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Wireless Networking Hardware

Lanlink Linking The Coasts 340

Posted by timothy
from the wlans-across-america dept.
Dan Bricker writes "A guy in Parma Heights, Ohio has a website to promote an idea of linking the east coast to the west coast using standard off-the-shelf 802.11 equipment. He is aiming for a July 4th, 2006 first coast-to-coast ping. This project appears to be totally volunteer based, With no other stated reason than fun with pringle cans and bad weather, and do it just to do it. Can this be done? What real world applications does this have?"
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Lanlink Linking The Coasts

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  • How about, for starters, the number of open hotspots this could generate?

    • by Soko (17987) on Wednesday May 14, 2003 @12:05AM (#5951854) Homepage
      Read the last paragraph.

      Requirements - May not at any point attach to the real Internet. To be part of LL, a member must abide by any rules or guidelines laid out. In order for a project of this magnatude to work, there must be standards and rules followed.

      He's trying to set up a network, not an ISP. There are myriad reasons not to connect this project to "The Real Internet", both legal and technical.

      Your hope of open hotspots for WWW surfing and hacking etc. will likely go un-apeased by jumping on this network, unless of course it proves so popular that it becomes a "Second Internet".

      Soko
      • by spoco2 (322835) on Wednesday May 14, 2003 @12:18AM (#5951927)
        "Second Internet" - Man, how cool would that be... a completely underground (reverse pun intended... gettit... it's overgrou... oh never mind) Internet, detatched from the 'real' one...

        In case of an all out war, the 'real' internet may be shut down, but this air based one could keep on keeping on... although without electricity after the war, only as long as all the laptop batteries lasted... so really only about 1 hour after the strike... just long enough for the users to start a thread:
        "Woh! What was that?"
        "Dunno... kinda bright though"
        "Dude... I think this is bad"
        "Yup"
        "BBFN"
      • Reality: Assume the project works. They get it done, have a party, and so on. Then what? It's either put to use, or mothballed. And all those people with all that equipment will want to do something with it. Making a hotspot is a natural move.

        And even if it is put to use, for what? A private community? People will be all over this network like white on rice, rules or no. It may not be connected to the internet by a member, but someone will hook it all together.

        Or, say the project fails. You've still got the same situation, but if anything, with more drive. You've got lots of people, with lots of equipment, who are stinging from failure. Setting up a hotspot would be a natural move toward some sense of "Well, at least I accomplished something.

      • by evilviper (135110) on Wednesday May 14, 2003 @12:41AM (#5952043) Journal
        There are myriad reasons not to connect this project to "The Real Internet", both legal and technical.

        Indeed... However, all it takes is one internet uplink and the packets will get through. It doesn't take much, just one computer with a wireless card, that also happens to be connected to the internet. Perhaps this will happen enough that there will be constant connectivity.

        unless of course it proves so popular that it becomes a "Second Internet".

        It might gain popularity, but it's fundamental design prohibits anything resembling the current internet. It is imposible to get a world-wide network without commercial backing, and the free-ness of this would eliminate much profit. Also, rural areas would be completely cut off.

        Perhaps more importantly, this network would be verymuch unreliable... $20 in equipment to make a device that interrupts all 802.11b/g signals in the area. That's not going to be a good thing if EBAY wants to put a site up...

        About the only thing this network would be good for is P2P applications... Gnutella would do just fine, since it can handle hosts disconnecting, can download from multiple sources, and most importantly, people don't demand real-time connectivity, so being off-line for a short time wouldn't be much of a problem.

        Add to that the fact that your connection is free, faster than 99% of internet connections, and doesn't really need to be used for anything else at the same time, and it all indicates Gnutella would do very very well.
        • by adamruck (638131) on Wednesday May 14, 2003 @01:52AM (#5952300)
          Perhaps more importantly, this network would be verymuch unreliable... $20 in equipment to make a device that interrupts all 802.11b/g signals in the area. That's not going to be a good thing if EBAY wants to put a site up...

          I agree.. how could a network with no actual backbone last any sort of time, especially when its first starting off when fewer people have the equipment. A network purely based on 802.11 would need an incredable amount of redudancy.

          Also while this plan might sound good going from city to close city (10-20 miles away), what happens when you run into a dessert or a mountain? There are physical problems with a network like that.

