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Wireless Networking Hardware

Lanlink Linking The Coasts 340

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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  • 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.
  • by macshune ( 628296 ) on Tuesday May 13, 2003 @11:47PM (#5951730) Journal
    LanLinkup - The Great Experiment

    Welcome! - Here is what we are all about:

    Purpose - A project of this magnitude will undoubtedly take on new meanings and visions as hurdles are passed and obstacles are overcome, but today, the purpose of LL is to setup a wireless lan infrastructure in the homes of average people that spiderwebs and interconnects coast to coast using store bought wifi equipment and not at any point connect to the real Internet. A successful test of this experiment will be to ping remote hosts the farthest that is possible.

    Why - Imagine, more privacy, free long distance, and no charge for Internet usage - that anyone can use, managed by volunteers. Can an experiment such as this shake up the telecommunication industry any more than it already is? This "Great Experiment" as a whole is not owned by any single individual or company. You own your own equipment and therefore are a part of the great link, in essence, your own ISP.

    Who is the GE? - It's you, if you decide to participate. This is not a commercial venture but a venture in resourcefulness and education. By joining, there is nothing financial to gain. You are a volunteer and volunteer your own hardware and time. At the moment, there are no standards for this idea set in stone, mostly just ideas. I would like to formally request that those with networking backgrounds (ie Networks admins and engineers, etc) and/or wisp experience who are interested in getting in at the grass roots level of this project to contact me at once!

    Timeline - By mid May, I would like to have hammered out a routing plan, lan ip block assignment, have a general idea about how things will be done, and have a growing population.

    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.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday May 13, 2003 @11:48PM (#5951739)
    Average range for a 802.11b base station: 150 feet
    Distance between west and east coasts of the US: over 2000 miles
  • by km790816 ( 78280 ) <<moc.liamekaens> <ta> <20xg3qhqw>> on Tuesday May 13, 2003 @11:57PM (#5951794)
    I have never heard about Hands Across America (probably because I was 7).

    Anyway, here's a link for those that were drinking out of juice boxes in 1986. []

    It's hard to believe that such a thing was possible.
  • 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".

  • 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 []

    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 Anonymous Coward on Wednesday May 14, 2003 @12:06AM (#5951868)
    with VHF packet systems years ago?
  • by div_2n ( 525075 ) on Wednesday May 14, 2003 @12:07AM (#5951874)
    For point to multipoint (access points) you can have a 4 watt EIRP in the 2.4 band (802.11b & g). Point to point (bridge) in 2.4 you can have 8 watts.

    In 5.3 ghz (802.11a) you can have a total of 1 watt EIRP for point to multipoint. I _think_ you can have a total of 2 watts for point to multipoint. The same goes for 5.8 ghz.
  • by div_2n ( 525075 ) on Wednesday May 14, 2003 @12:11AM (#5951886)
    Anything that is going to go 10 miles plus will REQUIRE to be on a tower. The fresnal zone will not allow you to go the horizon on the ground. If you get high enough you could easily go 50 miles or so point to point with 8 watts. You could possibly get up to 60 or 70 but that would require some gargantuan towers to overcome the curvature of the earth and ground obstacles.
  • by afidel ( 530433 ) on Wednesday May 14, 2003 @12:24AM (#5951962)
    If you want to calculate the height you will need Cisco Aironet has a nice calculator that allows you to figure out all sorts of things like tower height and power settings. One of their vendors has a version online Here []
  • 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 Anonymous Coward on Wednesday May 14, 2003 @12:44AM (#5952061)
    Improved wireless/microwave calculators:

    Wireless Network Link Analysis []

    Microwave Radio Path Analysis []

    Line-of-Sight Path Analysis []
  • 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.
  • by Roofus ( 15591 ) on Wednesday May 14, 2003 @12:50AM (#5952082) Homepage
    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.

  • by cjsnell ( 5825 ) on Wednesday May 14, 2003 @01:04AM (#5952128) Journal
    The routes:

    Eastern Section []

    Central Section []

    Western Section []

    Interesting side note: I was looking at the area around my hometown of San Antonio, TX (on the Central [] map) and noticed a spur of the route leading to LBJ's ranch near Blanco/Johnson City Texas. These tower routes were designed to facilitate cross-country communications for the public but they also had a wartime mission--keeping the President in commo during WW3.
  • 8 watts IS allowed (Score:2, Informative)

    by hexmem ( 97431 ) on Wednesday May 14, 2003 @01:39AM (#5952254)
    You are partially correct.... You cannot exceed 1 watt into the antenna. The antenna adds gain to give you a total signal strength. In a point-to-multipoint you can go a maximum of 4W EIRP. In a point-to-point situation you can go a maximum of 8W EIRP. Check out,, and google for more info (search for EIRP).
  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday May 14, 2003 @01:57AM (#5952312)
    Hands Across America was just a PR abstraction -- there wasn't really one continuous chain across the continent. People just lined up in heavily populated areas for a few miles, in some places just a few hundred yards. The level of organization of the project was widely overestimated.
  • Re: Tried before (Score:3, Informative)

    by Omniscient Ferret ( 4208 ) on Wednesday May 14, 2003 @04:08AM (#5952710)
    (cough) Here's the correctly spelled link []. This was from way before 802.11 got popular. It used ham radio frequencies to propagate information with homebuilt hardware. I thought I remembered military surplus hardware as being part of this.
  • 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.

Don't tell me how hard you work. Tell me how much you get done. -- James J. Ling