 802.11b point, then so could our neighbors, for about a couple miles or whatever the range is. You now have 30, 40 people hooked up to each other.

If one other person in each of these clouds also had a dry pair to another house elsewhere, and their own bridge, they could connect pairs of clouds... linked dumbbells, as it were. Each point would link up 10 or so houses, until a grassroots net could spring up, catering exclusively to the town. All it would take is one individual, perhaps working collectively with 20 other people, to get a high bandwidth connection, say a T1, or whatever, even a 'normal' 2mb DSL line, and this gathering of clouds hooked up by dry lines would be connected to the larger 'net. He doesn't mention this in his article, but it's a reasonable next step.

It's about communal, grassroots, bottoms up, emergent behavior type internet, and not the traditional top down subscription based allocated and doled up bandwidth that is the norm.

Re:No, that is the point... (1)

ethereal (13958) | more than 12 years ago | (#2214315)

I like it - it's emergent just like the original 'net was (in a Cold War military-industrial complex sort of way). You don't subscribe to a service, you just toss a line to whomever you want to talk to.

I think population density might be the killer here - you have to have enough people close together that the interconnects aren't too expensive. Also, eventually somebody has to pay for a gateway to the "real" 'net, and that's still going to cost you. It would take a while for a locally-organized coop to have enough home-grown content that most of the traffic would be retained within the coop rather than going out through the expensive gateway.

But for a densely populated neighborhood of mostly wealthy and/or geeky folks, this would be a great setup!

Re:No, that is the point... (3, Insightful)

sbeitzel (33479) | more than 12 years ago | (#2214377)

Hmm. Sounds kinda like UUCP. Takes me back to 1990, when I graduated from university, moved to San Francisco, and went looking for an email & news account someplace. Wound up at wet!sbeitzel, because I couldn't find an ISP whom I was willing to pay -- they charged a LOT. wet was connected periodically to Netcom, and eventually I got a Netcom account. Shell access, all the time, and a nice fat pipe to the rest of the Internet. Woohoo!

In case you hadn't noticed, there's a reason people don't do UUCP BBSes so much anymore. Sure, Fidonet still exists, and UUCP support still gets built when I rebuild world on my FreeBSD boxen, but that's not my primary method of interaction with the Internet, nor is it for most folks...because it's slow and cranky. Let's hear it for convenience.

Re:No, that is the point... (2)

John_Booty (149925) | more than 12 years ago | (#2214457)

Each point would link up 10 or so houses, until a grassroots net could spring up, catering exclusively to the town.

You have a good point, a cooperative net like that could conceivably work, BUT...

All it would take is one individual, perhaps working collectively with 20 other people, to get a high bandwidth connection, say a T1, or whatever, even a 'normal' 2mb DSL line

I think you're pretty naive if you think a T1 or 2-megabit DSL line is going to offer enough bandwidth to serve this whole neighborhood or town. Let's see... a T-1 offers you a symmetrical 1.5Mbits/sec, which is about 150kilobytes of data per second. And you want to service a whole town with that?

By the time you've got 30 people on this wonderful grass-roots network of yours, each person's slice of the internet bandwidth is roughly equivalent to a 56K modem. Of course, file-sharing and LAN gaming amongst the members of your little guerilla network would still be pretty zippy. :)

See, the article is great, but TOTALLY glosses over the fact that you need a fat pipe to the internet to make this work. And there's really no way of getting around The Man to make that work.

Re:um, yeah, whatever (1)

Tensor (102132) | more than 12 years ago | (#2214257)

Well.. sorta, cos now you and jimmy can split the cost of an internet DSL connection (or a cable, or a T-3) running to either house. Which would still be more than what you pay for 56k but it should be faster.

Especially if you have a small office near your house (it doenst talk about distance limits but i am assuming around 10~20mi) and you can share the bandwidth with it.

