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Kingsdown node online

Thanks to Rich for all the help and advice – we have two omni’s up and running on Sydenham Road (back of Ninetree Hill) and Armada Place. I’m posting this from the new office!

We have built the system from the ground up using Debian with two MA311 cards. I hope to be able to document this soon.

One Response to Kingsdown node online

  1. martian November 25, 2003 at 1:17 am #

    Well I didn’t keep any implementation notes while I was going along but basically we put 2 Netgear MA311 cards into identical Dell P75 machines. Initially both machines were to be based on debian but I wanted to resurrect an old system whose hard drives were lying around so we ended up with one debian system and one gentoo. Believe me you really notice the difference between precompiled packages and rolling them yourself on a P75!

    An initial look at pebble was uninspiring – the driver we seemed to need – ‘hostap_pci’ – was not linked to any source and I assumed (wrongly it turned out) that this was somebody’s custom patch and the source was unavailable. I could have saved myself a day and a lot of hassle by just googling for hostap_pci (which of course I eventually did)

    But first there was a lot of messing around with the orinoco driver, which apparently supports the Prism chipsets inside the 311, but I couldn’t get this to work. I guess it is possible to use this driver; perhaps when the System Control office dsl line is installed I might play around with it again and report back.

    Eventually the aforementioned googling took place and I discovered the hostap driver at Since it is a kernel driver it has to be compiled against an already-compiled kernel; neither machine had a kernel with wireless enabled another day went on recompiling kernel and drivers on both machines.

    On Friday, the third day, we spent a long time messing with hostapd on both machines trying to get them to link up. Weirdness of weirdness, the one that booted up first managed to initiate a connection to our test windoze laptop while the other languished in 44:44:44:44:44:44 land (is that some kind of reserved MAC address / AP address?). Didn’t matter which one came up first, it seized control.

    Mike scouted the net and found a post advising that the two APs should be on differ
    ent channels. Sure enough, changing the channels made it work. The (unprovenanced, although maybe Mike can check his browser history) post further advised setting these APs several channels apart. This makes me wonder how more than 4 APs could exist in close proximity.

    If you can’t have too many APs in the same area then maybe the hostapd daemon is not the correct way to drive this kind of network (to clarify, our plan is to have a public access part on our nodes, as well as providing a redundant internet link for our business. Biz traffic will obviously take priority and the balance will be controlled through IPtables traffic shaping capabilites). I can easily see the situation where more than 13 (the max num of channels on the 311 at least) users are in a tightly located area (umm Easton?)

    I think there is some way to link APs together and this is probably the way to go. Does anyone have any info on this?