          With current technology and current level of technology craze, I would say this project would be impossible.
        • by plagiarist (87743) on Wednesday May 14, 2003 @02:32AM (#5952419)
          remember fidonet? [wps.com]

          that was one example of a network whose structure could handle host disconnects. also freenet, which has redundancy built into its design. and gnutella, as you point out.

          all of these essentially use P2P as their structure, but fidonet and freenet remind us that P2P-the-structure has a far wider range of uses than just downloading mp3's. right now the internet dominates "cause it's there" but even its structure was historically envisioned (by some, anyway) as much more decentralized than it is now. as it moves toward centralization it becomes increasingly unsatisfactory for many purposes, and momentum grows to build and use alternative, decentralized structures.

      • I think before I spent a significant amount of cash on a project like this I would like to be assured that the government wouldn't shut it down for some reason. Cool things often are, it seems. And if not the government, then hopefully not a stupid company and its lawyers who would come running and say (short of breath) "hey! that's miiine! I THOUGHT OF IT FIRST GODDAMM *cough cough* IIITTT!"
  • by dorzak (142233) <`moc.liamg' `ta' `kazrod'> on Tuesday May 13, 2003 @11:43PM (#5951711) Journal
    I was a Junior High student when they proposed hands across America, and it was stated it was impossible. As I recall it came off mostly intact. I seem to recall some guffaw about a gap or two, but in general it happened.

    Question: Can we, the geeks, mobilize as well as that? My own sedentary nature tends to lead me to be pessimistic.
  • by BrianRaker (633638) on Tuesday May 13, 2003 @11:43PM (#5951717) Homepage Journal
    The problem with the pringle cans is that you get too much power out of the can, over the FCC maximum for unlicensed users on the band (ISM 2.4GHz). If you were to get a bunch of Ham radio operators, it might be more feasable.
    • For point to point on 802.11b you are allowed 8 watts of EIRP. Since the strongest radio you can buy is 200 milliwatts. Unless you are using an amplifier that means you would have to be getting over 16dbi gain on a pringles can.

      What is the dbi gain on the pringles can? Even if it was over 16 dbi you could always use a 30 milliwatt card. Then you could have up to a 24 dbi gain on your antenna. I seriously doubt a pringles can offers more than 24 dbi gain.
      • What is the dbi gain on the pringles can?

        IIRC, the pringles can antenna was about 1 wavelength long (basically a disk Yagi). Figure 11 to 12 dBi.

        A 2 foot diameter dish antenna will give you about 24 dBi of gain - enough to require scaling back on the power. There was a story on /. a while back about a link from San Diego to San Clemente Island that had to have the power throttled back.

    • not necessarily true (Score:5, Informative)

      by _avs_007 (459738) on Wednesday May 14, 2003 @12:05AM (#5951860)
      It depends on what the gain and such is of the antenna. With an omni, maybe, but with a wave-guide cantenna you are probably safe.

      See here for details [80211-planet.com]

      Besides, I think this is definately more doable that hands across america. With the possible exception of the rockies/cascades etc, just set up some cantenna's, and aim it off into the horizon. With GPS and such, it should be easy to coordinate. A handful of people at each horizon, should do it... How far away is the horizon anyways? I know I can see the buildings in downtown from here, and its like 20 miles from here.
  • by Hollinger (16202) <michael&hollinger,net> on Tuesday May 13, 2003 @11:44PM (#5951719) Homepage Journal
    Yes. No. I would think the time and effort could be better spent trying specifically to get broadband (or at least WiFi) net access to rural areas.
    • There's 3,000 miles between coasts. Lets assume that somebody jumps on board for every 1 mile stretch. How far would 3,000 people scattered across different service areas for cable and phone service get in petitioning for broadband?
    • by Anonymous Coward
      I would think the time and effort could be better spent trying specifically to get broadband (or at least WiFi) net access to rural areas.

