Month Two: Wikwikwik


Since my last report, a bunch of projects have progressed and a bunch more have begun. The wiki has been moving along. Almost all of the content is up, it's been reskinned, and I've added a translator and some access restriction extensions so we can store some somewhat "classified" information to it. Mediawiki has been a breeze to use after overcoming some permissions issues during the install; for a website that is primarily for disseminating information, I like it a lot more than Joomla/Drupal/modular type things. It isn't flashy and requires some setup, but it will be great to let residents create accounts and add info to the database.

Onto the new things. Drew up a proposal for deployment of a very small wifi deployment at an affordable housing project, and will be deploying that before the years' end. Wrote a request for proposals for wifi at a set of newly rehabbed housing developments for which we recently received a grant. Found a really good resource for writing RFPs. It'll be nice to both deploy a network firsthand and oversee deployment of a network by a contractor.

Am kind of excited about the wifi network I'll be installing. It relies on Broadband over Powerlines (BPL), which sends wireless signals through existing powerlines and has been proposed as a way to bring internet connectivity to areas where it otherwise would be unfeasible or expensive to build out completely new infrastructure (rural areas, underdeveloped countries). While BPL is yet to be totally proven/adopted for long-distance internet service (and interferes with HAM radios uh oh), it's widely available for household networks. The plan is to just have one internet connection and then use BPL adapters to bounce the connection up to each floor of this apartment building, then build out an open mesh network around these BPL gateways. The cost will be super low, less than a grand to bring free internet to the building, and the speed is gonna be acceptable, probably around 7Mbps down. I'm concerned about hardware security, though. There is lots of vandalism and theft in the building... still looking into addressing that.

Cheers, have a happy Autumn.

ModelRFPFormat.pdf39.35 KB

Comment from Mira Allen on October 7, 2009 - 4:28pm

Sounds like a great project! Keep us posted.

Comment from Mark Woodward on October 12, 2009 - 12:32pm

I'm very interested in the internet over power lines technology...any updates?