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Last-Mile Solution For A Rural Land Co-op?

timothy posted more than 11 years ago | from the cooperation-still-needs-a-plan dept.

The Internet 312

macguys writes "My community consists of about 150 households spread out over several hundred acres in North Florida. We are far enough away from the nearest city that broadband cable and DSL services don't make it here. We're well organized, and used to working together on projects. We have a lot of home based business offices here and high speed access something that many of my neighbors are hungry for. We've looked at projects like and know that others have addressed the issue with 802.11b/g/etc. There is no big problem getting a T-1 to the community. That part is easy. The hard part is distributing the bandwidth among those here who want to participate. Wireless works in places but in general this land is covered in hardwood and pines and the signal drops off quickly. We have a long history (community is 25 years old) of working together to solve problems. Running copper or coax is not out of the question if we can find a reasonable way of distributing the bandwidth. Any suggestions are welcome."

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404?! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5932897)

WTF!! This is the 4th time that this error has stopped me from getting my first post!!
404 File Not Found
The requested URL (askslashdot/03/05/11/2139219.shtml?tid=126&tid=95 ) was not found.

If you feel like it, mail the url, and where ya came from to pater@

Religious freak (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5932901)

This guy is part of some cult-like community. Check out the links from his homepage.

Do we really want more nuts like this on our internet?

Re:Religious freak (1, Troll)

wo1verin3 (473094) | more than 11 years ago | (#5932923)

Actually according to his FAQ page [] it isn't a cult, but interesting that you have to tell people you aren't up front.

9. Myth: Community members all think alike.

Fact: Because communities are by definition organized around a common vision or purpose, their members tend to hold a lot of values and beliefs in common--many more than shared among a typical group of neighbors. Still, disagreements are a common occurrence in most communities, just as in the wider society. The object of community is not so much to eliminate conflict as to learn to work with it constructively.

10. Myth: Most communities are "cults."

Fact: Many sociologists and psychologists know that the popular image of "cults" and "mind control" is distorted. Both the American Psychological Association and the Society for the Scientific Study of Religion have done research that refutes the idea that religious or other groups are systematically brainwashing their members or interfering with their ability to think critically.

Commies (1, Flamebait)

cscx (541332) | more than 11 years ago | (#5932935)

Isn't this more like a commune, in the truest sense?

No, Communes and Communities are very different (2, Informative)

arete (170676) | more than 11 years ago | (#5933247)

Communes and Communities are very different, although I suppose it might be hard to tell just visiting. I suspect most communes are examples of Intentional Communities, but not the reverse.

In short, a community is a village; an Intentional Community is a village founded and tended on the principle that everyone really, really likes the color blue; and a commune is where everyone who's part of it dedicates all of their possessions and income to the community's goals of promoting the color blue, kindof like they're all married to each other.

Basically, any group of people who live together and interact are a community. A group of people who live together on purpose are an Intentional Community (or generally capitalized Community) who will generally share many ideals.

The governance and ownership of the IC could be open to everyone living there or more restricted, sometimes to the founders or long-timers. Or pick any governance system you like. Typically there is some kind of arrangement where you have to work and/or pay to live there.

In a true commune all of your possesions and income are shared within the community. Being in an IC _often_ does not involve giving up the ownership of personal possesions or whatever income you might have. And some people do live in Communities and have "normal" jobs.

Of course, a bunch of people who don't believe in possessions living in a Community would be pretty hard to tell from a commune, even if the part about the possessions wasn't a prerequisite for living there.

(My sister lived for a while at the Dancing Rabbit EcoVillage in Missouri, which has some people who hold communist ideals but also some who are downright capitalist)

Re:Commies (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5933266)

No. I read nothing about fantastic peyote fueled Roman orgies. Fucking cults.

ObSimpsons (0, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5933056)

Na na na na na na na na LEA-DER!

Na na na na na na na na LEA-DER!


I mean LEA-DER! I love the leader!

Jesus Saves! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5932902)

Ask Jesus into your heart today!

The ONLY Way, Truth and Life!

Beowolf Cluster (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5932903)

How about a Beowolf cluster of 802.11 networks?

FIRST (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5932907)



Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5932908)

Can you imagine a Beowulf cluster of these?

Just Like Linux... (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5932909)

I'm sure they can all come together and produce a steamy pile of a solution that will work half the time and be ancient.

PS: Congrats for getting pre-emptive multitasking in the kernel. You're now caught up to Windows 95!

Have you tried (4, Funny)

eap (91469) | more than 11 years ago | (#5932912)

Satellite? Start up fees are kind of high, but once you get going, it's not bad:

Satellite dish: $150
Converter box: $200
NIC: $15
Launching your own community based Internet communications satellite: $1,000,000,000

Re:Have you tried (1)

rochlin (248444) | more than 11 years ago | (#5933139)

I think DirecTV is discontinuing their consumer internet satellite service. There were a couple slashdot articles about that a few months ago. Commercial satellite broadband is available but you're getting into hundreds/month/user.

Yes, but... (1)

WindBourne (631190) | more than 11 years ago | (#5933184)

Charlie ergin is redoing it up right (rather than retro-fitting) with a new set-up.

Re:Have you tried (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5933155)

Unforunately the service is terrible. It's unreliable, slow, and the optimal latency is 500ms, but often closer to 1s, making it unusuable for many types of Internet communication. Considering the price, many would consider it to be worse than 56K.

