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Temporary Wireless Service For An Outdoors Event?

simoniker posted more than 10 years ago | from the drape-ethernet-cables-in-foliage dept.

Wireless Networking 213

SBECK writes "I've been asked to come up with an estimate of how much it would cost to provide wireless internet service for a small convention being held at a campground. That would entail renting or buying enough wireless access points to give coverage to the area and getting temporary satellite Internet service. Unfortunately, I've never done any of this, so I'm floundering. I'd love to get some pointers from anyone who has any experience setting up something like this. What ISP services provide temporary satellite service for something like this?"

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Electricity (4, Insightful)

Vokbain (657712) | more than 10 years ago | (#9202220)

The first thing you need to find out is if the campground has power available. If it doesn't, then the cost of this project will go way up.

more on power... (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9202358)

Here [pornstarguru.com] is a good list of campgrounds that have power available.

All campgrounds have electricity (1)

blorg (726186) | more than 10 years ago | (#9202397)

I would be extremely surprised if it didn't have power available; all campgrounds will have power to at least a central point (e.g. campground office). Many/most will also be able to supply power to caravans and possibly even larger tents (never used that myself, as our two-person tent has to be small enough to carry on a bicycle.) The only places that I've camped which didn't have power somewhere were places that we shouldn't have been camping to begin with (field, side of road, picnic area, etc.)

This is my experience camping in Spain and France, anyway. If it's the sort of campground that is holding some sort of convention I think it's a fair guess they have power.

No They Don't (3, Insightful)

millahtime (710421) | more than 10 years ago | (#9202650)

Not all camp grounds have electricity. Sure, the nice little parks with all the slotted out areas have them. But, there are many camping areas back in the woods that don't have power. And they are areas for camping. I know, I have gone there. I first went with the boy scouts as a kid.

Re:No They Don't (2, Insightful)

JAgostoni (685117) | more than 10 years ago | (#9202664)

I would have to say that if this company is
(a) having a large meeeting in an outdoor area
(b) Has some sort of need for a wireless network
(c) Plans on using computers for that wireless network ... then their faces would be jsut a little red if they made the mistake of choosing a campground that had no power. Not that I wouldn't put it past them, but hopefully they were smart enough to figure that one out

Yar (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9202221)

How about I temporarily wire my foot up your ass!

Re:Yar (0, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9202300)

How about I temporarily wire my foot up your ass!

Oh you mean Rectaltronics [rectaltronics.com] ? They support the AnusBus and ButtStream RS-66 interfaces but not 802.11x.

fp! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9202222)

woot! fp!

get outa my way bitch!!! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9202223)

I gotta get this first post!

Uplink? (2, Informative)

wazlaf (681158) | more than 10 years ago | (#9202224)

Even for satellite providers, you will need some sort of uplink like an ISDN or analog line. Probably this is not available where you would like to have your net access.

Re:Uplink? (3, Informative)

heydonms (734951) | more than 10 years ago | (#9202229)

not so atleast in Australia you can get two way satellite latency is terribly but throughput is supposed to be very good

Re:Uplink? (4, Informative)

Mycroft_VIII (572950) | more than 10 years ago | (#9202236)

Not unless you are using older equipment. Newer equipment can uplink to the satalite as well as downlink from it.
Bi-directional has been available for a few years now. Sheesh I get enough spam for it in my mailbox, some of it from my isp(earthlink) who also sends adds for dsl, which isn't available within my zip or and of the neighboring zips.

Mycroft

Re:Uplink? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9202265)

No you don't. Two-way satellite is available to both home and business users.

Insightful?? NO, just wrong (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9202318)

Even for satellite providers, you will need some sort of uplink like an ISDN or analog line

Sorry, this is wrong. Check out DirecWay [direcway.com] for at least one provider for 2 way sat comms.

Re:Uplink? (1)

Lumpy (12016) | more than 10 years ago | (#9202415)

sorry but I have directPC sattelite internet that uplinks via sattelite.

you should look at the newer stuff, it's very different (but still has 3000ms latency minimum.)

Re:Uplink? (4, Informative)

omahajim (723760) | more than 10 years ago | (#9202769)

you should look at the newer stuff, it's very different (but still has 3000ms latency minimum.)

Try Starband for 700-800ms latency. Reasonably reliable IP service for an office of 8 users in very remote Colorado mountain country, although their call center blows chunks. I can even VNC (through SSH) to that office, it's slow but the link doesn't drop and it's useable.

--
Karma and Foes, who cares.

Re:Uplink? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9202416)

A related story [pornstarguru.com]

Are you going to call it... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9202226)

WiFi-stock?

Personally (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9202231)

I'd just tell them you'll skullfuck them if they don't provide the service themselves.

Cheap generic routers with third party firmware (4, Informative)

DamnYankee (18417) | more than 10 years ago | (#9202232)

I would recommend using cheap AP's designed for home use and a third party firmware that allows them to link up and form a mesh.

The Linksys WRT54G is about $70 or less on Amazon and with third party firmware it can be linked into a mesh using something called WDS.

You can also add PoE and larger antennas quite reasonably.

