bkehoe Registered User

I've been thinking a good bit about setting up a WAN in the Wexford area recently, and have come up with a few ideas, some of which may seem far fetched.

Does anyone know if any permission is needed to put a very small wireless base station on a hill or mountain? I've made a few plans in my head (nothing on paper) for a totally unattended base station. Basically it would consist of a normal base station (they sell for around £200 - 300), a car battery, and solar panel. The battery alone could keep it running for over 2 weeks I beleive without charging, and when there's sun, the solar panels would charge the battery and power the station. It would have a fairly small omnidirectional antenna, and if necessary, a directional antenna to link it to another base station, which would probably work for around 20miles. I'd expect reliable connections at 11mbit to work for approx 10 miles assuming the normal user has a directional antenna.

Assuming a basic backbone was established, and a few members came onto the network, the next task would be getting a connection to the net. In this area, Chorus won't have powernet till next year, and probably no adsl for a century, so the only decent net access it could have it through Beam, which at the moment is better value than €ircon's adsl (400k down, 128k up, no transfer limits, for £125/month and no phone needed). If friaco came out, one way satellite i.e. Satnode (300k approx) could be used to provide a connection (satnode is €40/month plus phone costs). If friaco does come out, then some kind of isdn setup could be used as a gateway for people wanting to play multiplayer games on the net. Of course if some ISP would sponsor it, and say give a leased line for free, then that would be a reliable and low ping solution.

For network services, I'd devote a server to it, probably running game servers for UT, Q3A, e.t.c. so that members could join it at any time, and also a local messaging service (can't remember the name but it's like icq, but for a 'private' network).

Speeds; currently 11MBit is the max speed of wireless networks, but there is a new standard being made, which will allow speeds above 50MBit.

If there was good interest, then numerous unattended base stations could be set up, and users on different stations would be able to communicate with each other via a dedicated 11MBit link, but would probably have little load, as I'd hope that each base station would have its own net connection somewhere.

I know none of this will happen unless there is sufficient interest; probably need 10 people interested, and within range of the first base station to make it worth while, and to make it affordable (each home setup would probably cost around £200 at a guess (sterling) ).


yellum Banned

Good idea. Was thinking of doing something like that in Cork, but use the schools as stations. Give them the use of it during the day. Schools would be a handy way of linking up large areas.

A license would not be needed if its non-commerical.

bkehoe Registered User

I know that no license is needed, but was more concerned about the legality of just putting a small box, and antenna on top of a hill or mountain. The Blackstairs come to mind as a suitable site that'd cover some of wexford, kilkenny, and carlow.

I've had a WLAN going before with a friend using directional only antennas, and had no problems (around 13KM).

rymus Registered User

Originally posted by yellum
Good idea. Was thinking of doing something like that in Cork, but use the schools as stations. Give them the use of it during the day. Schools would be a handy way of linking up large areas.

A license would not be needed if its non-commerical.

Id be quite interested in getting in on that plan too. I'm south of Cork city (bout 10 mins) but unfortunately the terrain is very hilly. Great of course if u wanted to setup some base stations. Schools is a good plan also, I'm sure most schools would be happy with a permenant connection for less than average per month. Im fairly certain my old secondary school would go for it anyway.

If you can get a rough price for equipment let me know. If above doesnt work out, maybe we could get involved/suggest some methods for the SCTV wireless rollout thats supposed to happen some time toward the end of this year.

Matfinn Registered User

Lo all,

Brendan in rleation to your plan for setting up a WAN in Wexford maybe i can make some suggestions. Regarding you placing a WAN router on a hill in Wexford, you would first want to ascertain who the land belongs to. If it is privately owned then you can ask the permission of the owner if you want to place a router there. If it belongs to the Irish government then you can seek the permission of the local county council and Im pretty sure that there would be no objections. Just be careful that you put it somewhere where no lads can damage it coming home from the pub, or no animals will start to nest in it .

I think another great idea for setting up a WAN is if we setup routers on the roofs of schools, police stations, hospitals and other government and public buildings. In return we can give them free unmetered internet access. Our current and only internet infrastructure is under the control of a tyrannical company, so it makes sense to start up our own. Think about it people. Which would you rather have????

1: To pay Ericom for DSL, £90 a month ( remember a minimum 12 month contract!! thats at least £1080 ), and to pay them £150 or thereabouts for equipment fees, and then a further £99 for installation!, not to mention having to pay also for the regular phoneline rental. That adds up to IR1329 incl Vat, for a crippled internet service for one year!!!!