Long-reach ethernet (4, Informative)

autopr0n (534291) | more than 11 years ago | (#5932914)

Cisco has a system [] for using ethernet over regular phone wire up to 5k feet with 5-15mbps performace

Re:Long-reach ethernet (2, Informative)

rmohr02 (208447) | more than 11 years ago | (#5932959)

It shouldn't be much of a problem to use an ethernet connection over phone wire--if I remember correctly, only four of the eight wires in an ethernet cable are used.

Re:Long-reach ethernet (3, Interesting)

jo_ham (604554) | more than 11 years ago | (#5933053)

That's true, but the problem would be voltage drop, or similar problems with long cable runs.

IIRC, the maximum run for 100baseT ethernet is 100 metres with cat 5 between switches/machines/etc.

The Cisco system must introduce some sort of line amplifier to send data that far, so you'd have to have a pair of them, one on each end. The signals and cable setup itself would be identical to standard ethernet, just with a lot more power.


Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5932983)


Re:Long-reach ethernet (1)

rusko (666916) | more than 11 years ago | (#5933017)

you are correct, only 4 wires are used. however, regular fone wiring is not graded to carry a signal that far afaik. they may need repeaters in there somewhere =]


Re:Long-reach ethernet (3, Informative)

CountZero007 (39755) | more than 11 years ago | (#5933205)

FYI, LRE works in a similar way to DSL, and requires a CPE device (box) at the client end, and a LRE-capable switch at the central point.

You can also use the line for a phone at the same time (just like DSL), and the incoming phone line connects to the LRE-capable switch (well, a splitter).

The main problem will be getting access rights to the actual copper phone lines in the ground (which would be owned by the local telco).

A first for the /. editors (-1, Troll)

cascino (454769) | more than 11 years ago | (#5932915)

I didn't know it was possible to have a duplicate Ask Slashdot [] !

(Yeah, they're not *exactly* the same... but aren't a lot of details suprisingly similar?)

Re:A first for the /. editors (2, Interesting)

cscx (541332) | more than 11 years ago | (#5932948)

Cliff usually handles all the Ask Slashdots, so I can understand this.

Re:A first for the /. editors (4, Funny)

yintercept (517362) | more than 11 years ago | (#5933009)

Yes, farms and condos are almost the same. Farms have cows, some of the people in condos look like cows.

Now, if we lived in a physical universe where there were limit to how long you can run coax cable without loss of signal, or if we lived in a world where there were complex laws regarding crossing roads and boundaries with wires, then questions would be different. I am so glad I live in Slashdot where things are simple.

That type of world has different people designing different solutions for different problems.


Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5932919)


Hey everyone, I'm new here... (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5932921)

Hey everyone, I'm new here, and my gheydar is going off like crazy! Is this like the biggest fag forum on the interweb of what?!? ^_^ kekekekeke!

Re:Hey everyone, I'm new here... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5932989)

LOL... "flamebait". HAR!


Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5933131)

You are not logged in. You can log in now using the convenient form below, or Create an Account, or post as Anonymous Coward.

Easy (3, Informative)

cscx (541332) | more than 11 years ago | (#5932922)

Run ethernet to all the houses. Maybe you want to run fiber in between and stick a transceiver at each end, for future expansion. Run them all into a Cisco and use packet-shaping to put bandwidth limitations on each house. Run them all into a pair of T1s and whee, fast internet access. (Probably won't be as fast as cable though since you probably can't pay for lots of bandwidth... for example, my local cable for example is faster than a T1 at times.)

Re:Easy (2, Interesting)

insecuritiez (606865) | more than 11 years ago | (#5933058)

A T1 line runs at 1.544 Mb/s. High speed DSL runs at up to 1.544 Mb/s. T1 is not the solution here. T3 is approx 48 Mb/s. Even it may not be the solution for this many households. Now say, plug in an ATM backbone or a fiber link would be getting places. The problem is distance and paying for the bandwidth they need.

Re:Easy (5, Informative)

Fulcrum of Evil (560260) | more than 11 years ago | (#5933145)

T1 is not the solution here.

For 150 houses, a few T1s are just fine. Figure 15:1 overcommitment and 500Kbps, and you get roughly 5Mb covering everything. Run 4 T1s together and you have all you need. If bandwidth becomes a problem (probably won't), then you can think about Frac-T3s. The reason to stay away from T3 setups is that a T3 is expensive, as is the equipment, and these people are not liekly to be running datacenters out of their farmhouses. Email and web describe the majority of their activity.

DIY (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5932926)

Ahh the plan.

1.Start local cable service.
2.Sell out to American MegaCorp of your choice.
4. Profit.

1st proust

Re:DIY (1)

yintercept (517362) | more than 11 years ago | (#5932951)

I would start with an IPO, then hire some geeky people to think up a product while I plan for some hot marketing parties.

Oh, let's community. Hmmm, Wire costs a lot and tractor drivers in farms have a tendency to uproot cable.

Gosh, why not go wireless. Put a tower thingy on a hill, and people buy modem thingies that point to the they do in other farming communities.

North Florida? (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5932931)

I like in North South Carolina, and my girlfriend lives in South North Carolina. Does your hurt head enough now?