      ... Which is controlled by mega-corporations like AOL-TimeWarner, SBC, Verizon, etc. If we are content to let them lead they're going to lead us back into passive activities like television. The Internet is already moving in that direction. Servers are prohibited on the vast majority of broadband providers' networks meaning that you go back to being a consumer relyin

  • Warchalking (Score:4, Funny)

    by Entropy248 (588290) on Tuesday May 13, 2003 @11:44PM (#5951723) Journal
    is now obsolete... And I just spent the past 15 minutes learning all the stupid glyphs!
  • by peculiarmethod (301094) on Tuesday May 13, 2003 @11:47PM (#5951737) Journal
    but this absolutely would be percieved as the first step towards a public controlled public broadcast venue for news.. and seeing as how the beiggest complaint in politics amongst the general public is the lack of interconnectedness between the east political environment and the west coast equivalent, I would see this as a milestone towards an ultimate goal of broadcasting bills, propositions, votes, general news, as well as the future forms of blogs.. i see this as not friv, but profoundly progressive and long due.

    pm
  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday May 13, 2003 @11:48PM (#5951746)
    A group of amatures has decided to prevent future energy problems in California. The plan is to route extension cords, connected serially, to California from a power plant on the east coast. When asked if the extension cords could handle the force, they said that it wasn't for everyone, mainly a proof of concept. They made no comment to the argument that there wouldn't be hardly any current left in California. They are taking donations of extension cords of all kinds. "Just as long as it has a ground pluggy thing"
  • very difficult... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday May 13, 2003 @11:49PM (#5951750)
    Ok, as we all know there are some pretty desolate regions of the US. Now it would be possible to throw a bunch of routers in the middle of the desert, but they would have to be battery powered or something. The most significant problem would be getting everything to work correctly without even a single down router. Assuming each router covers a tenth of a mile, you'd need about 30,000 routers to make it across the US. Dozens will break or have problems every day, so you'll need at least two per site. That means a total of 60,000 roters. At $100 each that brings the total to $6 million. The battery powered routers for the desert will obviously be more expensive though. Also you'd have to stop people from stealing these somehow, which would be a serious problem.

    In conclusion, it would be really hard and really expensive to do this, but it is possible.
    • Re:very difficult... (Score:2, Interesting)

      by niko9 (315647)
      This sort of coast to coast communication is done everyday with ham radio. It's called packet radio. Hell, it's even done with voice repeaters. I usually chat with the fols in Florida using nothing but my 600mw Radio Shack Dual Band HT. Yup, thats right, 600mw radio and three double AA batteries.

      www.arrl.org

      • Hell, it's even done with voice repeaters

        Somehow I think repeaters on towers contribute to the sucess of the feat. Now try it with 50 mW repeaters, none of which are on a tower. Oh, all antennas have to be hand made. Add to the mix, this is all done by unlisenced techs and have a short timeline to make it all happen. Hams with 100 watt repeaters on towers took years before the first coast to coast link. Now you expect a bunch of non technical (RF tech) to pull it off? I don't see it happening soon.
    • Since you can easily go 50 miles with an 8 watt configuration I think your numbers are quite off. You can do a 30 mile point to point link for easily $900 (probably less). $90,000 would get you a nice 3,000 miles.
    • I think the hardest part is social, not technical. What happens when some 19 year old with black leather and piercings knocks on the door of some Iowa corn farmer and tries to explain all this?

      First thing they need is people who are... wait for it... people oriented, sales types. There. I said it.

      Next, they will probably encounter broad swaths of land that are under the control of the Federal government or large corporations. Remember Roger and Me? Lotsa luck even getting an answer from these guys,

    • by evilviper (135110)

      Assuming each router covers a tenth of a mile

      Am I the only one that thinks that is an INCREDIBLY pessimistic estimation? There are plenty of wireless links that go several miles at a time. Let's assume we have a router every 5 miles, then we'd have better speed than if we'd gone to their limits, and if one failed, there would still be a link, albeit quite a bit slower...

      you'd need about 30,000 routers to make it across the US.

      So, instead of 30,000 routers, let's try 600 routers... And more than that,

    • Railroad Sponsorship.

      Railroads are one of the few types of entities that aren't telcos that are likely to have continuous strips of land between metro/suburban areas.

      Sell it to them as a cutting edge experiment: publicity, and maybe even a fledgling version of being able to offer passengers internet access, or internet-tracked cargo shipping, or something else.

      In fact, I'm starting to wonder why I'm shooting my mouth off here on slashdot about it...

      • Re:Two Words: (Score:3, Interesting)

        Railroads are one of the few types of entities that aren't telcos that are likely to have continuous strips of land between metro/suburban areas.

