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All,

This is a set of comments on 802.11, not 802.11b, just in the event
that it might be helpful.

802.11 is a pretty well established technology in the United States.
It's an extension of the broadband technology, so that security is a
real issue.

At New York University, where I used to work, we worked with Lucent
on their PubLan (Public LAN) offering to identify and close security
holes, of which there are many in the basic product.  More recently,
AeroNet (Cisco has come up with another approach, using among other
things, VPN technology with a central encrypted authorization process
that seems to solve these problems really well.

We also used 802.11 in a historic building where the costs of wiring
would have been prohibitive because of city regulations applying to
the property.

If you're not worried about security all that much, then 802.11 is a
really good alternative for AFrica.  Last April Eric Stevance and I
spent several weeks in Madagascar working on a plan to network five
universities.  Our recommended solution uses 802.11 extensively for
almost all local loop connectivity between city POPs and campus
locations.  You do need line of sight, and you need a little more
around the halfway point to accommodate a Fresnel zone (if you're a
physicist, you understand this).

The technology is being implemented in point to point and point to
multipoint flavors.  Initial speeds in the U.S. were 2 mbps but you
can get cards now for less than US $200 that give you 11 (eleven)
mbps.  Access points (the wired transponders) that provide the link
to the wired Internet generally consist of a couple of those swame
cards with some additional electronics, and cost less than $1,000.

Range of 802.11 is, in our experience up to 10 km, more or less.  I
can't speak about what happens if you jack up the power.

George Sadowsky

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 At 5:08 PM +0100 2/1/01, Eric S Johnson wrote:
>hi ANITEPpers,
>
> > From: African Network of IT Experts and Professionals (ANITEP) List
>
>by the way, does ANITEP have any incarnation in any way other than this
>list?
>
> > Forgive me if this issue has come up in the past (I must have missed
> > it) but has anyone been thinking about 802.11b technologies in the
> > context of wireless networking / public Internet access?
>
>i've heard lots of tidbits about 802.11b. it's my understanding, in the US,
>that's considered to be short-range. but in our moscow office the other day
>i saw a demo of a unit that was longer-range--they'd cranked up the power.
>not sure what frequency management regulations were being broken. but they
>got 1mbps working just fine. they are using their system to provide internet
>service in nizhnii novgorod, in russia--they use what you'd normally think
>of as 802.11b clients as their base stations and then run an ethernet cable
>to their 5 or 10 subscribers in that building (can we say security risk?).
>so they've set up a bunch of these base stations around town and the bases
>communicate with their central node via 802.11b. that way the cost of
>connecting a new subscriber, provided the subscriber's near an existing
>base, is very minimal.
>
>they said when they crank up the power, they would get about 40 km via
>line-of-sight.
>
>best,
>eric