Wireless mesh (5, Informative)

infractor (152926) | more than 11 years ago | (#5932937)

You can extend the range of 802.11 using multiple hops and mesh networking.

LocustWorld [] have a system which can be downloaded and booted on a CD [] or via a harddisk. They also sell solid state mesh boxes ready to go. Check out what other community projects have managed to do with the kit [] .

directional 802.11 would work also (1)

Fastolfe (1470) | more than 11 years ago | (#5933314)

Stick a highly directional antenna on an 802.11 setup and you can get some fairly good mostly point-to-point wireless links. The local university does that here between campus and its various off-campus houses purchased in the neighborhoods nearby. The trick is getting the antenna high enough that it has a direct line of sight.

Laser (2, Interesting)

corebreech (469871) | more than 11 years ago | (#5932938)

Got line-of-sight?

Re:Laser (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5932970)

Did you read the part about how wireless radio is blocked? Stands to reason that visible light is therefore also blocked.

Re:Laser (1)

corebreech (469871) | more than 11 years ago | (#5933294)

Yes, that's why I suggested using laser light.

Wireless gets broadcast and spreads itself all over the place, and you need to get a handful of it to get a usable signal.

Laser could operate at full capacity given only the tiniest aperture. And given the number of homes and the size of the land, it's hard to see how such apertures wouldn't exist.

Moreover, there's a huge geek factor here, and one that can be responsibly indulged since they're lookng at providing for infrastructure in the first place.

Relatively novel, hi-tech as in sci-fi, and providing abundant capacity down the road. If I were doing this I would seriously investigate the option.

Re:Laser (3, Funny)

geeber (520231) | more than 11 years ago | (#5933106)

Gotta love those transparent hardwood and pine tree's.

Re:Laser (1)

B3ryllium (571199) | more than 11 years ago | (#5933181)

Of course, that's how they grow Transparent Aluminum.

Re:Laser (3, Funny)

confused philosopher (666299) | more than 11 years ago | (#5933126)

Land sharks with fricken laser beams on their heads.

Actually microwave would make more sense, and just build some little towers taller than the trees.

Re:Laser (1)

Tyrdium (670229) | more than 11 years ago | (#5933201)

Don't they need to have the farm animals reproduce?

FreeBSD w/DummyNet (1)

Racher (34432) | more than 11 years ago | (#5932942)

FreeBSD w/DummyNet as the main server box for the community. You can give everyone an equal share of the bandwidth.

Re:FreeBSD w/DummyNet (1)

TheRaven64 (641858) | more than 11 years ago | (#5933002)

OpenBSD has had traffic shaping support for a while now. We used to run it on our house router, which prevented anyone from hogging all of the bandwidth. Each person got 1/4, but could 'borrow' more if it was not in use.

distribution (1)

SHEENmaster (581283) | more than 11 years ago | (#5933140)

It would kick some royal ass if I could grab all the unused bandwidth at 3:00 am when I'm the only one awake. Dynamic allocation based upon usage is an important part of sharing.

Another idea is a singular server for file sharing with the outside work so that you dont waste bandwidth with 100+ gnutella nodes through your T1.

Please use fiber. Please!!! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5932945)

Good luck. Soudns like you're working with an enlightened bunch. So please please please please please please use optical fiber. My job pretty much depends on it. And hey, even if I am a complete Anonymous Coward, it's still the patriotic thing to do. So run, don't walk, to the nearest domestic manufacturer of optical fiber. Hint: There's only one left! Please hurry!

On a slightly larger scale, but..... (3, Informative)

mickwd (196449) | more than 11 years ago | (#5932946)

This site [] might be of interest.

If you dig things up. (4, Insightful)

oolon (43347) | more than 11 years ago | (#5932949)

If you end up digging things up to lay coax, lay fiber as well you don't have to connect it to anything, that way you will have lots of room for expation without having to go back the the ground again. Otherwise you be in the situation cable companies are in of wishing they had layed fiber but coax was cheaper in the short term. Of course if you have cheap labour, you might not care about having to redo things in the future.


Re:If you dig things up. (2, Insightful)

Blaine Hilton (626259) | more than 11 years ago | (#5933196)

Even if you don't run fiber, lay larger conduit that will allow you to "fish" other types of cables through later (even beyond wireless)

Re:If you dig things up. (1)

oolon (43347) | more than 11 years ago | (#5933255)

Normally I would agree with that 100% but they said they were in a rural setting, so the cable is going to be layed just below the dirt I would guess. So the question (and expense) of needing access covers every 300 yards or so less or more of a bother. Pulling though cables for a complete run still takes alot of time, of course a complete life saver when you have tarmac and concrete on top of what you have layed.


Solar power (2, Funny)

skinfitz (564041) | more than 11 years ago | (#5932953)

I think what is needed are solar powered tree mounted wireless bridges.

Oops I'm off to patent that.

Re:Solar power (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5933269)

Too slow, Bezos' got there first...

Fags versus the Hillbillys (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5932965)

This is a classic case of the the Fudge Packers versus the Shit Kickers.

Fiber (5, Interesting)

geogeek6_7 (566395) | more than 11 years ago | (#5932969)

In my community, we chose to use ethernet over fiber. You avoid any electrical concerns, and the fiber can be buried. We purchased 6 strand fiber from Anixter [] , and have been very happy.