See the Sveasoft site [sveasoft.com] for more information.

Low Bandwidth, Low Cost Solution (4, Funny)

taxevader (612422) | more than 10 years ago | (#9202237)

Get the WiFi cyclist to park his bike and shout him a few beers.

psand have been doing this in the UK (5, Informative)

funkytwig (780501) | more than 10 years ago | (#9202238)

you should check out psand(http://wireless.psand.net/) who have been doing this at various outside events and festivals in the UK using satelite to get conectivity. They are a very frendly bunch (I met one of them in Bristol, UK) and I am sure they would love to talk to you. I think they were involved with C4's Big Brother House Reality TV thing also. They even had a tricicly with wierless access. "To visit our general Internet and network services web site click here. Internet connectivity has become an integral addition to the majority of outdoor events, both as a service for public and professionals, and as an essential part of the event organisation. As many outdoor events take place in rural areas, establishing the set-up for Internet connectivity often requires installation of a cabled network, which can be both expensive and time-consuming. Psand.net specialises in satellite and wireless communication networks. As a fully self-contained mobile unit, we are able to arrive on site before or during your event, and establish a fast, reliable and cost-effective Internet connectivity network in a matter of hours, without the need for cabling or any other installations. In the summer of 2002, we provided Internet connectivity at a number of large-scale weekend festivals in the UK. Using our innovative technology, we provided an Internet café, as well as the facilities for media streaming and live radio broadcast to web."

Re:psand have been doing this in the UK (1)

funkytwig (780501) | more than 10 years ago | (#9202256)

Sorry, that should of been a Tricycle with wierless internet access. Found the link to this iTrike [psand.net]

Re:psand have been doing this in the UK (1)

SB5 (165464) | more than 10 years ago | (#9202264)

There is also a guy on a bicycle doing it... I forget who and where, but I probably saw it on TechTV or Discovery channels....

Re:psand have been doing this in the UK (2, Interesting)

spj524 (526706) | more than 10 years ago | (#9202421)

From the website:

Lessons Learnt:

There are more people with good suggestions than people with desire to carry them out.

Re:psand have been doing this in the UK (1, Flamebait)

dj245 (732906) | more than 10 years ago | (#9202739)

What the hell is that clickey link thingey? this is news for nerds, not news for internet bulletinboard script junkies. Learn HTML already. Psand [psand.net]

Re:psand have been doing this in the UK (2, Funny)

funkytwig (780501) | more than 10 years ago | (#9202817)

My first posting to slashdot and it reached a score of 5! I guess other thought the small inconvenience of the link not being clickable and the spelling mistake(s) massively outweighed the relevance / usfullness of the post. Lets not turn this into a flameboard, I work on the principle that if you cant say anything nice don't say anything at all ;-). Anyway I admit i'me not really a nerd, i've afraid I have a social life.

Direcway (4, Informative)

Pascal666 (514343) | more than 10 years ago | (#9202246)

Grab a DW6000 from Direcway. Bi-directional satellite (no analog or isdn uplink needed) and provides you and ethernet port. Put either a router on preferably a transparent proxy server on it and connect up your access points on the other side. Make sure you have an UPS for each access point in addition to the one for your server/satellite.

-Pascal

Re:Direcway (5, Informative)

samurphy21 (193736) | more than 10 years ago | (#9202468)

Problem being that the DW6000 + Dish costs over $1000 cdn for the equipment, let alone the installation, which is not simply plopping a dish on the side of a barn like DTV woud be. The tuning of a DirectWay/Lincsat dish is extremely sensitive, especially for the uplink. Once the dish is properly aligned for +60% transmitter strength, the mere act of gently tightening the bolts often throws it +/- 5% out of wack.

Lincsat is trying to get the DW4000 modems out the door, and is offering a deal of $499CDN with dish, free installation, and 'only' $49.95 for the first two months. After that, the price goes up to the regular $79.95/month for the remainder of the two year contract.

Re:Direcway (4, Informative)

malchus842 (741252) | more than 10 years ago | (#9202544)

This is not inexpensive to setup - the hardware isn't cheap (though you might find it on E-bay). BUT, the major issue is that in the US, you have to have a licensed installer because the DW6000 has a built-in uplink. Of course, if you know someone who has is licensed and is willing to do it, you can save there.

And, having had quite a bit of experience with Direcway, if you have any kind of bad weather, you may have no connectivity. Rain is your enemy.

Re:Direcway (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9202592)

Actually, the biggest problem with direcway is the BS hourly cap they impose. You are only allowed 160M/hour with it using some crap 'emptying bucket' algorithm....basically as your download/upload, the transfer bucket 'fills', until you reach your cap. It 'drains' (allowing more download) as some bullcrap rate like 20kpbs, so you can get 1 good download and are pretty screwed for a while....

Re:Direcway (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9202751)

Mod parent down please, read the brother posts. The person wants a temporary solution, directway is about as permanent as it gets, and as touchy a device as they come. sneeze on the thing and your internet is gone. Not any good for an outdoor temporary event. Definately a troll.

