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Wireless Networking Hardware

2003 Seattle Wireless Field Day 71

Posted by michael
from the fun-in-the-rain dept.
propellerhead writes "Today is 2003 Wireless Field Day for Seattle Wireless. 'Similar to amateur radio field day, a mock emergency network will be created this summer using off-the-shelf 802.11b hardware, computers, and battery/gas power supplies. Network applications such as VoIP (Voice over IP or Internet Telephony), streaming audio and video, file sharing, chat, network games, and others will be implemented across a multi-hop wireless infrastructure. If resources allow, the goal is to connect this mobile network to the existing Seattle Wireless network, which currently exists in the Seattle area. This network can also provide access to the internet and our community network partners like Seattle Pacific University and Council House Projects.'"
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2003 Seattle Wireless Field Day

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  • by EDA Wizard (2225) on Saturday August 30, 2003 @07:40PM (#6835741) Homepage
    Great News!!!

    I will no longer need to use my microwave to cook my popcorn. I'll be able to just leave it near the window and POP POP POP away!!!
  • Google Link.... (Score:3, Informative)

    by zippity8 (446412) on Saturday August 30, 2003 @07:41PM (#6835745)
    Time to karma whore cuz the server's getting slow ;)

    Google Cache [216.239.53.104]

    This is a great idea though -- hopefully it doesn't get as annoying as mock emergency fire drills did back in residence at college.
  • by wackoman2112 (685339) <wackoman2112@@@yahoo...com> on Saturday August 30, 2003 @07:42PM (#6835750) Journal

    Network applications such as VoIP (Voice over IP or Internet Telephony), streaming audio and video, file sharing, chat, network games, and others will be implemented...

    Like people are really going to need to chat, share files, and watch streaming video during an emergency.

    • Well, as they said, perhaps with an access point at a hospital or emergency management center, they could demonstrate the feasibility of remote triage by video.
    • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday August 30, 2003 @07:56PM (#6835794)
      If you look back at history, the first need after food, clean water, shelter and clothing is porn. I think it's a little much to expect Seattlites to go back to clay tablets and cave paintings of doin' the nasty just because of an earthquake or nuclear attack or massive Redmond-centred software failure. No sheep would be safe.

      You just have to learn what "chat", "share files" and "streaming video" actually mean.
    • by poptones (653660) on Saturday August 30, 2003 @08:05PM (#6835829) Journal
      You're kidding, right? All three of those things would be extremely useful in an organizational structure. The only thing I see mentioned in the article that would NOT be "needed" in an emergency is one thing you didn't mention: games.

    • by Glonoinha (587375) on Saturday August 30, 2003 @08:06PM (#6835831) Journal
      You miss the point, or more likely you are getting me thinking about a more important point.

      Yea, kudos for being able to create an information network that can handle running without a power source (by providing your own power gen hardware.) As we saw when NY NY was under attack two years ago the problem isn't lack of electricity. The real problem is that during an emergency everybody tries to use the network at once (ie, phone system, cell phone network, etc...) and just overloads it. In the event of a real emergency it needs to handle a slashdotting of users trying to get through at once, and the system as described (an 802.11b network running hardware a bunch of hackers bought at Frys) isn't gonna cut it.

      Neat experiment, though.
    • by Anonymous Coward
      Like people are really going to need to chat, share files, and watch streaming video during an emergency.

      I think that the activities are ment to stress test the network a little. YOu can build all the 'roads' you want but if they get jamed up they are usless. But i can still think of others real reasons one might need all those services. Chat would be extremly helpfull for real time information unlike raido's you can all talk at the same time. Streaming viedo from remote points might also help depending o
    • Like people are really going to need to chat, share files, and watch streaming video during an emergency.

      Dude, I don't know about you, but in an emergency, nothing is more comforting than a high bandwidth link to download me some fine pr0n.

  • just to get your slashdot fix.
  • by TheVidiot (549995) on Saturday August 30, 2003 @07:58PM (#6835803) Homepage
    ... file sharing, chat, network games, and others...