I would highly suggest fiber as opposed to just about anything else--- it takes work to install (dig ditch, we put in conduit, then pulled fiber through it), and it requires a special terminiation kit, but the results are extremely rewarding.


Who gets control over the T1? (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5932971)

I know you say your used to "working together" well then who be in charge of maintaining the T1 connection and equipment? Seems to me any incompetent management of that equipment might invite shotgun wielding neighbors.

Re:Who gets control over the T1? (2, Informative)

Tmack (593755) | more than 11 years ago | (#5933283)

Generally the LEC you purchase the T1 from will keep the line up. The termination points, thats what would be of any concern. All you would need though is a Cisco (or any other router) with a T1 card (even the 2k's can have T1 cards, dont necessarily need a datacenter and a 10k or anything special like that). Between that and the smartjack (end of T1) is just a piece of cat5. The other end would require connection to an ISP, probably something the LEC could also handle. If it goes down, and your cisco is still running, you call the LEC and they fix it. Other equipment would be a little more of a concern simply because there would be more of it depending on how you actually wire the network (simplified if you go wireless).


Multiple Options (5, Informative)

MonMotha (514624) | more than 11 years ago | (#5932973)

If you're willing to run lines and fiber is possible, you can just run fiber from the most central place to everywhere else and run 100Mbit or GigE over it. Ethernet can go a very long distance over fiber.

If fiber is out of the option, you could run coax, get a CMTS (can be had on ebay for $5k-$10k) and run a cable modem system over your coax. You could also then get a big sat dish (not the DSS things, the C-Band things) and provide basic cable as well for a reasonable cost.

Failing coax, DSLAMs can also be had cheap and run over just about any kind of wire as long as it's twisted together :)

Basically, you're spread out enough that using the same technologies the telcos and cable services use is feasable. You could also start running T carrier, but that may get a bit expensive in terms of hardware.

As for wireless solutions, look into directional stuff (obviously). A mesh system may be most useful as it would allow the network to keep working even if one residence isn't reachable for repeating. Various 2.4GHz solutions exist, not just 802.11, or you could also look in to free-space optical. The RONJA project (google for it) is kidna neat, but probably not feasable in this situation.

Re:Multiple Options (2, Informative)

kpdvx (546561) | more than 11 years ago | (#5933113)

Running your own basic cable service wouldn't be that easy actually. First of all, if you were to distribute the channels across your community (which, you are) the dish would need to be fixed on one single satellite. Galaxy5 would be the one, because it has the most "cable" channels on it. Keep in mind that channels are spread across different satellites. Ok, so, now you'll have to go with a dual polarity LNB (one polarity for odd channels, and one for even) and then you would need to have 24 different receievers, because (at least with non-commercial equipment...) you can only descramble one channel at a time per receiver. Each receiver has one VideoCipher unit (descrambler), and you would have to have 24 different accounts with your satellite provider, because every single VC unit needs to be authorized, but mind you, you only need to subscribe to one channel per VC unit. So now that you have all of that, your 24 recievers hooked up, and subscriptions for 24 channels on 24 different VC units, you need to distribute this, which means running each receiver output to a modulator, so that you have CATV compatable channels, 1-24. Whew, ok, now you can distribute your Basic Cable service throughout your comminuty.

Re:Multiple Options (2, Funny)

Profane Motherfucker (564659) | more than 11 years ago | (#5933230)

you can just run fiber from the most central place to everywhere else

And while we're on the subject of Cheap and Easy options, why not Just Put a satellite into Geosynchronous orbit and just build a land relay station that just uses microwave frequencies? You just call the FCC and they set you up with a license. Then you just need subscribers and you're set.

With respect to the T1... (3, Interesting)

dbarclay10 (70443) | more than 11 years ago | (#5932981)

With respect to the T1 ... god, PLEASE shop around for options.

T1s aren't significantly faster than good DSL service, and can be significantly slower than cable 'net access. For about 20 times the price.

Now, you may have no other option, but do shop around. You won't regret it.

[Magnolia Road post] Re:With respect to the T1... (5, Informative)

c0y (169660) | more than 11 years ago | (#5933171)

If cable or DSL were available, there wouldn't be a need for et al....

Also, with T1 circuits, you are more important to the telco than a DSL, which is just a dry pair and billed much less. In rural areas this may be more important than you think... If you are not too far from a large city, the break-even point for doing a T1 is probably ~12 people willing to pay $50/month and who have Line of Sight to a central point. This doesn't include startup costs, just monthly recurring.

The Magnolia Road coop (from which I am posting this incidentally- I laugh at your puny /. effect) had outages last summer caused by lightning strikes[0] which took out the telco's repeaters.

A T1 outage will get a much faster repair time than average for DSL. With T1, you call up your provider and go through the food chain to get the telco dispatched. With frame relay (at least through Qwest) Enterprise Repair calls you to see if you are available for a dispatch (this is true even when Qwest is not the ISP per se, but just the FR circuit carrier). Frame relay pricing is also not distance-sensitive as T1 is (at least here in Qwest-land, YMMV). It turns out we get better customer service on a FR than T1, while loop costs on the latter are higher!