What you really need... (5, Funny)

blackwing0013 (680833) | more than 10 years ago | (#9202257)

Camp Area... Wireless Access... what you really need is this [ietf.org] .

Re:What you really need... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9202370)

and here [linux.no] are the nutters that actually tested it!


RFC2529 [ietf.org] updates RFC1149. Anybody tried it out yet?

Re:What you really need... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9202734)

Camp Area Network.
Can you tell me where I can find the CAN?
KenWooD

Re:What you really need... (1)

Jeff DeMaagd (2015) | more than 10 years ago | (#9202781)

IPoB (IP over Bird?)

anyway, back to thread topic:

I have to think, of all the....

erm...

I thought one of the attractions of doing remote camping was to get AWAY from technology for a few days?

I do think the project is interesting, but it seems to defeat the point of the event. I think standard convention houses offer at least broadband, I can't say much for wireless.

Sell your wireless (5, Interesting)

Mc_Anthony (181237) | more than 10 years ago | (#9202261)

Here in Pasadena, many people who live the in the homes surrounding the Rose Bowl will sell your wireless connections during an event that are easily available near the parking lots. The connections go anywhere from $100 to as low as $10 for an IP. It can be very handy!

Personally, I use my cell/Palm-PDA to surf when I'm away from home/work. I love my Samsung i500!!!!

Ask Burning Man? (5, Interesting)

Chalybeous (728116) | more than 10 years ago | (#9202266)

I don't know much about this kind of technology, but I know that there are similar setups going on at the Burning Man [burningman.com] festival every year. Maybe it's worth looking around the site to see if you can find anecdotes and contact info for people who've done the same.
Also, the Mars Society [marssociety.org] uses satellite hookups to keep in touch with its field stations. Perhaps they can give you some pointers?

Depending on where the event is held and how well cellphone signals can be received, you might also want to try a mobile phone carrier. A lot of the larger UK events like Glastonbury are, I believe, getting support in this area from larger telcos. It may be more complex, and will probably involve getting everyone a new PCMCIA card, but it could be an option.

Sorry I couldn't be of more help; sadly IANA techie, but I hope these couple of snippets I've seen around the net are of use to you.

Re:Ask Burning Man? (1)

The_Mr_Flibble (738358) | more than 10 years ago | (#9202296)

Now this is a strange post to read as a couple of weaks ago I was approached by the bods in our marketing department wondering if we can do exactly this sort of thing for an event being held localy. My Answer was yes, our wireless coverage of the town can give you a very good interweb connection pretty much anywhere (well at least on one side of the multistory building it's all on). So at some point in the future I will have a day full of free food (and back stage passes)

Re:Ask Burning Man? (1, Funny)

neglige (641101) | more than 10 years ago | (#9202320)

...I will have a day full of free food...

So you will network for food? ;)

Re:Ask Burning Man? (1, Funny)

The_Mr_Flibble (738358) | more than 10 years ago | (#9202336)

Yes (well they pay me peanuts for what I do now so no difference there).

Re:Ask Burning Man? (4, Interesting)

Ian Peon (232360) | more than 10 years ago | (#9202316)

You're thinking of the PlayaNet [playanet.org] folks. Really interesting stuff.

They get the additional fun of having to put up with Dr Megavolt [mit.edu] . Last time I was out there (a few years back) I chatted with a few guys trying to do some long wire runs and RF comms. Appearantly everytime Dr. Volt's van drove by and fired the Tesla, they'd lose another piece of gear!

Re:Ask Burning Man? (5, Informative)

scubacuda (411898) | more than 10 years ago | (#9202324)

Tachyon [tachyon.net] is the place that provides Internet Burning Man.

Re:Ask Burning Man? (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9202442)

Burning Man, "BM", stick figures, the word Playa, the place name "Black Rock", the word "decompression" and vague attempts at avoiding using these words like "party in the desert", etc are all copyright and trademarked Black Rock City, LLC.

Black Rock City, LLC - we pretend to be about freedom, bullshit "gift economies", etc but we are really about money, protecting the IP that 1,000's of people helped create and market but luckily we are the only ones allowed to put up a gate and charge for entry to the last hippie/hipster paradise (tm) and prosecute anyone who utters any of our words without paying us.

PS In the proud tradition of IP thieves everywhere, we stole the idea. I guess the poor New Mexican artist Bud Schuster didn't have the market savvy and foresight to copyright and trademark the shit out of his ideas and those of the poor locals celebrating the reconquest of the NM territory in 1712. Burning Man Stole their idea from this [loc.gov] Zozobra

Suck it, you Black Rock City, more-hipster-than-thou fucks.

Line of sight? (5, Informative)

Blastrogath (579992) | more than 10 years ago | (#9202268)

Have you thought of checking the hills in and around the campground to see if any of them have line of sight into a town?

You may only need 2 directional antenas instead of a satilite uplink.

Re:Line of sight? (3, Interesting)

zakezuke (229119) | more than 10 years ago | (#9202286)

You may only need 2 directional antenas instead of a satilite uplink.

Depending on whether this is a comercial project or not, one might be able to use the amature shortwave / longwave bands. It has it's limits, but it's not limited to line of site as with microwave.