        Sell it to them as a cutting edge experiment: publicity, and maybe even a fledgling version of being able to offer passengers internet access, or internet-tracked cargo shipping, or something else.

        Many railroads have been there, done that, and gotten many t-shirts in this area. Railroads (along with other ciritical infrastructure companies like utilities and

  • Emergency access (Score:5, Insightful)

    by bigattichouse (527527) on Tuesday May 13, 2003 @11:50PM (#5951757) Homepage
    Creating ex-temp webs like this might assist insurance adjusters and other computer-needing personnel to work better in emergency hot zones... it would be nice if a company out there started manufacturing the "cans" for emergency use and the FCC made some modifications to the rules for emergency usage ... so every little town could have a few "wi-fi" kits in storage to chain up when a hurricane has leveled everything.. you could also throw some authentication mechanisms on the idea and build a quick "emergency VoIP network" the same way. Just a thought from the thoughtbrew: www.bigattichouse.com [bigattichouse.com]
    • That's a good idea, but what about the power requirements? Maybe it would work with battery-powered Wi-Fi phone ala those Cisco phones that were mentioned here recently?
  • by vkg (158234) on Tuesday May 13, 2003 @11:52PM (#5951763) Homepage
    Something like 70% of internet backbone is owned by half a dozen companies. The RIAA & co are putting increasing pressure on businesses and universities, and backbone providers may be next.

    The Government is, frankly, outright hostile to many forms of free expression, and some basic civil rights we've come to take for granted (abortion rights, for starters, never mind the Bill of Rights).

    This project may teach valuable lessons about using open standards to form a non-owned, alternative internet backbone.
    • The freedom aspect of a project like this was the first thing that came to my mind. While people may argue about whether they're choosing the right transmission methods or whether it will work well or not, I think the fact that someone is willing try it is a good thing.

      I'm not much on conspiracy theories and doomsaying, but if the US government continues to grant itself increasing power to invade our privacy, I would expect to see projects like this proliferate. You're going to force my ISP to spy on me?

    • So what your saying is, you want this network to gain popularity so the RIAA and the government can more easilly track you to your home by driving around with a laptop...
  • "Hands across America" in the mid eighties [tripod.com]. But that was for a good reason (if you think those things are good). I recall in my county there were not enough people to go from one side of the county to the other. (Aside: My little brother had to sit through a teacher lecturing at school about how this failing signalled the downfall of society.)

    The "Let's do it for-the-hell-of-it" mentality is not going to get a lan across from coast to coast. Now if Each person were asked to share one folder on a hard dri
  • by niko9 (315647) on Tuesday May 13, 2003 @11:56PM (#5951789)
    invest in some blue chip stock, but I think I'll ivest in some obscure potato chip company instead. :p
  • Yes, YES, YES!!! (Score:3, Interesting)

    by istartedi (132515) on Tuesday May 13, 2003 @11:57PM (#5951796) Journal

    As long as he's not obsessed with 802.11x, this is great! For the longer stretches, he should use IR lasers or something that can really throw the bits around.

    If he can succeed, the long-term implications are fantastic. Internet will become too cheap to meter. Inexpensive laser and other types of LOS relays will join windmills and silos as familiar rural landmarks. AOL and Time-Warner can eat all of America's shorts. There is nothing to say the same economic forces that may eventually make proprietary software obsolete can't make proprietary networks obsolete too.

    The hard part about free wireless has always been the "upstream". If this guy can get a viable continent spanning link, it may go down in history just like the link between... what was it... Duke and UNC? You know, the one that started the internet in the first place. Let's see... we have internet, internet 2, and now internet 3. I can't wait. I think Internet 3 could eventually replace internet 1 and make internet 2 jelous.

    Give it the same amount of time we gave that first uucp link.

    p.s., I'm surprised my subject line makes it through the filters.

    • No, NO, NO!!! (Score:3, Insightful)

      As long as he's not obsessed with 802.11x, this is great! For the longer stretches, he should use IR lasers or something that can really throw the bits around.

      Fair enough. Although fiber throws the bits around better.

      If he can succeed, the long-term implications are fantastic. Internet will become too cheap to meter. Inexpensive laser and other types of LOS relays will join windmills and silos as familiar rural landmarks. AOL and Time-Warner can eat all of America's shorts. There is nothing to say
    • If he can succeed, the long-term implications are fantastic. Internet will become too cheap to meter. Inexpensive laser and other types of LOS relays will join windmills and silos as familiar rural landmarks.