I mentioned this cam [] in another post just a few days ago. It looks at Thorodin Mountain, which is a central hub site for our network. This is what latency looks like going across that mountain right now (worst time of five separate monitoring points). This is via two hops on 5Ghz Trango radios [] , ~ 14 miles round trip:

10 packets transmitted, 10 packets received, 0% packet loss
round-trip min/avg/max/std-dev = 3.425/4.236/6.832/0.951 ms

One moral: stay away from 2.4Ghz as much as possible. Everyone and their brother has a 2.4ghz phone/mouse/x-10 cam that will cause interference. Those times above were in 100's of ms when the links were at 2.4Ghz. We still do end-user AP at 2.4, but channel crowding forced us to upgrade all of the point-to-point backhauls to 5.8Ghz

coyote at magnoliaroad dot net

[0] In one instance, lightning apparently entered a NOC via the T1, and fried a couple grand worth of equipment in one moment. We surmise it was the T1 because all of the radio gear was kicking. The catalyst switch was still semi-functional from the console, but was showing link on ports even after cables were removed :( In another instance, the same storm blew two different repeaters. Qwest managed to replace one of them and restored service for about ten minutes before the next one blew out (at which point I asked them to wait for the storm to pass). Enterprise repair is one of the few parts of Qwest which doesn't suck!

Re:[Magnolia Road post] Re:With respect to the T1. (1)

dbarclay10 (70443) | more than 11 years ago | (#5933223)

If cable or DSL were available, there wouldn't be a need for et al....

Obviously cable and DSL aren't available to them ;) They were, however, examples of alternative technologies which are *much* cheaper, even over long distances.

Frame relay pricing is also not distance-sensitive as T1 is (at least here in Qwest-land, YMMV). It turns out we get better customer service on a FR than T1, while loop costs on the latter are higher!

This, indeed, is another example ;)

Energy (1)

asadodetira (664509) | more than 11 years ago | (#5932984)

Why don't you run coaxils along the power lines. (To simplify maintenance and for aesthetics, not putting wires elsewhere)

Re:Energy (1)

neurostar (578917) | more than 11 years ago | (#5933083)

Why don't you run coaxils along the power lines

That's probably illegal. Besides, I doubt the power company wouldn't be too happy with someone stringing up wires on their poles. Also, you run the risk of electrocuting yourself while putting the wires up.


Have you considered... (2, Informative)

MacDork (560499) | more than 11 years ago | (#5932986)

one of these [] ?

i agree (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5932993)

who wouldn't go for the chance to put one's lips all onto a hot girl's pussy. to feel the warmth of legs. oh man. just imagine it. i know you can.

Towers (1)

nuggz (69912) | more than 11 years ago | (#5933003)

Can you make a transmission tower on a hill or something?

Re:Towers (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5933157)

Obviously, you have never been to North Florida. I am from the St. Augustine area (nation's oldest city w00t) and we don't have many "hills" around here. The ones we do have we normally call by their more common name: septic tanks.

Use powerlines (2, Insightful)

andrewlong (617908) | more than 11 years ago | (#5933021)

Check out

Something similar's been discussed before (5, Informative)

Second_Derivative (257815) | more than 11 years ago | (#5933032)

I can't find the story but check these guys out:

Basically, when their local telco refused to provide DSL provision, they invoked a statue which forced them to colocate some DSLAM equipment of their own, and they set up their own DSL ISP. Should be just the sort of thing you're looking for. I'd get a fatter uplink than a T1.

Anyway, yeah, plenty of informative info there, take a look. </karma_whore>

Do your own DSL. (1)

mindstrm (20013) | more than 11 years ago | (#5933046)

Discuss with the telephone company. Start an ISP co-op and offer DSL service.

If you can actually run your own cable... run fiber to every house.

Scientologist alert (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5933047)

According to a feature story in the Orlando Sentinel, this so called "community" is a part of the scientologist cult known as a "rebirthing center". Community members are subjected to electronic gadget quackery in order to "regress" the victim "back to the womb".

Stay away from these creeps. Whatever you do, DO NOT encourage or enable them. They are the lowest of the low.

Marry your cousin! (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5933050)

This will keep you more entertained than the the Internet ever will!

Bandwidth (3, Interesting)

Lokni (531043) | more than 11 years ago | (#5933063)

I would much sooner go with a DS3 which to my understanding is about $5000 a month. For each home that works out to about $35 a month. I would find out first which homes in the community are interested and then find the cost to each home using the chosen technology. Ethernet might be good, or you can setup your own DSL ISP for the community. It would probably be wise to setup a co-op or non-profit corporation to organize costs and the collection of money for monthly bandwidth costs.

How I would wire a community. (5, Informative)

JWSmythe (446288) | more than 11 years ago | (#5933077)

Funny that you just posted this to Slashdot.. We've been trying to figure out how to connect several locations (houses, apartments, and offices) in an urban part of Los Angeles, without having to pay outragous fees for bandwidth and even simply the wiring. We have an office in a centralized location that already has a T1, going back to one of our colo's with real bandwidth...

You could do copper, but you're limited to 300m for Cat5. Anything longer, and you'll have to do some sort of modem. I don't know if you can put ?DSL modems back to back..

You could do fiber, but that'll probably end up costing you some bucks, and you'll have to be sure that the lines are safe (like, no one will accidently dig through them).