2: To pay around £300 or less for an 802.11b compliant wireless network card and a long distance antenna. You would also have to pay for a router ( you pay your share for this with other users ), and you would also have to pay for the intenret connection ( also you share this cost with other users ). The price for the two afformentioned items would vary according to the number of users on the WAN. Paying this cost would result in unmetered, high speed, always on internet access, for life!!

3: To continue to pay the average £100 internet phone bill that turns up on our doorstep monthly or bi-monthly to haunt us, dusgruntled that you will never get a good deal on internet access.

I know this has been talked about before, but if we play our cards right we can achieve this. I know esat have their mobile phone masts on police stations all over the country. In exchange for this, esat gave the Gardaí some communications equipment. If we could mount our routers on the national radio transmission poles, on 3 rock mountain in Dublin, on the Silvermines in Tipperary, on the McGillycuddy Reeks in co Kerry, on the Sperrin mountains in Co Tyrone, or even on the ESB power masts.

Think about how far we have come in our campaign. Are you willing to go a little further and surpirse everyone. As far as I know this will be the first ever undertaking of building a new infrastructure of this kind that the world has ever known.

Think about it. Seriously.

Thanks for reading if you got this far


pertinax Registered User

Yes i'm interested in this shtuff
But how is it this base station really connects to the internet.
I yet again show up my intelligence

bkehoe Registered User

There can be problems regarding the positioning of routers. If they're mounted on the same mast as a high power mobile phone transmitter, or near it, they won't work (I'm sure we all know what happens when a low powered mobile phone is put near a badly shielded speaker; imagine the power from a mast). Also, the ESB high voltage lines can disrupt the signal, if it has to sortof pass through a few wires.

I have no idea who owns land on the Blackstairs...I guess it would be the government, but only guessing.

Putting base stations on schools could be a good idea, but remember wireless requires LOS, so putting a base station on a school in a hole won't be much good.

I estimate, provided the stations were in a direct line, and almost even distances from each other, that around UK£5000 once off would allow someone at Malin Head to send files at approx 11mbit to someone in the South. As an estimate, I'd say that maybe £100,000 would give countrywide coverage. Obviously we wouldn't be spending this kind of money though, but if every NoLimits customer who got kicked for 'overuse' invested their usual monthly fee into a WAN, we could probably get coverage in their area for a wan and have money left over for net access. Just an idea, but with some support, it could become reality.


cmkrnl Registered User

You'd want to be careful & keep it quiet, otherwise you will have the local wingnut greenies out protesting that your microwave transmissions are giving their poor babies cancer.


bkehoe Registered User

hehe. 100mw (max legal output; from Compaq cards) is hardly a few hundred watts that come from a mobile phone mast

Dr_Teeth Registered User

There's mailing list that's been in existence for some months now for discussion of this very topic!

Click here: http://lists.boxhost.net/mailman/listinfo/wan-dublin

For subscription info or to look through the archives.


yellum Banned

I was thinking of using schools as it would be an ideal test bed for a future metronet and also they might be allowed to use the heanet for internet access since its for academic and research use. Librarys could also join on to this. I would document everything that was done and any bugs encountered and ironed out.

Once a schools wan is up and running, additional equipment can be then set up to power a seperate community network where bandwidth comes from another source such as leased lines from generous people. Corporation and county council buildings would be good places to have linking stations too.

I know if I got adsl or a good sat link I would readily share it with the community around me, hopefully there would be others with the same attitude and so small nodes of the community net would have their own line to the net.

Large caches can then be stored on the network to prevent duplicates being downloaded from the Internet. Proxy servers and the like can be set up too. An internal messaging system can also be built as well as a community intranet with noticeboards etc.

Chaos-Engine Registered User

This topic is of great interest to me
I would love to start work on a Wireless WAN in my community...

I live in Goatstown, Dublin 14...
If there is anyone else near by please contact me

We could link the WANs together sooo easily in the cities then get a access to dedicated lines and link the cities... Costs could be covered by the shear numbers ))

cmkrnl Registered User

Originally posted by bkehoe
hehe. 100mw (max legal output; from Compaq cards) is hardly a few hundred watts that come from a mobile phone mast

Not forgetting the square law w.r.t power & distance from the transmitter :-). Jaysus, brings me back to the good old days of CB radio.

Breaker 1 - 1 for a copy come on back.


yellum Banned

Looks like we've got ourselves a convoy. Sorry....

jaarius Registered User


i think the folowing would be good places in cork

bruce... would cover the city almost and north cork
Colaiste spiorad naoimh... would cover bishopstown
the central statistics office would cover mahon and douglas

would you agree?


Want to share your thoughts?

Login here to discuss!