      If he can succeed, the long-term implications are fantastic. Electricity will become too cheap to meter. Inexpensive home nuclear reactors will join windmills and silos as familiar rural landmarks.

      Too cheap to meter, indeed.

  • by mindstrm (20013) on Wednesday May 14, 2003 @12:01AM (#5951822)
    The real world application is, perhaps, psychological: getting people to realize that with a bit of effort each, we can all be networked to each other at high speed WITHOUT paying some company OR government for the privelege of just moving data around using equipment we own and airwaves that belong to everyone.

  • There is one hell of a lot of absolutely nothing between the Sierra Nevada and the Great Plains, including long stretches with dozens of miles between buildings. Even if this effort could get access points set up at every building with a power outlet, it'd still be difficult.

    I wish this project well, and I think an open network of access points routing packets to one another is a far better vision of what the Internet could be than the backbone-oriented system we have today... but I am not at all hopeful t
  • Tried before (Score:3, Interesting)

    by pongo000 (97357) on Wednesday May 14, 2003 @12:12AM (#5951893)
    One of the guys with l0pht set up this site [guerilla.net] in an attempt to accomplish something similar: A LAN-based backbone independent of government and corporate oversight. I waited two years for someone in my area to indicate some sort of interest, but nobody seemed interested. The last time this site was updated was in 2002, so I guess the original author's interest has waned as well.

    The point of this post, though, is to provide a link that does a good job of answering why such an independent backbone would be A Good Thing.
  • Ping time? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by GGardner (97375) on Wednesday May 14, 2003 @12:20AM (#5951937)
    So, does anyone want to make a prediction for ping time across 3,000 miles, and grid only knows how many hops? Does anyone know the record for most routers from one end of an IP network to the other today?
  • by pongo000 (97357) on Wednesday May 14, 2003 @12:25AM (#5951970)
    ...than if everyone involved with this project tested for their Amateur Radio Tech license, and simply used existing off-the-shelf components with power output several magnitudes greater than consumer-grade 802.11 equipment to do the same thing?

    Hams have been communicating digitally in the GHz spectrum for a long time now. Why use inferior consumer-grade equipment to get the job done? Plus, as a licensed ham, you have the permission of the government to modify your equipment as necessary (as long as it falls within the power/interference limits set by the FCC).

    Of course, transmitting porn and music would be against the regs, but if it's principle you're after, using amateur radio is just the ticket.
    • Of course, transmitting porn and music would be against the regs

      On top of that, any type of encryption would be against FCC regulations as well. Ham radio and SSH don't mix.

  • Coast2Coast LAN Party!!!!! East vs. West for TITLE OF THE BEST!!!
    • It's been done...sort of. The Million Man Lan [millionmanlan.com] that happened a couple of years ago had a gathering in Louisville, KY for the easterners and a gathering somewhere in California for the Westerners. The two gatherings were supposed to be connected by a T-3 connection. But the West coast contingent failed due to not enough registrations. Too Bad. We had a blast for 4 days with out them.
  • Isn't such a network going to have rather large latency problems?

    And a few megabits may sound like a lot, but wait until you have a few thousand users even.

  • by Mannerism (188292) <(moc.erawtfostops) (ta) (todhsals-htiek)> on Wednesday May 14, 2003 @12:42AM (#5952045)
    He is aiming for a July 4th, 2006 first coast-to-coast ping.

    Considering the latency, I'd aim for July 4th, 5th, and 6th.
  • by michaelggreer (612022) on Wednesday May 14, 2003 @12:44AM (#5952064)
    No more pringles cans. [nwsource.com]
  • This would be so much easier in Panama...
  • by cjsnell (5825) on Wednesday May 14, 2003 @12:48AM (#5952075) Journal
    Last year, there was an article [slashdot.org] here about some old AT&T bunkers and towers for sale [americantower.com]. While it would be impracticle (if not impossible) to use all of these towers for 802.11 sites, their routes across the country [addr.com] would come in very handy. These maps would give you a good idea of what kind of line-of-sight you could get in various regions.