You don't say exactly where in N. Florida you are, but knowing Florida you're probably in a relatively flat area with lots of pine trees. You said several hundred acres, so I put that in an area calculator and found 1000 acres = 1.56sq miles, so none of your points are really very far from each other.. I think you're definately a candidate for wireless, if the trees stay out of the way.

Check out [] for antennas.. No, not an advertisment. I just bought some stuff from them last week, and they were easy to deal with. They're also located in Florida, so your order will be there quick. My order got to California in about 3 days. If you were to put a sector antenna (like, the first one in the sector antennas section) in the center of the property, you should have good coverage to the whole property. I'd recommend for the best connection, get a good antenna for the receiving ends also, such as a 24db parabolic antenna.. Make sure when you mount them, you bolt them down tight, and be *VERY* sure you do good lightning supression.. I lived in Florida for years, and survived the hurricanes, and daily thunderstorms. :)

To give an idea of what kind of range you can expect, I bought a "24 dBi Mag Grid Antenna" (bottom of the parabolic antenna list), and attached it to a "Senao SL-2511CD PLUS EXT2" card. From an upper story of an office building, I started sweeping around with this antenna just listening (to estimate range. honest.) With a 4.5db blade antenna, I could hear 6 AP's, but only had a workable signal to one. With the 24db antenna I could hear over 2 dozen AP's. None of them were named for what they were, except one that said "YMCA"..

I asked some of the people who know the area well, "Is there a YMCA in that direction"? I know there's one closer, but it was about 60 degrees from where I was pointing. Turns out the YMCA I heard was a few miles away. So, with my 24db antenna talking to something resembling a normal AP (I doubt they had a directional antenna pointed at my office), I had a workable signal.

Before you start buying cards, I strongly recommend you check out Seattle Wireless [] . They have a *GREAT* page comparing wireless cards.. I highly recommend the Senao SL-2511CD PLUS EXT2.. It has two external antenna jacks (external antennas are required on this one). They also show an AP with the same card built in.. The Seano cards are suppose to put out 200mw, as opposed to most cards and AP's that are only around 30mw (check their chart), so you'll get much better range with them.

I hope this helps.

Re:How I would wire a community. (1)

JWSmythe (446288) | more than 11 years ago | (#5933112)

Oops.. I forgot one part. :)

If your customers already have TV towers (like those ugly 50' masts), that would really help.. Put your wireless antenna up on those, and (hopefully) you'll see over the trees.. In Central Florida (where I used to live), we had our TV antenna on a 50' tower to get TV reception.. We could see television from Tampa, Orlando, and Gainesville, depending on which way the antenna was pointing. Sometimes, if atmospheric conditions were right, we'd get the odd signal from Texas or Louisana.

Oh, the good old days of spinning the antenna around to get the best reception. I almost forgot about having the rotor control in the house.

If your main antenna is really high, it should help you clear the trees.

Re:How I would wire a community. (1)

grumling (94709) | more than 11 years ago | (#5933163)

Cell phone towers usually have space (bays) to rent out. Water towers have been used forever for police repeaters and the like. Even though there are no hills nearby, there are plenty of high places in FL. Some of them may not even cost much, and offer proper accomidations.

Re:How I would wire a community. (1)

Nogami_Saeko (466595) | more than 11 years ago | (#5933285)

I always sort of wondered about the idea of using a permanently aloft balloon of some type to handle this kind of chore. A really high-strength fabric balloon tethered to the ground by some equally high-strength cable that also grounds it from lightning, etc.

Now add a conduit for injecting helium into it periodically to maintain the altitude, and cabling for an omnidirectional wifi antenna...

Wonder if it'd work. Could possibly get it a few thousand feet up for some pretty decent line-of-sight coverage.


Ruby Ranch Model (4, Interesting)

DaveAtFraud (460127) | more than 11 years ago | (#5933082)

Here is a link to the Ruby Ranch [] Internet Co-op. Besides having gone through the, "How do we get high speed Internet access out here?" question, they have also had to address the question of dividing up the available bandwidth. They also had some interesting experiences getting the local carrier (Qwest: Quintessentially Worst Example of a Stupid Telco) to let them connect.

Re: Last Mile (3, Insightful)

spring (116537) | more than 11 years ago | (#5933089)

If you are all within a reasonable distance of one another (~18k feet), setting up your own DSL CO isn't out of the question, particularly if you can all agree to share the cost.

Choose a central location for your CO. Contract with the local telephone company to run dark (unused) copper circuits between residences that want DSL and the CO. Most telcos will do this, presumably as a back-up for businesses.

That may or may not be the hard part. From there you'll need to purchase the network (routers, CSU, DSLAM) and customer premises (DSL modem) equipment, and turn up the network.

It is, however, possible.

Consider Waverider 900MHz (4, Informative)

puzzled (12525) | more than 11 years ago | (#5933107)

Given the terrain you describe the most likely wireless solution is something in the 900MHz band - it'll work well through trees & such which is something that can not be said for 2400MHz solutions.

Waverider is the first name that comes to mind, I hear Alvarion has some sort of 900MHz product in the works also.

I'd suggest you go to and sign up for the isp-wireless list - plenty of people there will have hands on experience with what you're trying to do - much better source than all of the arm chair quarterbacks that inhabit slashdot.