Re:Line of sight? (3, Insightful)

Guido del Confuso (80037) | more than 10 years ago | (#9202383)

Yeah, but I think the max speed you can get out of most equipment at those frequencies is something like 28.8kbps, maybe less. Also, I think you might run afoul of the FCC by letting a bunch of non-amateur operators use the frequencies unsupervised.

Re:Line of sight? (4, Insightful)

BrianRaker (633638) | more than 10 years ago | (#9202433)

Something like this would make me cringe with the possibility of running afoul with the FCC for using the wireless connection for commercial purposes... What if someone were to use the wireless connection to order something (food, pizza, amazon)? That's a commercial transaction, and that's verboten in FCC Part 97. Besides, with longwave and shortwave, you're not gonna get any better than 9600bps. Best off looking at bouncing the data off a bird in the sky (satellite).

brian de kf4zwz

Re:Line of sight? (3, Informative)

tiger99 (725715) | more than 10 years ago | (#9202763)

Don't know about regulations in the US, but in the UK we have some provision around 458MHz and a few other places, but the bandwidth is really only 9600, or maybe 19200. We also have bands around 1300MHz and IIRC 2400MHz, for video links etc, which could carry data, but the radiated power is limited because the band is shared with other things. You will not be able to extend a broadband thing like WiFi (or even worse, Bluetooth) very far directly , even with directional antennae, so you need the other options. There are mircowave links of the type used by telecom operators, most likely vastly too expensive for a one-off.

Why not try negotiating with the site owner about having the system installed permanently, that way the costs can be recovered from users over a long time, so an expensive solution might become viable?

If you can get an ADSL line to the site, it gets easier and you only need standard stuff, firewall, router, WiFi access points and so on. It would be best to have a caching proxy server, it can take a lot of load off the line as many people might be looking at the same sites. All of this is straightforward Linux/BSD/Windoze (if you really must) territory, the only thing difficult is the telecom infrastructure. Oh, and watch out for electrical safety regulations, there are lots of potential difficulties, and you reall do need to know your local regulations, and comply with them, or use low-voltage batteries for the lot.

I would ask the local telecom provider how much a decently fast line would cost before messing with satellite systems. The people who supply networking, cable TV, or voice comms in that geographic area are the people who know. In the UK, which does not help you very much, BT can and will provide a voice line or lines (you could aggregate the bandwidth with multiple modems) anywhere, or an ISDN line in most places, ADSL gets slightly harder because of the distance limit. All this is at a cost, of course......

Just let them (3, Funny)

Timesprout (579035) | more than 10 years ago | (#9202272)

for a small convention being held at a campground

Use their Trekie Communicators.

Re:Just let them (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9202671)

We could modify warp core field to amplify communicator frequencies and sub space communication. That way we could provide interstellar connectivity to all campgrounds in the D-quadrant!

Launch the beacons!

more info please? (4, Informative)

MoreDruid (584251) | more than 10 years ago | (#9202281)

Kind of hard to answer:
  • how big is the camping ground you are holding the event?
  • what speed would you like to give? AP's should be 802.11b/g compliant (more expensive) for compatibility
try to team up with a provider of some sorts, and get some sponsored stuff. They provide the internet connectivity (and get free PR), you just deal with the local problem (in your case the WiFi stuff).

I've organised a few LAN-parties (up to ~250 attendants) and providers are more than willing to help you out. Also talk to one of your local IT shops, they usually don't mind you using their stock for this kind of event for a small rental fee. As an example: for a LAN-party for 100 participants we paid about 200,-- in fees for the whole network infrastructure & server park. We got to use 3 3com superstack switches and 5 dual xeon servers. The internet router (cisco 2600 series) was provided by the ISP. We just hooked the stuff up & had a great party. The help provided by both the ISP & the IT-shop was tremendous. All the help we got was from volunteers of those companies... they only asked free entrance in the gaming contest in return. Oh, and some beers :).

Re:more info please? (4, Insightful)

pe1chl (90186) | more than 10 years ago | (#9202291)

More info:

- in which country is this event going to be held?
- what infrastructure do you have available?

going to satellite link should only be a last resort.

Re:more info please? (1)

thetroll123 (744259) | more than 10 years ago | (#9202607)

AP's should be 802.11b/g compliant (more expensive) for compatibility

Bzzzzt! WRONG! They should be straight 802.11b for cheapness (802.11g cards will still work), I'm guessing he's not looking to offer >11Mbps to visitors...

Re:more info please? (1)

Chazmati (214538) | more than 10 years ago | (#9202648)

They might not need more than 11 Mbps to the outside, but they may want to link to each other at higher speeds.

802.11g isn't that expensive now, either.

Re:more info please? (1)

tiger99 (725715) | more than 10 years ago | (#9202860)

That was very good value for money! I live in the UK unfortunately, our telecom monopoly (OK it isn't any more, but only in some places) could not supply a short-term connection for that price, far less all the servers and things.