    "Power out... disaster... locusts... must... play... Unreal Tournament... critical..."
    • power outage? (Score:2, Insightful)

      by SHEENmaster (581283)
      When the power goes out so long that my server and cable modem go down, I have nothing left to do but play UT.

      "Power out... disaster... locusts...
      That's an SEP. (Someone Elses Problem.)
  • by Fnkmaster (89084) on Saturday August 30, 2003 @08:07PM (#6835837)
    That those 802.11b wireless access points will work really well when the power grid dies. Heh. The reason amateur radio is useful in these scenarios is that it only takes one guy with a generator to communicate with people far away, who can relay information to authorities and media agencies. Anyway, I guess I'm just missing the point, but it is somewhat comforting to know that the sky may be falling, but I'll still be able to bounce some HTTP requests for autopr0n.com through the emergency 802.11b network and get a last wank in before the world comes tumbling down.
    • It's true that you can get a reasonable amount of information across with a minimum amount of power and complication with ham radios.

      But ham radios don't provide as much low-latency networked on-the-fly information access that data networks do. Eg. imagine a city could query every stoplight to see if it's out... and the computer could sumarize the findings on a map... you'd never want to do this sort of tedious data mining over voice or morse code. And things like video-streams from street cameras ar

      • No one said amateur radio operators could not use digital modes too. Amateur radio operators have modems that range from 75 baud (or lower) to a full 56kbps.

        In any case, the systems you talk about typically are connected to a central location, but over fixed wires. While traffic lights can get away with radio telemetry since they don't have to chat much, there is simply too much data in most video streams to run a few dozen of them over radio links, unless you only have to watch one or two cameras at a t

    • I'm certainly not an expert on this, but I have taken the American Radio Relay League's class on emergency communications for ham radio operators.

      Remember Tip O'Neill saying all politics is local? All emergencies are local too. A widespread disaster like Hurricane Andrew is, in practice, a bunch of local emergencies ('cause you're sure not getting any spare firefighters from the next town over, and the bridge is out anyway).

      Most of what ham radio operators do in emergencies is short-range, immediate traff
    • it is somewhat comforting to know that the sky may be falling, but I'll still be able to bounce some HTTP requests for autopr0n.com through the emergency 802.11b network and get a last wank in before the world comes tumbling down.

      I'm with you, man! If the world comes tumbling down, I'd like to get one last wank in, too. Or actual sex. Hey, it's all good.
  • Sniffing? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Mrs. Grundy (680212) on Saturday August 30, 2003 @08:12PM (#6835858) Homepage
    I'm no expert when it comes to this stuff so I'll just ask...

    Are most people who enjoy using these giant, free, wireless networks still checking there mail with good old, send the password plaintext, POP? Are networks like this just a giant smorgasborg a free information floating around for anybody to grab? Considering your average Joe uses the same password for everything I would think this would be problematic.

    What security mechanisms are place that makes this difficult?

    • Think about tunneling everything over a secure channel. Everybody says use a VPN, it will save the planet, cure AIDS, feed the hungry, and create world piece. However getting a functional, and usable, and secure VPN is much harder then eating a piece of pie.

      Until then if you don't know what your information looks like as it goes through the public Internet check out Ethereal [ethereal.com].

    • Do you send passwords in cleartext over a cable modem? at an Internet cafe? Same thing. You treat the wireless network as an Internet zone. Seems pretty obvious.
  • by LibertineR (591918) on Saturday August 30, 2003 @08:22PM (#6835886)
    Went to the Fry's grand opening, got the Linksys 802.11G/B Router and the G card for my laptop. Setting it up today, so how about some advice from those of you familiar with this stuff?

    I did set the MAC address filter and I'm using WEP and planing to PPTP into my other firewall in front of my home network, instead of putting the Linksys behind my firewall. Any advice would be welcome.

  • The point of this event is more to meet people than to do any real technical stuff.

    The networking was not that difficult, getting computers / custom AP software to work seemed to take time. Doing the distance we did over open wawa was not very hard.

    Too Bad Slashdot posting was 8 hours too late :)

    Yes, you can get a sunburn in Seattle. Especially if you are bald at 35 and too stupid to consider it.
  • by adpowers (153922) on Saturday August 30, 2003 @08:29PM (#6835906)
    Hello all. I attended the demonstration at the Alki site. I'll try and give a basic description of what it was like.