Re:Consider Waverider 900MHz (1)

legend (26856) | more than 11 years ago | (#5933147)

I would second that Waverider push. Also is supposed to have a 900mhz product out soon.

Forget what this guy said about isp-wireless though, the list is moderated by money grubbing nazis. The list is much more active, and has actual information.

Microwave (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5933123)

Try to setup a microwave link with the nearest city. That would be much cheaper than laying a T1 on I-don't-know-how-many-miles. Then, you can also use microwave for distribution as there aren't too many houses. Here, in Canada, we have a company called Look distributing TV and internet via microwave and it's quite fast.

Or you could distribute the bandwidth via DSL... since you probably already have the wires installed everywhere, you just need some more equipment.

this man is an impostor! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5933128)

this man is an impostor! []

Re:this man is an impostor! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5933135)

Dunorix? Isn't that a really great web design company or something?

Here's your business plan (0, Redundant)

worst_name_ever (633374) | more than 11 years ago | (#5933165)

Can't help you with the technical details, but here's a suggested business plan:

1. Wire rural community for net access
2. ???
3. Non-profit!

You live in the country? This is the thing! (2, Funny)

Daath (225404) | more than 11 years ago | (#5933178)

IPAC with QoS!! RFC2549 [] !
Cheap, but maybe not that fast...
There also seems to be a reference on slashdot [] !

hmmm (1)

zymano (581466) | more than 11 years ago | (#5933185)

i agree with others , satellite, radio, laser transmissions but how about

MONKEYS! monkeys can deliver messages house to house swinging from trees after receiving data from main radio reception dish .

Just feed monkeys bananas!

Tonight on the History Channel (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5933192)

As anonymous posting is allowed on Slashdot (see Anonymous Coward), trolling and spamming on Slashdot is a highly evolved phenomenon. It is a bizarre and complex subculture involving attempts at the "first post", Naked and Petrified Natalie Portman, hot grits, the trolltalk forum and other user-created discussions,, Beowulf clusters, mock-homosexual erotica featuring an admixture of Slashdot celebrities and topics (e.g. Star Trek, Linux, BSD), announcements of Stephen King's death, and other unusual juvenilia. Probably the most famous personalities to have come from Slashdot's 'old school' trolling community are OSM, Trollaxor, Jon Eriksson, Streetlawyer, Gnarphlager, Dumb Marketing Guy, 70%, 80md, I Am Troll and The Lunchtime Troll. They are well-known for their creative writing. A newer breed of 'blue collar' trolls set up Geekizoid - a site devoted to exploring and fostering 'crapflooding', whilst at the more upmarket end of the scale experimented with other trolling techniques.

Since trolling is prevalent, a moderation system is implemented, whereby every comment posted (including those posted anonymously) can be "moderated" up or down by randomly chosen moderators, changing its score likewise. A given comment can have any integer score between -1 and 5 inclusive, and a Slashdot user can set a personal threshold where no comments with a lesser score are displayed. (For example, a person with a score threshold of 1 will not see comments with a score of -1 or 0 but will see all others.) Moderators have been known to abuse the ability to increase or decrease the score of comments, and in some cases entire threads of comments have been marked down to -1. Subsequently, a meta-moderation system was implemented to moderate the moderators and help contain abuses.

Switch? (1)

sTavvy (669239) | more than 11 years ago | (#5933218)

What about just putting a Switch in the middle of the town and running Cat5 out to everyone? thats a joke by the way

Hummingbird just might work. Kickass range. (5, Informative)

kennyj449 (151268) | more than 11 years ago | (#5933222)

I've been working here for some time as their resident linux freak / tech support slave / biased security know-it-all / networking software guru / site surveyer. I don't have an easily definable job title (I just HAD to be a religious /. reader, didn't I?) but I was originally hired for tech support so that's what I get referred to as. We're based out of Lake Mary but we work just about anywhere that has adequate demand, particularly in central and northern Florida.

We're actually working on getting an entire town in Louisiana, St. Joseph, up and running. Last I heard, we were doing it with a whopping TWO ACCESS POINTS and no range extenders. In a rural area. Two towers, two T1s, no other cabling outside of the towers themselves.

We've also got some interesting stuff in the works for Orange and Volusia counties, under the Wireless Law vendor. Basically, insanely-secure wifi for courtrooms. Biometrics, encryption that'd make the NSA hate us, our families, and our pets if we sold it on the open market, the works. ;)

Despite St. Louis being swamp/forest area, we've been able to get a connection using 802.11b via an integrated laptop card from as much as 2 miles *outside of town.*

Depending on the local topography and what man-made structures might be available, we might or might not want to build a tower or two to provide coverage in your area. If you have a few tall buildings that get enough clearance above the trees, rooftops alone might suffice.

Our antennas, which utilize some dead-sexy proprietary technology that *still* makes me drool, can keep up a connection to the average laptop for up to three miles in open-air under ideal circumstances; the worst range I've seen was 1/2-mile and that was with an *entire office building* between me and the nearest antenna, using a low-power Linksys 802.11b CompactFlash card in my PDA (Sharp Zaurus 5500 ^_^), with the antenna being only a few stories off the ground.

We've yet to see anybody do that without using a system that looks like a cold-war-era radar dish, let alone push that kind of signal through an entire building and into the rear parking lot successfully. Even the radar-looking setups don't do that as well as we do, despite being several times the size.