For servers, if you do this kind of thing often, it would pay to accumulate obsolete PCs (a lot of people seem to be disposing of 733MHz Pentiums thse days, they don't cost very much at all), for use as servers, they are perfectly adequate for Linux or FreeBSD. That way you could keep them all properly configured, just need to change the gateway/router config each time, and it is a good use for what might otherwise become landfill. I am collecting some for a different purpose, large offices are regularly disposing of them, no doubt because Sir Bill's latest bloatware is too slow and needs 2 or 3 GHz. What a waste! If it has only a 10MHz network, putting in a 100MHz card will not exactly break the bank, in fact if you put in several cards, filling all the PCI slots, you have an instant router/bridge/firewall (depending which you need). You sometimes also see 100MHz ethernet switches being disposed of, maybe they have moved to GHz or need more ports, or whatever. They are definitely worth acquiring.

I would advise allowing plenty of setup time, something will go wrong. Best to be ready at least a day before people arrive, if possible.

Static or mobile devices? (4, Interesting)

Robmonster (158873) | more than 10 years ago | (#9202293)

One thing to consider is whether the radio client dewvices are going to be sttic (like laptops left setup on a desk) or mobile (like handheld PDA's for example)

If you are having static devices that get setup, connected then left in place for the duration then you can get away with using cheaper network switches. However, if youa re using mainly mobile devices then you can get disconnections as the user roams between access points on different cheaper switches.

This has happened to some of our customers using handheld barcode scanners as they network equuipment could not perform the handoff between access pints quick enough, logging the radio user off.

Not really directly answering your question but its something to consider.

Re:Static or mobile devices? (2, Funny)

thaddjuice (235568) | more than 10 years ago | (#9202640)

"...the radio client dewvices..."

Is that what happens to electronics the morning after a night of camping?

Re:Static or mobile devices? (1)

kylegordon (159137) | more than 10 years ago | (#9202752)

Maybe it's not the electronics, but something else from the night before...
...between access pints...
:-)

I GOT A GREASED UP YODA DOLL SHOVED UP MY ASS! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9202313)

GO LINUX!

Try a local computer provider... (5, Interesting)

theirishman (749404) | more than 10 years ago | (#9202327)

It depends on the country that you are in..but most of the small sercice providers will be able to help sort something like that out for you.. try talking to them..if they can not help directly they most likey know a company that can.

Even if you offer them a stand at the event to allow them to show off their services, you can probley get them to help out!!!

I know the manager, but not sure if they have what you need.

http://www.eurorent.ie

Why Fi? (-1, Offtopic)

tiredwired (525324) | more than 10 years ago | (#9202379)

Why bother going to a campground if you are just going to be online? Why not "camp" in a hotel suite?

Re:Why Fi? (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9202426)

because you're a prick.

Re:Why Fi? (1)

SmackCrackandPot (641205) | more than 10 years ago | (#9202581)

Why bother going to a campground if you are just going to be online? Why not "camp" in a hotel suite?

Because they did that last year, and the hotel manager hasn't forgiven them for setting off the fire-alarms after they tried to have a traditional barbecue in the conference hall.

Outsourcing... (3, Insightful)

igrp (732252) | more than 10 years ago | (#9202393)

Like others, I too would recommend using SoHo equipment. You can get it cheap, resell it at virtually no loss after the event and the world doesn't end when something breaks (trust me - it will; SoHo equipment wasn't designed for 24/7 use in rugged, outdoor terrain).

Also, try to stick with as few different vendors as possible. That way, you won't introduce unnecessary incompatibilities and you won't have to deal with different setups and configurations (that may not be such a big problem as long as you stick to using SoHo equipment, as it's usually fairly standard-compliant and easily configured through a web interface).

If your conference is really out in the middle of nowhere though consider turning to the pros. I have worked with T-Mobile techs on providing Internet access at an outdoor sports event in a fairly secluded area and have nothing but good things to say about them. Since there were no landlines and no WiFi coverage available we basically had to rely on cell transmissions. So we setup a IEEE 802.11 network and they provided the cell-phone backend. We had to put in a few restrictions (bandwidth throttling, etc) to ensure that the network was reasonably secure and to keep costs in check but it did work like a charm. Of course, that might not be an option depending on your choice of locale and your budget.

Space Wagon full of tapes? (1)

ScottishManiac (739378) | more than 10 years ago | (#9202395)

Hey, as long as you have an access road you can have bandwidth!

you have the money honey, I have the time. (1)

inertialmatrix (675777) | more than 10 years ago | (#9202545)

yeah, but I hear the the latency is a bitch.

=]

Re:you have the money honey, I have the time. (1)

Zone-MR (631588) | more than 10 years ago | (#9202971)

Yes, and the bandwidth isn't that impressive either.

It's amazing how many times I've heard the argument that a wagon full of tapes delivers bandwidth which can compete with our outperform Internet2. BULLSHIT.

The people always forget or deliberatly ignore the fact that you need to write the data to tape, and then read it at the other end. The speed with which most tape drives can store data is often a lot lower than a 100Mbit internet link.

Sponsors? (4, Informative)

ElGanzoLoco (642888) | more than 10 years ago | (#9202405)

What kind of gathering is it? I dunno about the satellite link, but perhaps you could get your WiFi base stations to be sponsored by some manufacturer or ISP...