    While I'm at it, here is an excellent site with more AT&T long-line info links:

    Towers in Utah [drgibson.com] w/ good links

  • It is a noble goal. (Score:3, Informative)

    by OwnerOfWhinyCat (654476) * on Wednesday May 14, 2003 @12:49AM (#5952078)
    The last time this was tried it was a complete success. The American Radio Relay League was delivering messages (about the length of a ping) coast to coast to places the wires didn't run, and they changed communications as we understand it.

    The hitches are considerable this time. WiFi range and the line of site behavior of microwaves will be a significant impediment. Hands across America and the ARRL had methods of crossing large uninhabited distances.

    I think if they are going to have any chance for bridging this, they'll have to bridge the tough spots with AX.25 using frequencies that carry. I would still consider it a success if 60% of the distance were to be covered with WiFi, and the rest more serious microwave hops, and even some longer waves (the 23cm band has space and decent speed). I can see the ocean from my porch and have a 30 foot high roof If they end up taking a NorthWestern route to the left pond, I'll certainly volunteer.

    Best of luck to them.
  • Because a couple of hundred years ago, before explorers discovered the Great Plains, the settlers used to believe that North America was completely blanketed by thick forests and they had a saying that a squirrel could travel from the East coast to the West coast without ever touching the ground.

    I don't know how LanLinkup plans to cross the mostly uninhabited areas with wifi. Are there any cheap consumer devices available that use low power lasers or microwave dishes to make long distance line-of-sight hop
  • Its called packet radio.

    Ok, its not out of the box 802.11 but so what. Anyone that wants to can get the equipment for about the same price as an access point. And better yet, you will have many more useless (well some think they are useless, but interesting still) uses for your packet radio, including tracking and connecting to open sattelites flying over your house. I know HAM radio has been pegged as old fashioned, but you have to admit, connecting to a sattelite with your computer is not something
  • by KrispyKringle (672903) on Wednesday May 14, 2003 @12:54AM (#5952096)
    I think the real world applications of this sort of technology are pretty extensive. Off-the-shelf long-range WiFi (with the addition of a Pringles can or whatever) is applicable for solving the so-called "Last Mile Problem" as well as for cheaply extending the infrastructure in third world countries.

    I was recently involved in a fairly casual discussion of how to create a WAN link between computer labs at two different campuses of a university in Ghana. The main campus, in the capital city of Akra (sp?) has a limited satellite connection to the Internet costing something around a few thousand a month, supposedly. None of the other three campuses have or can afford a similar connection. This isn't a big enough gateway to share WWW access, but a WAN could allow Intranet and Internet-based email, as well as Intranet sites, file sharing, and perhaps even VoIP to augment the poor phone systems.

    So the big problem was how to set up this connection. The telco system apparently isn't too good; only around 400 new lines are added per year, so getting ahold of a large number of leased lines would be virtual impossible. Obviously, setting up an independent wired backbone is financially out of the question. So we started toying with the idea of a WiFi link, which seemed like the only possibility.

    The only problem is that if we are trying to set up a 200km link (between the main campus and one in the north; I don't recall the name of the city) we would need repeaters in some remote areas without consistent power, not to mention having to plot good line-of-site and build fairly secure base stations. What we realised was that we could attempt to piggyback the existing private cell-phone infrastructure. There is a cell system spanning the north and south, which means a stable backbone, on which we can either rent data bandwidth (probably expensive) or, better yet, on who's repeater stations (probably microwave antennas) we could rent physical space.

    Our informal conclusion was that the University should consider renting space on repeater stations for their own WiFi hubs and create a WAN using long-distance line-of-site connections with off-the-shelf, inexpensive WiFi components. Projects like this pave the way to practical, inexpensive applications of WiFi technology.

  • EME? (Score:2, Interesting)

    by macguys (472025)
    One way for this to happen would be to bounce the signal off the moon. Earth-Moon-Earth is a proven technology that Amateur Radio folks (de KD4BTC) have been doing for years. Check out this article [techtarget.com].
  • Whoa (Score:5, Funny)

    by buzzonga (666883) on Wednesday May 14, 2003 @01:03AM (#5952125)
    Are we talking about a giant, shared, 10mbs pipe across the US that we could all use together? Wow, that would really last for at least 10 seconds. Talk about /. effect....
    • Well, if they really get their act together, there would be more than one route from A to B... that might open up a little more bandwidth.

      But, aren't there standards in the 802.11 family that are faster than 11MB/sec? By 2006, those should be cheap and available.