Re:um, yeah, whatever (1)

twilightzero (244291) | more than 12 years ago | (#2214320)

I heartily agree - the article is long on how to interconnect everything around you but short on how to actually GET to the net to use all that insane bandwidth. You'll have insane bandwidth to your neighbor but probably nothing going out. If you connect to the phone company, they'll probably charge you the equivalent of a T-1 line. If you connect to your office or school, you're illegally stealing bandwidth, which is something I don't think very many people want to get into long term, especially if you're opening an ISP. Word would get around pretty darn fast and people would definitely be checking you out. What it DOES seem he is proposing in the article is something like an alternate internet. The phrase
What if everyone got a dry pair, made an Internet connection, then offered wireless service to their neighbors. It's a beautiful thing.
seems to imply that, instead of connecting to the existing net, why don't we make our own? Which would be cool except that not 1/10000% of the people have the needed expertise, money, or even desire to do such a thing.

Re:um, yeah, whatever (2, Interesting)

4mn0t1337 (446316) | more than 12 years ago | (#2214364)

This is no indication of what the distance this kind of thing is capable of. Does anyone know? Is it the same as a DSL line from the phone company?

Well, let us presume that it is about the same as what the phone company offers, which is around 17,500 ft. (NOTE: This max distance is not the limit of transmission, but rather about as far as the phone company feels they can guaranty to provide the minimum data rate. They could extend service, but would not be able to provide a stable data rate above their minimum.)
So, what happens if you live 30,500 feet away or even 18,000 ft away. Either way you aren't getting DSL. Unless you use Robert's idea and hook into a friend. Then you all of a sudden can have a distance from the C.O. of up to 35,000 ft (and even further if you don't care about 384k minimum).

And, what about sharing the costs with someone. Let's say that you and your friend are *both* within range and could otherwise get DSL. Rather than both of you getting basic DSL with variable IP's for 50$/month, one of you can get enhanced (5 *fixed* IP's) for 65$/month, tack on the dry pair art 15$, and split the costs. This makes it 10$ *less* each and both of you get 2.5 *fixed* IP's.

And you have the added bouns of fraggin' the crap out of one another from your own homes without having to packup your server and tote it anywhere.

Re:um, yeah, whatever (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2214429)

Please do not attempt to reproduce.

Tech Questions... (1)

Demoknight (66150) | more than 12 years ago | (#2214197)

What exactly is the technology being talked about in this article? Could anyone point me to more technical specification of this dry line technology and how it was used in the past or is still used in a commercial arena?

Re:Tech Questions... (2)

Rimbo (139781) | more than 12 years ago | (#2214225)

It's the same technology you use for your analog telephone, or that the burglar alarm companies use to learn of break-in attempts. Back in the days before the internet, it was how a business with two buildings in the same general area (but too far to walk) could keep in touch on their internal phone system.

Some of these wires probably powered the telegraph many decades ago.

Re:Tech Questions... (2, Interesting)

curmudgeon42 (223612) | more than 12 years ago | (#2214273)

It is SDSL technology. And to learn more, I would check out "DSL for Dummies," which is actually a decent book. I worked in Network Ops for a year or so at a national DSL provider, and you'd be surprised how many of our engineers had a copy of that one. :-)

Re:Tech Questions... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2214389)

Thus explains the rise and rapid fall of many DSL providers....

Tried to Order one of these ckt's (3, Informative)

bruceg (14365) | more than 12 years ago | (#2214201)

I tried to order one of these circuits about three months ago, and apparantly the telco's are on to this. I wanted to connect two buildings, so I tried ordering a "dry pair" from Verizon, and they said they didn't do those anymore.

I ended up ordering a PtP T1, which is only going to increase the cost of replacing the aging 56k circuit, now connecting the two buildings, by $110. Not bad considering the increase in bandwidth.

Re:Tried to Order one of these ckt's (2)

beme (85862) | more than 12 years ago | (#2214265)

Just out of curiosity, did you tell the phone company why you wanted the dry pair? Cringely makes it sound like you might have to ask for the service in a variety of ways before you get them to admit they can do it (alarm circuits, opx, etc.).