"WiFi hotspot courtesy of Apple|Linksys|Lucent" blah blah blah... I know in France, Apple sponsors big events organized by the municipality and lends quite a lot of equipment. Maybe you should try.

Re:Sponsors? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9202796)

Finally an intelligent post. Get other people to pay for it. Get other people to solve this problem. Learn from the process and do it bigger and better next year. I have run five public events here in Chicago and the first thing we do is line up sponsors - if we get enough then the event is free! Good luck with the event!

Mesh networking (5, Informative)

douglashunter (766691) | more than 10 years ago | (#9202407)

There are plenty of open source solutions for setting up a mesh network, some of which are covered here [oreillynet.com] .

Thomas Krag & Co. also maintain a wiki [wire.less.dk] that you may find useful.

Mobile Mesh [mitre.org] runs in user-land and is covered by the GPL. It seems to get the best reviews.

-- Douglas

Satellite rental (2, Interesting)

ayelvington (718605) | more than 10 years ago | (#9202412)

I know that Direct-Way has a self aligning rental unit available on a daily basis. (Shipped to and from via Fedex) Power is going to be a challenge Please let us know how you pull this off! ay

Re:Satellite rental (1)

victor_the_cleaner (723411) | more than 10 years ago | (#9202565)

Do you have any information (links) about the rental service?

Re:Satellite rental (3, Informative)

ayelvington (718605) | more than 10 years ago | (#9202613)

http://www.skycasters.com/portable-transportable.h tml I personally tested a unit and it met my needs nicely. Takes very little power and meets FCC regs for installation without a technician. (Self aiming system.) Best regards, Al

Re:Satellite rental (0)

thetroll123 (744259) | more than 10 years ago | (#9202634)

Why's power a problem? What am I missing?

1. Rent generator
2. Fill generator
3. Start generator
4. Plug stuff into generator
5. ???
6. Profit!!

Why not ad-hoc (4, Interesting)

sgraine (705489) | more than 10 years ago | (#9202462)

if you have enough clients the network will create itself.

Did it at the MASP (5, Interesting)

6800 (643075) | more than 10 years ago | (#9202510)

Last year at the Mid Atlantic Star Party, directway was gatewayed into a field near Robbins, NC for a large group of amateur astronomers. www.masp.org now has the plans for 2004 and the 'internet' activity links to an invalid page. It worked quite well. They used an MS box for the gw, you could use the dw6000, I suppose, to better advantage. They also had multiple linux boxes running local web servering and the like. Not sure if they used squid or what but if so, it was a transparent proxy method. Cheers, Russ

What at a camp ground and net access is a piority? (0, Flamebait)

mpost4 (115369) | more than 10 years ago | (#9202598)

Hell are we that much of a slave to the internet???
My first thought would be that would be fun to leave the electronic tech at home, and enjoy the time away from it. I probably would take a bike and look around. Maybe go for a hike, when I don't have to do the meeting shit. maybe a few books, how often does your boss send you out to a camp, enjoy it!!! have fun.

Tech was made for man, not man for tech.

My guess (1, Funny)

pw1972 (686596) | more than 10 years ago | (#9202672)

Find the closest area with the bandwidth you need and hire a few bums to bolt directional access points to their heads, pointing at each other.

I've heard of people getting 25 miles with a clear line of sight.

You might want to put the bums up someplace high and provide them with their drink of choice for the duration of the event.

Why WiFi at a Campground? (1)

scorp1us (235526) | more than 10 years ago | (#9202729)

I thought you go camping to get away from all the technology and husle and bustle of modern life. I mean, that's the only logical conclusion unless lack of climate control, mosquitos, spiders, bears and scorpions are considered "worth-while" to experience first-hand.

Maybe you mean RVing?

I'd look at a simple WiFi router and some HAM radio equiment to do it on the cheap. Remember, Linux kernels can do that kind of thing ;-) I dunno if you can find a HAM ISP though.

Re:Why WiFi at a Campground? (1)

Dekaner (72280) | more than 10 years ago | (#9202760)

Maybe it's a Geocaching or other outdoors / technology related activity. Many of the Geocaching organizations reguarily hold events [geocaching.com] .

Re:Why WiFi at a Campground? (1)

Goody (23843) | more than 10 years ago | (#9202791)

I dunno if you can find a HAM ISP though.

Hams (not HAM) cannot be WISPs as Amateur Radio is a non-comercial service.

Re:Why WiFi at a Campground? (1)

scorp1us (235526) | more than 10 years ago | (#9203001)

Right, but all they need to find some cool guy to route packets for them through whatever connection he has.

in other news (2, Informative)

Richthofen80 (412488) | more than 10 years ago | (#9202789)

slashdot user wants slashdot users to do his work for him!

do what I do when consulting: say anything is possible, but estimate something that can't possibily be affordable.