    We used a 18(?) dbi Yagi to connect to someone in the Columbia tower (the big black building, the tallest in Seattle). We also used a 24 dbi parabolic to connect to the Magnolia site. First we got internet working by relaying through a guys office in the tower. I got over 250 kB/s at some points. It took us a while longer, but we eventually got the connection to Magnolia working. Actually, Ken Caruso did most of the work fixing the Soekris box on the Magnolia end (it was configured for a different network). We had a little bit of problems with the DNS for the internet access, but that was eventually fixed. We were all able to get into an IRC room and use iChat, but we weren't successful on getting iChat AV to work across the main link. I think it may have to do with the fact that all the computers were behind a NAT to the internet. Rendezvous, unfortunately, didn't work across the link because we were routing.

    It was actually a sight to see. We had solar panels, batteries, a generator, lots of tables, tons of cables, video cameras, still cameras, cell phones with cameras, FRS radios, etc. Actually, you can see it. I have pictures on my website:

    http://www.andrewhitchcock.org/gallery/2003wireles sfieldday [andrewhitchcock.org]

    Andrew
    • so.... does your cable modem have smoke puring out of it yet?

      =]
    • One other thing I forgot to mention. There were also a helicopter and airplane flying overhead. They loaded each up with some wireless gear and flew around Seattle trying to set up an air-to-air or air-to-ground link. Everytime a helicopter or airplane flew by everyone would be like, "Is that it!?" In the end, I think we did identify which ones were ours. However, I didn't hear the results of this test.
    • You guys should become hams :). FRS radio? I wonder why more 802.11 geeks aren't more interested in ham radio :).
  • by wzoo1 (567827)
    wow this is uberly coool... Now I wish I had enough $$$ to buy hardware and make something of this...
  • In Seattle? We have a lot of clouds, you know. But I guess that annoying orange orb has been out frying us all summer. Why won't it just go away!?
  • I mean, I live 5mi from this demonstration, and I don't hear about it until it's over. Was it announced anywhere? Or do I still not understand how people schedule things in this city; i.e., being `on time' means you're 30 minutes late, and things don't get announced until two hours before they happen. Honestly though? Was it announced?

    Well, this message is going to be rated Depressed Slacker.
  • by loraksus (171574) on Saturday August 30, 2003 @11:30PM (#6836443) Homepage
    I drove up from Portland w/ a friend to attend - and we attempted the first ground to air to air to ground link - the intent was to get alki connected with the air craft, which would link to the heli which would link to magnolia. The two are a good distance apart - and were eventually connected using a couple ground based antennas.

    Best part was when we got clearance to circle right in Boing Field's takeoff path. ATC was diverting 737s, etc around us. t'was great.

    However, laptop batteries and equipment died and the idea with it. It was really fun, we learned quite a bit and have ideas to make it work the next time. We had taped an omni to the step of the airplane, and that was pretty interesting, worked surprisingly well.

    I'd post pics as I was flying in the front passenger's seat, but I like my upstream bandwidth, thank you very much. I'm sure someone will provide a host eventually.
  • by Anonymous Coward
    Look, this is cool, and I appreciate the parallels of using cool antennas to shoot Part 15 device signals miles and miles, but really, this isn't anything like Amateur Radio Field Day.

    Let's say you are in a massive earthquake. You need help, or you're going to call for help for someone else. Phones are dead, your cell phone network is jammed, and your ISP was hit big time too. You're screwed!

    That's the one flaw here. All these guys could set up an intranet in the event of an emergency, but if the various
    • What needs to be thought about is how to integrate the WiFi System into the Amateur Radio Emergency System and the ARRL National Traffic System.

      While this seems cool today, how will WiFi enthusiasts maintain interest day in and day out, year in and year out? Amateur radio does this by making Field Day (in part) a contest (how many stations can you contact in how many different parts of the country/world, your score is the product of the two).

      Separate categories are established to measure the degree of e
  • There's article on Broadband Reports here [dslreports.com] with a reciprocal link to this story.

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