Re:Tried to Order one of these ckt's (1)

bruceg (14365) | more than 12 years ago | (#2214340)

I told them it was for an alarm circuit, that I was going to use between the two buildings. At first, the salesperson had never heard of this type of circuit. I was put on hold, and then they came back and told me that they didn't do those types of circuits anymore. Maybe they realized that people were ordering these circuits, and it was cannibalizing their PtP T1 business.

Class action suit? (2)

meepzorb (61992) | more than 12 years ago | (#2214426)

Seriously... has anyone with a legal background thought about this?

Price gouging. Protectionism. Unethical quashing of the competition. These are *supposed* to be against the interests of a truly free market, and therefore illegal.

Most of those lines were laid out during the govt-sanctioned monopoly days, so an argument could be made that the taxpayers are entitled to use those lines however they see fit. Why should the telcos act entitled?

Perhaps if a large enough group of people threatened to sue the telcos for fraud under anti-trust or (much harder to prove but also more powerful) RICO laws, we could bring things back into check?


Re:Tried to Order one of these ckt's (1)

curmudgeon42 (223612) | more than 12 years ago | (#2214298)

When the DSL company I worked for was starting up, before they had CLEC status, they ordered some "burgalar alarm" circuit from Verizon (then Bell Atlantic). That might be what they call 'em.

Re:Tried to Order one of these ckt's (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2214327)

If they are the only phone company in your area it may be illegal for them to refuse that service to you. Call your attorney general and ask. I've called mine and they were very helpful.

Is it just me or... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2214205)

is pptp in mandrake 8.0 broken?

Anyone get and a Fujitsu DSL modem work via PPTP in Mandrake 8.0? would be a great resource if the webadmin there got some free time or passed on some privileges to a more devoted devoloper.

I know ppoe works in Linux, but PPTP is giving everyone problems; it is a microsoft protocol, Earthlink uses it everywhere. How can you start your own DSL service, notably a subnet, when you can't even connect to the mothership?

Re:Is it just me or... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2214512)

Not sure about Mandrake but a google search [] reveals some info about PPTP in Linux.

how to give ma bell a lot of money in fines (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2214207)

This does work. Use your head before you blindly go out and do it.

Alarm circuits are not rated for high frequency use, and are not provisioned as such.

Beware, if your alarm circuit T1 interferes with somebody else's paid for service, you will be in a world of grief. That t1 will start looking real cheap.

Been there, done that... (1)

ewieling (90662) | more than 12 years ago | (#2214210)

We did this at ICorp about three or four years ago using Paradyne equipment. Worked great when you could get BellSouth to install the lines correctly. The biggest problem with this idea is that the phone company does not make any guarntee as to what freq the line will be able to pass. We did have good luck with it, however.

Socialist Internet Service Provider? (2)

tenzig_112 (213387) | more than 12 years ago | (#2214213)

Ah, I get it. The service is cheap or free, but you have to stand in line for hours [] to get a decent connection.

Makes sense to me. People in my area have been waiting in line for months to get DLS installed correctly.

what a bunch of bull (0, Flamebait)

robvasquez (411139) | more than 12 years ago | (#2214214)

Anyone that works at a phone company will tell you that's complete BS

I can't belive THIS guy can write stories and get PAID

Re:what a bunch of bull (1)

cfriesen (256918) | more than 12 years ago | (#2214239)

Oh? Why is that? If you can get an unloaded pair between two locations, there is no technical reason that I know of (and I work in telecommunications) why you can't put a DSL modem on each end.

Please explain further with technical objections.

Re:what a bunch of bull (1)

ewieling (90662) | more than 12 years ago | (#2214246)

No your message is complete BS. I've done what is described several years ago. We read the tarrifs and ordered the lines based on the USOC (basically the phone company "part number"). We used Paradyne DSL and MVL modems and Pairgain cards in our DSLAM. Our NOC was about 1 block from the phone company office in the downtown area. Our customers were all in the downtown New Orleans area.