PS - Most campgrounds have one residential unit on the lot; its usually where the owners live and it usually can get cable. Contact the local cable company to see if they can provide high speed internet service to the residence, then base your wireless out of the residency (something on the roof, then repeaters)

You need magicbike. (0)

rkasper (114894) | more than 10 years ago | (#9202790)

magicbike [magicbike]

Re:You need magicbike. (1)

dleifelohcs (777508) | more than 10 years ago | (#9203012)

what a great link you provided. Here's a real one, WITH www and .net included for your browsing enjoyment.

MagicBike [magicbike.net]

Some work has been done on the ISP side (1)

tcyun (80828) | more than 10 years ago | (#9202798)

I am aware of some work done at Ohio State University on the connectivity needs from the ISP point of view (campground to the internet). The solution involves a satellite uplink, a pickup truck and a portable gas generator. The project is called Transportable Satellite Internet System (TSIS) (project page [oar.net] , press release [osu.edu] , photographs [osu.edu] )

The folks at OSU might be willing to share information. I know they have used the trailer system to provide 11b wireless to events held "out in a field" as well.

Cash and Cache (1)

tbase (666607) | more than 10 years ago | (#9202810)

I think it's pretty obvious that cheap WAPs and either a DirecWay or line-of-site to the nearest local broadband link is the way to go, but there are also a couple other things to consider. First, find out what they're going to be doing. If it's a conference for one company, make sure you find out what sites they'll be surfing the most, and use a proxy server that supports a web cache. If you have a few dozen people viewing a 50Mb PDF file, you'll want that to be local. There's plenty of free proxy servers available for all platforms. It would be best if you could find a way to do it with a setup disk, so that people wouldn't have and difficulty setting up their connection. And if you forced everyone through a Proxy, you could presumably block all the ports you don't need, which in this day and age is almost crucial. Another issue is liability. I don't know how hotels with free WiFi access handle it, but most have no security turned on in order to make it easy for people to use it. Unfortunately, if you get a bunch of people on this wireless lan with Windows laptops that haven't been updated in a while, one infected user could cause you some serious problems. It might be best (even if impractical) to require everyone to sign a waiver saying you and the event sponsor aren't responsible if they get infected or hacked. If possible, you might want to set up an SMTP server and make everyone use that. You'll never get anyone to change their settings and use it, but if you could, that would save a lot of bandwidth too. All of this has to be adapted to who the users are and where they are on a skill level scale. If this is a conference for systems administrators, then you could do all of this and enable WEP too, because setup wouldn't be an issue for them. If it's a conference for graphic designers, good luck. No offence to graphic designers, but in my experience a majority of them are infinitely more skilled at design than they are at configuring network settings. I agree with some other posters that buying the equipment is the way to go. If all goes well, it might be something you want to do again for other clients. Even if not, you could sell everything on eBay when you're done and still probably come out way ahead over renting. Good luck!

Best advice you'll get ... (1)

arhar (773548) | more than 10 years ago | (#9202848)

... if you're having a convention outside, you don't NEED computers. Enjoy the outside world, have a barbeque, play frisbee (I dare not say any other sport in fear for my karma, I already got it too low giving honest answers like this), and forget about computers, if at least for ONE DAY.

God, I wanna do that so bad ...

wifi at campsite (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9202859)

I provided wifi for 500 people for a week at a
scout camp site in North Carolina by a satellite link last year.
For a bit of a write up see http://www.austintek.com/wifi/wifi.html#masp_2003
(disclaimer - page advertises my services).
The gear was all standard commodity WAPs. Except
for one linux laptop, all users were windows.
Laptops connected via dhcp. My gear was all linux, except for the satellite link which required M$.
I provided outbound e-mail, websurfing with a local squid, samba file shares for people to upload images from digital cameras. I wrote a local webpage with menu at the chuck wagon, schedules for speakers and events, exhibits.
Since the gear was basically my home
setup (except for the satellite link), the cost
was minimal. The real cost was the time to setup
and run the show. In the field I found that
the WAPs would freeze up every couple of hours
and would need to be power cycled.
I spent a lot of time helping
fix deranged Windows machines so that users could
connect by wifi. The range of skills of users was
large. Some people managed to connect without
coming to see me, while other people required
several hours of work on their machines before
the wifi client would fire up. Chasing people to
get info for the local webpage and writing it up
also took a lot of time.

Maybe Linkspot can help? (1)

OhHellWithIt (756826) | more than 10 years ago | (#9202886)

There's a Virginia company called Linkspot (http://www.linkspot.com) that is in the business of providing wireless access at campgrounds. Although they don't do satellite comm (that I know of), and they're geared toward long-term service with the campground, they might be able to work a deal with the campground you're using, assuming it's a private campground.

yuo 7a1l it (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9202888)

i've done exactly this kind of thing before (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9202901)

Used the hughes starband / direcway stuff that
was mentioned already... make sure you use
the 6xxx earthstations and NOT the 4020, the
4020 has really idiotic problems with DNS that
will probably never be fixed and is a PITA.

Then I got 1 access point... a SmartBridges
AIRPoint Pro outdoor with a N-type antenna lead,
hooked that up to a YDI 500mw amplifier and hooker
the amp up to a omni antenna. This was
enough to cover the entire festival area, which
was about 0.75 miles square... amplifiers do
wonders. I got the wireless gear from
electrocomm
(http://www.electro-comm.com [electro-comm.com] ).