We don't even need to over-amp the antennas.

We also implement some decent QoS that, instead of simply capping your bandwidth like a cable modem, just gives you a "fair share" of what's available.

We can run from anything as simple as a 56k modem up to a set of full data T1s *per antenna*, the main limitation being the 802.11b protocol's limited bandwidth. This will go farther once 802.11g is finalized. In addition, we can (of course) set up range extenders with our antennas to make the most of a single pipe.

If you're ever going to be in the Maitland area just north of Orlando, contact us and we'll see about doing a demonstration of our technology at the local testing site. We have other locations in the works in Florida, but this is the only one we currently use for demos.

For more information, visit and read up. Contact info sits up there as well. I'm known in the company simply as "Ken" if anyone asks. :)

Alternate Topology with 802.11 (2, Interesting)

EvilTwinSkippy (112490) | more than 11 years ago | (#5933224)

I've been using a prototype of a topology where you use highly focused directional antennas to aim at a central station with an omnidirectional antenna. The key is focusing the attentions of your remote stations onto a single source.

I've been running the system between my office and my apartment (1/4 mile away) through trees for almost a year. I'm using off-the-shelf Linksys access points (1st gen, at that) and antennas I bought from a place in Canada. The access point in my apartment is programmed to be a client, and the "master node" just acts like a regular access point.

The system work well through trees, though I do tend to get a lot of noise during rain storms. I don't have rooftop access in my apartment, so I'm actually shooting the signal out of my apartment window.

If I had the remote on the roof with line of sight, I'm told the system will reach 2 miles.

The office access point has an 8db omnidirectinal antenna the focuses the energy into a flat disk. The remote has a panel-style antenna the focuses the energy into a 20degree cone. You don't have to be too picky with the aim, I can turn the panelmount 45 degrees either way.

Had it not worked, I was going mount the access point in a pelican case, bolt the panel antenna onto the outside, and drill a hole for the pigtail and the ethernet cable.

I also had plans to run power over the spare 2 pair of wires in the cat-5 jack. Rather than one of those hundred dollar POE kits, I was planning on boosting the voltage at house end, and have a 5V voltage regulator ($5 at radio shack) on the other.

Hell when I finally get laid off, that's my scheming Dotcom idea.

Slow? (1)

CausticWindow (632215) | more than 11 years ago | (#5933249)

Every time an article like this is posted to Slashdot, the poster mentions that they want to use a single T1 divided by 150-500 people.

Now, what on earth is the point of that? Why don't they all chip in on a modem for the local library or something like that? It'll cost less, and the speeds will be about the same, if you calculate in the time spent waiting in line.

What about ? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5933265)

Your community building towers higher than the trees, so you can use wireless.

look to fibre (2, Interesting)

cdn-programmer (468978) | more than 11 years ago | (#5933271)

Your biggest issue will probably be right-of-ways. If you can get everyone on the community to agree to a right of way then you have a number of options.

If not - look into incorporating your own telco and see if you can get the local authorities on side.

Physical installation will be expensive - but if _can_ look at a fiber link. Last I checked 6 conductor single mode fiber for overhead was only a wee bit more expensive than copper. Underground will probably be similarly expensize.

Last I checked there were ethernet to fiber drivers that ran 100 base-t (2/3 of a T1) for 50 miles and cost under $1000 USD. (allied telesyn for example). This issue here is that the capital cost is not out of line and the capacity is awesome.

With so much capacity you should be able to run local telephone dial up service and TV signals on the same fibre (but I haven't researched how). I just know there is a ton of bandwidth available.

Furthermore the infrastructure if it is put in properly will be viable for the forseeable future. I'd say over 100 years - but with technology who knows - maybe within 5 years something comes along. You have to take that chance. It is better to spend a little extra now and have something that is solid.

T1 will probably not be adequate for your users. But you can look at backbone links and if you do it right - other communities might join you and you can put the big ugly telcos out of their beauracratic misery.

Good luck.

similar situation (3, Interesting)

elphmorgan (672624) | more than 11 years ago | (#5933289)

We've got a similar situation with our cohousing [] community here in Ann Arbor MI where we would like to distribute internet access to the 37 households in our neighborhood as well as the 40 households across the pond in another cohousing community. Like you the issue isn't getting the connection to the net - it's connecting all the households. Even billing isn't an issue since we have association fees we can tack onto.

We're probably going to use a combination of cat5e in the ground (fiber was too expensive for us) and wireless (802.11g) with good antennas and maybe some mesh technology (if it's reliable and easy to maintain.) The bandhwidth shaping tools that I've read about would be nice but the expense is high and it may be one of those situations where it's best to wait for the problem before applying the solution. Good luck!

Old Cleetis lookin' for some lovin' (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5933300)

Ahh think all yuuhs need ta do is to get ahold of young Barney there, tie one end of the copper around his middle so it unwinds real nice off the reel, and send him on his way.

Just tell him that old Cleetis'll be after him soon, lookin' for some back door action cos he's feelin' kinda randy, and with his old six-shooter in case young Barney's not in a lovin' mood. You'll see Barney get that copper up to the first point faster than a streak of greased lightning. The the same thang off to the next house.

Dang I wish I lived in a community like yours !

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