Re:what a bunch of bull (2)

clinko (232501) | more than 12 years ago | (#2214294)

I'm right by new orleans... How much was the cost?

Re:what a bunch of bull (1)

MeNeXT (200840) | more than 12 years ago | (#2214366)

Gee... I forgot to tell my clients. Imagine that and they haven't complained...I wonder how the access the net if it doesn't work.......

Re:what a bunch of bull (1) (312621) | more than 12 years ago | (#2214372)

I have done it.

I also used to work at a telephone company.

It's not BS.

Re:what a bunch of bull (1)

Ledge (24267) | more than 12 years ago | (#2214488)

If you think this won't work, how do you think your phone works?

Re:what a bunch of bull (4, Informative)

Tim Doran (910) | more than 12 years ago | (#2214506)

I work at a phone company (a big, big one, with an ampersand in the name) and this is absolutely not BS.

In fact, we're now selling voice services over dry pair lines using DSL. If we can do it, you certainly can. As long as you don't give up before you even start...

re: DSL over Dry Copper - already done (1)

Misao-Chan (181020) | more than 12 years ago | (#2214220)

Our company, Cadvision, has been doing exactally this for about 5 years now. We run old CAP based DSL equipment in near-locate naps to businesses all over the city. Nice article but it's old news.

Re: DSL over Dry Copper - already done (2, Informative)

ennuiner (144711) | more than 12 years ago | (#2214266)

Yup, even Slashdot has covered it before [] . I guess its novel 'cause Cringely's talking about it tho.

Re: DSL over Dry Copper - already done (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2214297)

Hey Neighbour!

some guys on the 8th floor of the red brick building next to you.

Rolling your own? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2214230)

I roll my own, too. But I don't call it DSL...

will work for homemade bandwidth (1)

athagon (410963) | more than 12 years ago | (#2214232)

make-your-own DSL? pfft. when do we get the Big Boys? you know, "make-your-own Fiber Optics line"? =D now THAT i would do!

Wonderful... (1)

The_Messenger (110966) | more than 12 years ago | (#2214240)

Now in addition to having non-technial amateurs running IIS servers on home DSL service, we'll having non-technical amateurs providing the service. Code Red IV will be disastrous. Maybe real ISPs can boycotting this trash on the backbone level.

Actually, Code Red IV is already here (1)

kiwimate (458274) | more than 12 years ago | (#2214470)

Check it out here [] . It's known as CodeRed.d. Yes, I submitted it as an article, but it was rejected.

It's actually not that fascinating from a worm point of view, but the article hypothesizes that Code Red will never disappear. Wonderful...lazy and incompetent admins have given rise to a new form of life on the Internet.

Slashdot can just hire Cringely (1)

Sir Spank-o-tron (18193) | more than 12 years ago | (#2214242)

He's on here every damn week now. Why don't you
just steal him from PBS? (insert Katz insult here)
Or a Cringely SlashBox?

Sheesh. Like I don't know how to use the internet except to find /.

Re:Slashdot can just hire Cringely (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2214329)

Gee. That's a dot-com acquisition that actually makes sense. I'd love to see Slashdot buy Cringely so that they can further entertain me for free!

Re:Slashdot can just hire Cringely (1)

ethereal (13958) | more than 12 years ago | (#2214341)

Actually, there is a Cringely slashbox. Some of his articles are a little lame, but (especially since I'm shopping for DSL right now) this one made sense to me.

While I'm at it: has anyone had any luck starting the DSL installation process with the phone company ahead of a move, so that you have access right on the day you move in?

Re:Slashdot can just hire Cringely (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2214495)

Not for ADSl, as it runs over your voice line. You should be able to do it with SDSL though...

