Show Sidebar Log in

Network News

Hi all,

A lot has happened over the last few weeks, this last one in particular. To make sure everyone thats not around daily is up to speed on things, here’s an update on what’s happened and a roadmap of what is to come in the near future.

Bails and I got the VoIP at the Lab working properly. The incoming 0845 number now works. We will be getting get the 0117 902 5247 number from Telewest and pointing it towards our VoIP provider.

The lab is moving. We’ve painted the new room at WCC, and on Saturday Rich, Nigel (local landlord and builder known to us all from the Chelsea,) Bails, Woodsy, Matt, Ben and myself ran trunking and Cat5 around the new room. We got most of it done as a team but in the end Matt and myself stayed until we’d run out of Cat5 (over 1000ft!) twice (there’s none left in the lab either) and it had passed midnight. 2 sockets (1 dbl) remain uncabled, the rest is done. We need more Cat5!

I have also run a cable from our room to the ICT suite 2 doors down. Our router there has a spare ethernet interface on it, this will serve our needs in the short-term.

Over the next week we will be moving into the room. Rich will be picking up two switches to manage the room and a load more graciously donated machines from IoPP on Monday, when we hope the room can become operational. But we need to pack things up first! The latter is our next priority, but generally moving this week is going to require a lot of manpower and as much help as possible will be required, so ‘All Hands On Deck!’

A new machine from IoPP, a tower box with dual p3 Xeon 2.6GHz CPUs and many Gigs of RAM, is to become the new labserver at WCC. . The two new switches from IoPP are 48-port with 1 1Gbps uplink port, the new server already has a gigabit ethernet interface so the new office LTSP WILL SERIOUSLY ROCK! ;o}

WCC’s connection to the network remains sketchy, so we are going to order new WRAP boards, Atheros mini-PCI cards, compact flash and pigtails etc. WRAP boards (Wireless Router Application Platform) are Matt’s discovery – they are low-cost high-spec Single Board Computers (SBCs) – Once tested we can mount one on a nice high pole on the chimney outside WCC. Westcom will be advising once again about a suitable pole to get for this, above standard length, and about the correct fixings etc. for the job.

The WRAP boards will *probably* run Voyage Linux, like the backbone routers. Voyage ( is derived from Pebble, but has been kept up to date and is cutting-edge. Voyage has been extensively tested on the WRAP platform. Once this is in place we can either connect WCC to Twinnel or to the new APs in Kingsdown if they’re ready.

On Friday we (Rich, Matt, Westcom and myself) went to Armada house in Kingsdown and finished the last few details of the install there, brought up the 5.8GHz radio pointing at Holroyd House in Knowle, then went to Holroyd and did the same. This was the first time I’d seen the backbone installs, I must say I was *extremely* impressed by the quality of the work done by Rich and Westcom – the whole lot looks extremely professional. John Palfrey spent half an hour in the driving rain taking out the standard coach bolts he’d used to fix the antennae to the wall of the lift room and replacing them with invincible-looking anchor bolts instead ‘just to make sure’ – testimony to Westcom’s devotion to helping us do this thing really properly.

The link between Kingsdown< ->Holroyd was brought up, it’s not great at the moment but we can work on that once we can reach it remotely. To this end I’ll be going up on Twinnel on Monday morning to repoint the unused radio at Kingsdown flats, giving us a preliminary connection to the new backbone kit. We can then install traffic/signal monitoring software and tweak the
links ’till they’re good etc. remotely.

The Chelsea Inn has changed hands. Although invited to do so, Jules needs a change of scenery and will not be managing it in the future. However, other Chelsea staff will be taking on the role and keeping things pretty similar. We are allowed to stay, as is the open mic night (I have this by word of mouth from Jules,) so it looks like wireless and streaming at the Chelsea will continue.

The kit bought by Jules/the Chelsea was kindly donated to the project – it ALL belongs to us. This is good, as we took down the Omni and replaced it with a radio pointing at ECC. As the Chelsea< ->ECC link is useless we can take this down and connect ECC back to Twinnel as a stopgap while we survey/install the remaining tower block in the Barton Hill area.

Right, that’s all I can think of for now. Well done to everyone for all their hard work in bringing us this far…

Lloyd Rennie (with a few edits)