      Overall, the idea sounds terrific, though implementation might be a bit dodgy. I like the idea of a truly public network.
  • by Anonymous Coward
    The Midwest, the Rockies, the desert, all of that is going to be financially unviable unless a corporation gets behind it.
    I think the only way it will happen is if some ISP/Telco thinks it's a good marketing idea. And in that case they'll probably run it along major highways through those desolate areas.
    Advert example: Two Verizon trucks driving towards each other down a desolate road in the middle of the US. Each planting the very last (golden spike) wireless connection on each side. Shows family
  • I'd be glad to volunteer an access point. I'd just need to buy a wireless router. I've had dreams for years of creating a LAN across my town. That would definately kick some ass.
  • A volunteer Fire Department in Yonkers has decided to form a bucker brigade from Coney Island, on the East Coast, USA, to Water World in Southern California, if for no other reason than to prove it can be done. They hope to have it in place by the 4th of July....2006.
  • FIDO Nets reborn (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Desperado (23084) on Wednesday May 14, 2003 @01:35AM (#5952235)
    Remember FIDO Net? I'm sure some do. Data passed from node to node in store and forward mode across the country using local calls modem to modem. It was way cool in its day. Doing it again with WiFi should be a real challenge but not impossible.
  • what if... (Score:3, Funny)

    by mattkime (8466) on Wednesday May 14, 2003 @01:59AM (#5952318)
    we just unroll a 4k mile roll of ethernet?
    • by rcw-work (30090)
      4000 miles is 6437376 meters. Assume a non-ethernet signal is run over this 4000-mile cat5 cable at 1mhz. Attenuation per 100 meters is 2.0dB, or 128746dB for the whole thing. Thus, you would need an input voltage 2^42915 times more powerful than your receiver can distinguish.

      The significance of such a voltage would, I am afraid, be comprehendable only by slashdot's lameness filter.

      Ergo, the repeater/digipeater.

  • by clambake (37702) on Wednesday May 14, 2003 @02:37AM (#5952435) Homepage
    May 10, 2004 ... The day that the golden pringles can [pringles.com] finally links the Union Pacific and Central Pacific kazaa servers through 802.11b.
  • Difficult... (Score:4, Interesting)

    by retro128 (318602) on Wednesday May 14, 2003 @03:12AM (#5952525)
    Well, if any of you have ever driven across the US, it would be apparent that there is a whole lot of nothing out there. However, note that it is possible to bridge long distances with 802.11.
    Take note of the HPWren map. [ucsd.edu] They've got a wireless node 45 miles away from their base tower, and they use off-the-shelf gear operating in the ISM band. In some places they have repeater radios powered by solar panels by day and batteries by night. Surely something like that could be utilized in such a project mentioned in the article, but who would put up the money to set up some of these stations and insure they don't get vandalized or destroyed by bad weather?
    Such repeater stations would be required, especially if you want to get that signal to the California coast. We have some, erm, minor obstacles. [about.com]

    Anything is possible with enough thought and money. I have no doubt that under such a project, major networks could be constructed in metropolitan areas. Yes, it can be done with Pringles cans. I have constructed one myself and the gain I get out of it rivals most commercial antennas, except for a parabolic.

    The biggest hurdle that this project has to overcome is awareness, getting people out of "that's cool" mode and getting them to do something, bridging the huge distances, and getting the signal over mountains. Other than that, it's a piece of cake :)
  • Parma Heights (Score:3, Informative)

    by MicroBerto (91055) on Wednesday May 14, 2003 @08:48AM (#5953658)
    I was born and raised in the Cleveland, OH area (Parma Heights is located on the west side). So in case you were wondering, YES, there is absolutely nothing to do in Parma.
  • by MrJerryNormandinSir (197432) on Wednesday May 14, 2003 @09:07AM (#5953784)
    Standard 802.11b ethernet won't get this accomplished. There's no way. Can a packet ping from the east to west and back again in 255ms? with Wifi?
    I don't think so. I think we should observe the way
    Amature Radio Operators have ran packet radio stations. We'd need to write drivers that would
    emulate a packet radio connection. There's will be
    too many hops to implement a 802.11 WiFi solution.
    We would have to go with packet switching.
    We'd be able to use WiFi hardware, but all the drivers would need to be written to emulate packet switching.

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