Bandwith without connectivity is worthless (2)

Tassach (137772) | more than 12 years ago | (#2214253)

OK, so you can rent a dry circuit between your house and the local CO for cheap. Big deal. As Cringley says, in order to turn that into an internet connection, you need to hook onto someone else's backbone. You need an IP address and (more importantly) have someone tell the upstream routers how to find it. And that is what's going to cost you. About the only way this could be made to work (cheaply) is if you know somone who'll let you hang a router off their backbone.

Re:Bandwith without connectivity is worthless (2, Informative) (312621) | more than 12 years ago | (#2214404)

While the dry pair does go through the CO, it can be connected to another dry pair to another location at the CO.

Check your local PUC for the tarriffs, and see if this is a mandated service. (It probably is.) If the phone company tells you that they can't do it, show them the tarriff. If it's tarriffed, THEY HAVE TO SUPPLY IT.

There is a bunch of cool stuff you can do... Within the city WAN's for cheap or maybe split the cost off Internet T1 bandwidth with another company, etc.

Re:Bandwith without connectivity is worthless (2)

Guppy06 (410832) | more than 12 years ago | (#2214459)

You conclude that doing this to connect to the internet is the only useful application for this. When I was at college and living off-campus, my friends and I ended up running cat5 cable between townhomes in a complex (burying it when nobody else was looking, of course). Do you think we did it to share an internet connection? No, that line was used for two things: StarCraft and Quake 2. And even then, those of us that didn't live in either of those two buildings had to lug their PCs over for when we had LAN parties.

Now living arrangements have changed and, even though a lot of us still live in the same town, we're too far apart to even consider doing something like ethat. However, building a DSL cicruit like this would be just the solution. All the advantages of having a private LAN and none of the disadvantages of trying to play over the internet.

Re:Bandwith without connectivity is worthless (3, Interesting)

Tim Doran (910) | more than 12 years ago | (#2214476)

Funny, I thought the 'dry pair' stuff was the boring part of the article. I happen to be in telecom and that's all a no-brainer.

What was fascinating was the potential (admittedly) limited uses for roll-your-own DSL. Read the Lariat [] homepage - what an amazing project for a small town!

I think the main points of the article are:

1) There are lots of last-mile solutions, and they don't all have to come from your ILEC.

2) Innovative uses of these solutions can have come really cool results - like Lariat, like paying for only one broadband connection, like establishing a neighbourhood network then networking these networks... makes you think ;)

WHOA! Cringely Got It Right! BUT........ (4, Informative)

darkPHi3er (215047) | more than 12 years ago | (#2214254)

Cringely got it right, in my last business, the area was out of dedicated "Data Lines", so PB had to send out an install tech who really knew what he was doing, i was looking over his shoulder and noticed that he was using our alarm lines...the tech told me almost exactly the same story as Cringely, including that if you called PB and asked for a pair of "guard lines" you'd be told they didn't exist or that they were all assigned in your area.

since this is a point-to-point connection, your throughput will vary with the quality of your wire pairs

you might also need to perform line balancing, as some of these wire have been in the ground/air for a LONG time

if you have big power transformers or other "leaky" devices near your wires, your S/N ratio could be terrible

AND, LAST BUT NOT LEAST, anyone can just simply t-splice your line to get 100% access to your communications, with maybe just having to perform a simple impedence adjustment...

BUT, still cool for all of that BTW, when "Boardwatch Magazine" still had Jack Richards they ran a very similar (but more detailed) piece on this about 3 years ago

Peace, Love to my Homies

Uncle Vlad (1)

Dolly_Llama (267016) | more than 12 years ago | (#2214267)

Uncle Vlad's Socialist ISP:

Work! Food! Bandwidth! Pr0n!

Links don't work (1)

SnarfQuest (469614) | more than 12 years ago | (#2214277)

On hs page he has a link to the PairGain/ADC Megabit modems, but the link just returns a blank page. Is there a good link to these modems (or equivelent) somewhere?

