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Starting to wind things up here - MtnVwPilot

Oct. 7th, 2005 12:31 pm Starting to wind things up here

Well, I'm leaving Mississippi tomorrow afternoon, staying overnight in Pensacola FL tomorrow night, and heading home on Sunday morning, so I'm starting to wind things up here... Mostly, that means writing documentation; getting various network design details and thoughts and to-do items out of my head and onto (virtual) paper, so that somebody else can pick up the ball and run with it.

We've finally had a stable, working network for most of the last couple of days. Jeff and Don are out today, adding a couple of more sites. At the moment, we've got 7 sites online, and should get at least 2-3 more online today. Each site serves anywhere from dozens to thousands of people, so I feel pretty good about what we're accomplishing.

The biggest challenge is maintaining Internet connectivity for the network. Our primary link (terrestrial microwave to an MCI-donated 45 Mb/s DS-3 in Gulfport) has been down for days because of radio interference problems, and we've been using the Hancock County EOC's backup satellite link; if they lose one of their primary satellite links, though, we'll get bumped off and be scrambling for Internnet connectivity again.

The network is an amazing amalgam of donated hardware; mostly Trango 900MHz radios (sorta like WiFi, but on different frequencies and working over several miles rather than just several hundred feet) and Linksys routers (the ubiquitous little black-and-blue boxes), plus a couple of Linux boxes and a few other things thrown in for good measure. I've greatly enjoyed figuring out how to take the boxes of hardware we had on hand, and make a functioning network out of it; it's sorta like Junkyard Wars for IT geeks, though with a much more serious purpose in mind. The network we've built isn't pretty, but it's functional, and that's saying a lot given the conditions. Those of you who've worked with me, know that that's exactly the kind of challenge I enjoy.

Well, more volunteers are coming in soon; the number ebbs and flows. Hopefully they'll take the time to understand what we did, and why, and build upon it.

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Date:October 8th, 2005 02:59 pm (UTC)
Good work man. Its been a pleasure reading your reports!