In order to get my single antenna system to
work right, I needed some height. So I
got something from aluma that was sort
of portable and relatively affordable... they're in
Vero Beach, FL which is pretty cool.
(http://www.alumatower.com [alumatower.com] )

Oh, one thing about the satellite stuff is that
you have to really do something about the latency
due to satellite round trip times (~ 1 second !!!).
I used a backend appliance for authentication
that happened to have a web cache called
AIRlok (http://www.air-lok.com [air-lok.com] )
but I could've just gone the squid route if I wanted to
spend the time to do it all myself.

Hooking it all up was pretty easy... the earthstation
has an ethernet out, I just cross over cabled that
into the AIRlok (which has two ethernet outs, one
for WAN, one for LAN), and then cross overed the
AIRlok's LAN to the smartbridge AIRPoint Pro.

Power was relatively straightforward... just got an DC to AC
converter that hooked up to a car 12V output (well
the one I got was super heavy duty and also hooked up
directly to the car battery) and then pluged a UPS into
the converter. One thing you should be careful about
is getting a real online UPS and not a regular UPS that
will switch over to battery when the power cuts out...
this will clean up your power signal nicely. The one I
used was by Liebert but I've heard good things about
some others. Do not use the regular old APC UPS things
that go for $200.00 if you do it this way... they do
not properly condition the line, at least, in my experience.

Good luck.

Maybe this is close to what you're looking for (3, Informative)

RackinFrackin (152232) | more than 10 years ago | (#9202926)

The Soapbox [websoapbox.com] company specializes in portable connectivity. They mainly do political events, but from their info page [websoapbox.com] it looks like they could set up pretty much anywhere.

Here are some people with experience: (2, Informative)

NumbThumb (468496) | more than 10 years ago | (#9202932)

ask some of those [www.ccc.de] guys, so have experience [wiki.ccc.de] . In the wiki you might even be able to find the info you were looking for. You'll find a lot of people to ask, anyway.

The CCC Camp 2003 was a really cool event [xs4all.nl] , and i really hope there are going to be more camps like this in the future (thanks, guys!).

wireless bridging (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9202957)

if you have 2000$ in cash get two of these:
DWL-1750 AirPremier Outdoor 2.4GHz (802.11b) Wireless Bridge/Router

overview:
http://www.dlink.com/products/?pid=35

product spec.:
http://www.dlink.com/products/resource.asp ?pid=35& rid=179

it's 5.6 km with the "normal" antenna, but a
"add on" directional antenna can get you 20 km
at a lowely 1 mbps ...

Long Range WiFi Connection (2, Informative)

n-baxley (103975) | more than 10 years ago | (#9202964)

Depending on where you are, you might be able to hook up with a long range WiFi company. I currently use a company called PrairieINet here in Central Illinois and get my 802.11b signal from their tower 8 miles away. I then distribute it within the house with my own 802.11b router. I'd look into those providers around your area.

Fair Access Policy (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9203003)

If you're going to use Direcway, you should be aware of their Fair Access Policy ("FAP") [direcway.com] . Basically, if your users download too much, the connection is throttled back to dial-up speeds for 8-12 hours. The definition of "too much" varies by the class of service that you buy, but the rule applies to all account types.

where is this event? (3, Informative)

mcdade (89483) | more than 10 years ago | (#9203021)

You never stated where the event is or how much bandwidth is needed..

Some cases you can have the phone company provision a line to the site (though you generally need a few weeks to make this happen). It is possible that the site already has phone/dsl service (unless it's out in the middle of nowhere).

One of the best options is to see if there is a wireless provider in the area and back haul a connection from them, in some cases there are many free/opensource type communities that run their own wireless core network. Look at settle wireless or the BAWUG (Bay area wireless user group) as they have done point to point backhauls to a park so everyone could surf while they were there... backhaul with some good equipment then use some dlinks or linksys units for the WLAN .. use external antennas on the AP's not the duckies that are standard.. oh and you would be suprised at the distance the signal will travel in an open area with no interferance from other singles.

Make sure AP's and backhaul are on seperate channels too..seen some people doing backhaul with 802.11a equipment (modifed) which is sometimes cheap to buy, and less bleedover signal in the spectrum. Oh.. lastly.. Trees are not your friend! they will kill your signal, don't bother trying to do this in a forest.

-b

Coverage (4, Informative)

duffer_01 (184844) | more than 10 years ago | (#9203038)

Our company did this for some golf tournaments we were running. We found that we definitely needed some access points that could hop from access point to another so that we could really extend the range.

One problem with "hopping" is that occasionally if one of the access points in the middle of the link goes down, you may need to reset each of the other AP's down the line to get them back up and running.

We also ran into some interesting problems such as the time that around 8am in the morning our coverage started dropping when all the houses around the course started turning on their microwaves. You can never guarantee that the coverage you have at one time will be consistent throughout the day.

Along with a power supply and an access point, we also bought these special antennas that could be attached to camera tripods to give us a mini cell tower like setup. Oh yeah, and lesson learned, don't take those down during a thunderstorm.
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