"Alarm circuit" (1)

Gothmolly (148874) | more than 12 years ago | (#2214279)

This is old news, I set up a 768kbps DSL link between my two company buildings in 1997. The cost? 2 DSL bridges and a $30/month "alarm circuit" from Verizon. As long as you're 18,000 feet, you win. The heavy lifting involves getting real Internet connectivity, where the article is short on details.

It's should be called how to become an ISP. (1)

MeNeXT (200840) | more than 12 years ago | (#2214284)

He's just described an ISP and conviniently left out all the other services/equipment required.

Wh (2, Funny)

abischof (255) | more than 12 years ago | (#2214302)

A cookie goes to whomever manages to implement this first! :-D"

I don't have a cookie to give to him, but I'd like to grant an honorary cookie to Logic Bomb for correctly using who/whom [] :-). (I thought I'd never see the day when I'd come across "whom" on Slashdot)

PS Through researching the link for who/whom, I came across this surprisingly interesting discussion [] on teaching non-native English speakers the finer points of how to use the phrase "the hell!".

Re:Wh (0, Offtopic)

Matrix (290) | more than 12 years ago | (#2214385)

I hate to tell you, but that's wrong. The page you referenced talked about who and whom, not whoever and whomever. In this case, it should be whoever. The sentence can be broken down as follows:

Give it to him.
He managed to implement this first.

Since it's a combination of object/subject (him/he) it should be whoever. Whomever is for a combination object/object (him/him).

You could say:

A cookie goes to whomever you find that implements this first,

because this turns into:

A cookie goes to him.
You found him.

Re:Wh (1)

Mike Schiraldi (18296) | more than 12 years ago | (#2214474)

Not to be a "me too"er, but you're absolutely right. I was about to post a similar message; good thing i read the comments first.

It's like: A cookie goes to he who implements this first.

Not: A cookie goes to him who implements this first.

Re:Wh (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2214489)

Retard moderator.

If someone replies to an offtopic message, their reply is not offtopic.

Re:Wh (0, Offtopic)

samf (18149) | more than 12 years ago | (#2214491)

I liked your link on Correctly using who/whom [] , but I quickly noticed that there was no similar help for then/than. So, the site not so good for the slashdot crowd after all.

Cringley doesn't go far enough (2)

sethg (15187) | more than 12 years ago | (#2214313)

Once that dry pair is connected to the Net, you can subscribe to an IP telephony service, and then you're only paying Ma Bell for the wire. Sweet!

Distance to Exchange (1)

Sir Mix A Lot (218711) | more than 12 years ago | (#2214318)

Assuming that DSL is not available in your area due to the distance to the central office, I don't see how this would help. The article says you need to share the same central office, where I assume the link is made from your place to your friend's. If this distance is too far for DSL in the first place, connecting to you friend won't help anyway. Am I wrong, or is there any other way that this could work if you are in the above situation?

Sadly the most important part is neglected. (1)

Krieger (7750) | more than 12 years ago | (#2214332)

The broadband/internet connection is really the most important part and is usually what you get charged an arm and a leg for. The wires for the T1 and the circuit cost usually run a couple hundred dollars depending on where you are... The bandwidth is what you get truly bent over for...

More details on that end strike me as more interesting than the ability to set up networking between places... since that's relatively easy. Hell run fiber... it's getting cheap.

Spelling (2, Funny)

indecision (21439) | more than 12 years ago | (#2214335)

Dear Slashdot Editors and Submitters,

Please note. My name is Cringely, not Cringley.

The former sounds like what people do when they read the alarmist drivel I write.

The latter sounds like a potato chip commercial.

Robert X. Cringely

Is this a story? (1)

Soong (7225) | more than 12 years ago | (#2214342)

Perhaps /. should just make a Cringley slashbox in the default set and save everyone the trouble.

Of course, the same goes for the pattern of linux kernel articles. Download, compile, repeat...

This has been mentioned on Slashdot before (1)

Ldir (411548) | more than 12 years ago | (#2214343)

I don't have an article reference handy, but I did bookmark the site: The SDSL Homebrew Page [] .

