WiMax mesh networks ..on Churches.

Oct 09, 2009, 07:52 AM
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cyberdoyle - almost 8 years ago

It isn't easy to do. But its possible. As more people in rural areas start to clamour for access it becomes more viable. We have people driving to our village with their laptops to do their schoolwork, emails, Egov and photo uploads. They are desperate to do the things that dial up won't let them do. Their friends send them emails with photos on and they can't download them at home. The websites for online banking and defra time out and lock them out. If there was a method of joining them up we would do it, but we have no line of sight to them. That is why we are now running fibre. But we can't help them all. They are coming out of the woodwork too fast. Digitalbritain where are you? Step out of the copper cabal and help your rurals! It would be easy enough to do in towns and cities with fibre, the real challenge is to get it to the people growing the food. Protecting the environment, and by doing so eliminate the carbon footprint by enabling them to live, shop and work from home instead of commuting.


__thomas - almost 8 years ago

Awesome idea, played around with this on a smaller scale (and with WiFi) ages ago, but it does sound like a sensible idea. I'll have to see if I can get hold a database of church locations...

As I see it, however, surely the limiting factor is in uptake as a rural location won't have the sheer number of paying subscribers necessary to justify the investment in WiMax / WiFi kit and infrastructure you'd need to install.

On the other hand, that may only be the reason why traditional network operators don't get involved. But they spend far too much on kit anyway. I'd love to play around with something like this.... hint hint....

There are also a number of PoPs offering IP Transit in milton keynes, so you wouldn't have to go too far.


hughw - almost 8 years ago

Good Boo.
I remember doing a digital terrestrial TV project in Malta (a VERY church orientated place!) a few years ago and if recall correctly the clergy were pretty cooperative about letting the company site repeater antennae on nice high line of site churches, especially for the hop across from Malta to Gozo. I guess it worked because the person doing the negotiations had life-long connections with the community, rather than being some suit with a slick haircut wading in waving money without sensitivity to the religious aspect.

WiMax is good too. We use it in our little holiday house in Spain for telephony & internet (forget Telefonica). It's symmetrical & pretty fast at 1Mb (we don't pay for the highest speeds: we're on hols after all!)


cyberdoyle - almost 8 years ago

hi siwhithouse,The network in the village has been so successful it is now in the process of being upgraded, with a new backbone on higher frequency supplying nodes at street level on lower freq... Our biggest problem remains the backhaul. Getting access to fat pipes running right past us continues to be the stumbling block. Like your 21st Century beacon idea, we are thinking of doing it via farm barns! 21Cn Farms, supplying the villages and SMEs. Of course if access to a dumb pipe was available it would make the job so much easier. We are also in the process of laying fibre, three houses now laid and lit. Just need that pipe, but in the interim we feed them with wireless. Fibre works great. no latency, no problems.


siwhitehouse - almost 8 years ago

Community wireless could well be a stop gap and has long been thought of as a provider of the last mile of connectivity. However, the only examples I know of tend to be in urban areas. I'd be really interested to hear more about Cyberdoyle's project.

With wireless you need to be clear about when you are using radio to distribute and when you are using a highly directional signal in a point-to-point or multi point link. The former gives you less range, but you need it to give people coverage and the latter will give you the backhaul you need to an internet node, but won't necessarily have anybody attached to it.

In Birmingham we have (at the moment) a smallish wifi cloud over a section of Aston which is about a square mile across. It uses 10-12 distribution antennae to achieve this. Note that most laptops, notebooks etc. are equipped with a 2.4GHz wifi chip, *but* and its a big but, anybody can distribute radio on that wavelength. The implication of this is that you need to distribute on a licensed wavelength to prevent interference now or in the future and that means additional Customer Premises Equipment (an aerial on the roof or an internal gubbins if you are lucky). This adds to the cost. I'd be very interested to hear what other solutions people have, especially if they managed to overcome this.

Another alternative to using churches on the backhaul is to use the National Grid. A friend has got a chain of repeaters which link up remote locations by this method. You take a pylon on top of a hill and link it to a pylon on top of the next hill. etc. etc. 21st Century beacons!!

Hope this jelps and if you want to talk in anymore detail/come and see our set up etc etc you know where I am @siwhitehouse


maggiephilbin - almost 8 years ago

Thought provoking boo. Wonder if you could get a few churches onboard to trial?