Looks like it was more than a year ago based on the dates and his comment about being Slashdotted.

Wow... we've only been doing this for years... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2214344)

This isn't exactly a new idea. We have been running 2 MBit connections out to customers for a few years this way. Simply order an LDDS line from your local bell and you are set. The cab companies use them mostly for those little dialless phones you see at the grocery store etc. $12 gets you the line costs for more then a T1, add on whatever your bandwidth costs you and its all profit from there baby.

this has already been done (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2214346)

We did this a few years back with unbridged telco alarm lines. So I want some fucking cookies!

Alarm circuit (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2214349)

Local ISPs have been doing this trick for years. Watch out though, if whore-izon finds out you're using it for high-speed data, that's in breach of their terms and they will cut the circuit. Be warned.

The problem is transit rights (2)

Caballero (11938) | more than 12 years ago | (#2214352)

He's shown us how to get a circuit established cheaply. Actually doing it may be made difficult by your phone company, but it shows how they are trying to rape data services for so much more money than than things like security systems.

The real problem is that you want connectivity to the internet. Even if you find someone who's willing to piggy back you on their circuit, chances are they're violating their terms of service by doing it. That may get them cut off if they're caught. If they're doing NAT it would be hard for their ISP to find out.

If you really want to offer legitament ISP services, then you'd get your circuit to another ISP, and you'd ask to buy transit rights. Unfortunetly, these don't come cheap. You have to pay them for allowing your data to cross their network, and they probably have to pay transit fees to another ISP which they'll pass along to you.

It's a great idea. I'd like to see lots of free bandwidth. There's just many many hands between you and the global internet and they all want their cut. By the time you're done it isn't cheap.

Cheap Broadband Access... (1)

rdhill316 (513193) | more than 12 years ago | (#2214355) by just about anybody, is mostly a good thing, especially if several communities made local wireless intranets, connected them together, and so on...we could (potentially) have high-speed wireless access 'round the whole country.
But the whole thing would just prompt the telecos to hire a $cr1p7 k1dd13 to make another "Code Red"-like virus, and bring the whole thing crashing down, 'cuz they want their profits. :-)

this post is FAST (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2214357)

in fact its so god damn fast it would make Dale Earnhardt come back to life and shake his head in dismay!

There is a reason They don't like this (2, Interesting)

EricFenderson (64220) | more than 12 years ago | (#2214379)

And it's not just the money. When the phone company bundles copper, it has to bundle the lines so noise-sensitive services don't suffer from crosstalk. It's been discussed on the ISP list that DSL is on a harmonic that interferes with T1. When the phone company rolls out DSL, they carefully bundle DSL apart from other lines. If you order a dry copper pair, designed to carry 300 baud serial data, they will happily bundle it wherever it fits nicely. If they bundle it with some T1 lines and you run DSL, there are going to be people very angry with Verizon when their T1 connections are destroyed due to crosstalk.

Ross Vandegrift

Re:There is a reason They don't like this (2, Informative)

sks (85021) | more than 12 years ago | (#2214472)

I'm reasonably sure that it's the reverse of what you state- the T-1 interferes with the DSL. T-1 is "high power" - there's real voltage running down a T-1 pair, and if there's a T-1 circuit in a bundle, that renders that bundle unfit for DSL.

Old news, here's here's why you don't do this (3, Informative)

Kagato (116051) | more than 12 years ago | (#2214392)

The alarm line trick as been around for ages. Usually using the line to cross connect a CSU/DSU like it was a frame circuit. The problem isn't technology, it's quality. High speed datacomm expects certain line quality in order to do what it needs to do. Things like quality of the line, minium data throughput, etc are all defined in the tariff. Problem with these types of lines is that the tariff basically says the line should pass a simple continuity test and that's it. Afterall, that's all an alarm needs. So, if you get a real noisy line, you're sunk.

As an experiment that's fine, but don't let a business depend on this because you'll have no recourse with the Telco.

"Then you just need to plug into the internet" (1)

HerrGlock (141750) | more than 12 years ago | (#2214395)

Code is planned out
coders hack away at it for months
-miracle happens here-
code works.

Ummm, could we talk about step three again? In a little more detail?


There's a few problems with this article... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2214399)

He doesn't point out that there is no (absolutle zero) guarantee of service over dry lines. They were only intended to be simple copper for ringing other lines etc. Running DSL over them *can* be extremely bad and getting any sort of technical support (more than "The circuit is complete") out of the telco is not going to happen.

ISP/backbone connection (1)

pinqkandi (189618) | more than 12 years ago | (#2214410)

So how much is it gonna cost to get that backbone connection at one end?

Perfect! (2)

BradleyUffner (103496) | more than 12 years ago | (#2214420)

This is great! I live in an area in which DSL in not available, but a freidn of mine who lives jsut over a maile away can get it. We were considering a fewwireless solutions to get me connected to his network, but this seems much less expensive.

Actually, it probably won't work. (2)

tgd (2822) | more than 12 years ago | (#2214516)

There's only a couple reasons why he would be able to get DSL and you can't.

#1, you're on different CO's
#2, you have lousy wiring into your neighborhood
#3, He's close enough to the CO, and you're not.

In the case of #1, you can't use an alarm circuit. In the case of #2, you won't have the quality to get a signal anyway, and in the case of #3, your line has to go from you, to the CO, and back to him. If you can't get DSL one way to the CO, you definitely can't do this in and back out again.

Make your own rolling paper too! (1)

sup4hleet (444456) | more than 12 years ago | (#2214423)

You can make your own DSL modem [] too!

On a more serious note, I worked for a company (name with held to protect the guilty :) and we did this all the time. This was 3 years ago and we discovered that the customer's location had to be within about 18,000 feet from our POP to make it work. This is because the circuit goes to the CO first then your POP. The whole length must be taken into account. In upstate NY the "Dry copper circuits" are reffered to as BANA lines. We made sure to specify that we were looking for an unloaded pair when ordering, and we wouldn't accept installation on a loaded pair. On the down side there are no SLAs on BANA circuits other than you can read open/short accross the circuit. An if there is any work being done in the area, BANAs are the first thing to get shuffled around. Cheap... yes, but flakey as hell. Many, many things can break this sort of setup, so I wouldn't recommend it just for "fun" unless you like driving around putting up loops, testing them with a multi-meter and begging bell, er verizon, techs to swap out pairs that were working before but suddenly stopped, which the telco insists is good... etc...etc...etc.. Make sure you bring a bottle of scotch and a carton of smokes to appease any bell, er verizon, tech nice enuff to do this for you. It kept our tech happy.

Mod this up please (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2214484)

I have done this before. I work for Cisco.

If you can get a dry pair from the telco company you are in business. You need not be within 18000 feet but you will get less throughput if you can't find a way to put more voltage on the line.

Get you dry pair to where ever. If it goes to someone who has an internet connection assign youself an ip address of of their subnet and voila done.


run a pair to your buddys house, either you or your buddy needs to get a cable modem. Put a NAT router on cable modem like a linksys, a netgear 311 or 314 or a cisco 806. Then attach the ethernet side of the dsl modem onto the switch/hub containing the connection from the router. Set the router up to do DHCP or do static assignments.

You can even set up ports to forward to internal servers and stuff like that so you can host game servers, mail, whatever.

DSL, SDSL, HDSL etcDSL are all layer two technologies. This means that it is pretty much like stringing a cable down to your buddies house.

The differences are:

1. The Data is slower than eithernet
2. The distance limitation of ethernet is removed.

Thats it.

You can also do this with dark fiber. You can get really huge, fast pipes on fiber.

You should always check the possibility of dark fiber or dry pairs when you provision bandwidth. Read the above sentence again. Otherwise you are just blithely going to the telco and wasting your money.
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