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WIRELESS BROADBAND ICT CHOICES

FOR HILL & VALLEY COMMUNITIES

(In Scotland & Wales)
 
 


 
 
 
 

COMMUNITY or COMMERCIAL EXPLOITATION?
 
 

Henry O’Tani G8OTA

September 2001
 
 
 
 

WIRELESS BROADBAND ICT CHOICES

FOR HILL & VALLEY COMMUNITIES

(In Scotland & Wales)



Sections:

1. COMMUNITY WLANs

2. COMMUNITY or COMMERCIAL EXPLOITATION?

3. MOORE’S LAW: AN OPEN SECRET:

4. COMMERCIAL TELCOMS:

5. SIMPLER AND CHEAPER ALTERNATIVES:

6. STRATEGIC SKYLINE SITES:

7. A NEW PUBLIC SERVICE/MUNICIPAL APPROACH:

8. ACTION REQUIRED:

9. DESIGNATION & LOCATION:

Skyline Sites:

Access Points:

Backbone:

10. ACTION LIST:
 
 
 
 
 
 

Henry O’Tani

Bath - September 2001

Site: www.wlan.org.uk

Email: altec@beeb.net
 
 


WIRELESS BROADBAND ICT CHOICES

FOR HILL & VALLEY COMMUNITIES

(In Scotland & Wales)





1. COMMUNITY WLANs:

Albert Einstein, when asked to describe radio, replied:

"You see, wire telegraph is a kind of a very, very long cat. You pull his tail in New York and his head is meowing in Los Angeles….. Do you understand this? And radio operates exactly the same way: you send signals here, they receive them there…..

The only difference is that there is no cat."

NOCAT NETWORK http://nocat.net/

1.1 From the perspective of delivering modern microwave based ICT communications and broadcasting to barren mountainous country with populated valleys, this topography is now seen as an asset. Peaks can serve the same function as tall masts or geo-stationary satellites..... (but not cost $1Millions!)

1.2 We can install low power, low cost broadband ICT access points at the best peaks. Clients with a dish and adapter can connect to "54Mb/sec WLAN" at any visible rooftop and this connection can exist free of spurious commercial charges.

1.3 Within large offices, hospitals, colleges and commercial facilities "Networking Professionals" now build private Integrated Services "wired Digital Networks" connecting hundreds of users using proprietary "Ethernet" IEEE 803.3 at 10 or 100 Mb/sec.…. Without a penny thereafter spent with outside firms on "line rental, call or connection charges".

1.4 This "Networking Technology" has spawned much "clerical innovation" and new hardware "vocabulary inventions" such as "client" "client server", "hubs", "bridges", "routers" and "repeaters" etc..

1.5 A "Networking Professional" can now buy WIRELESS APPLIANCES which for 10Mb/sec "Ethernet" replace the wired apparatus...... in the form of wireless adapters, wireless bridges and wireless routers with speeds up to 54Mb/sec per channel.

1.6 In principle, WLANs take "Wireless" out of the hands of "telecommunications radio engineers" and put it in the hands of "Networking Professionals" and "serious consumers"...

1.7 U.K. technical advances make it possible to legally use this low-cost but hi-technology (originally short range at 300 metres) over much longer distances than originally intended ( – 3km to laptops, 30km to rooftop antenna).

1.8 How Radio WLANS Work http://www.wlan.org.uk/hrww.htm


2. COMMUNITY or COMMERCIAL EXPLOITATION?
 
 

The U.K. Wireless ICT Industry inherits its position from a publically owned community service which would never have been able to gain a foothold as a commercial undertaking.

Consumers of bandwidth now have the means to organise, acquire and operate "local 4G Wireless ICT at low to zero cost" entirely free of rising commercial "line rental, call or connection charges!"

2.1 CONSUME NET http://www.consume.net/

2.2 There is a profound difference between "commercial" and "community" ICT infrastructure solutions…. The former are constituted to operate only in ways which obtain continuous revenues and profits.

2.3 The industry is inherently and systemically indulgent and manipulative of "remedy dependence" and deliberately engineers "hardware incompatibility" and "brand exclusive connectivity issues" under the guise of "product identity".

2.4 The commercial operator’s basic instinct is therefore "gentle and continuous, predatory extraction of wealth from the community"

2.5 In stark contrast to the community/public service model’s raison-d’Ítre which is:- "creation of wealth for the community"

2.6 The widespread dissemination and sharing of education and knowledge is held by community activists as a social goal in its own right which is inseparable from a widespread rise of democratic civilization, liberty and cultural prosperity.

2.7 When need for public information and knowledge (and attendant delivery systems) is identified; from safety-signs to public schools and libraries; community activists require these to be immediately and efficiently delivered for the common good…. Not (as is the case now with the ICT cartels) to be carefully restricted and sparingly metered out in order to artificially maintain high prices.

2.8 The benefits of new or improved transport or ICT infrastructure (as with a balanced diet, fresh air or clean water) are pervasive… (an advertising copywriter/spin doctor’s dream assignment) really too numerous to mention… but such all too obvious benefits of new or improved (ICT) infrastructure need not remain the "exclusive gift" of enterprising businessmen who appear to articulate these within a business plan based on providing ICT at profit.

2.9 INFORMATION LANGUAGE AND SOCIETY Extracts from Norbert Wiener's "Cybernetics" ( MIT 1948 ) http://www.wlan.org.uk/wiener2.htm

2.10 In any openly informed debate the public/community service model clearly has the greater justification and merit.
 
 

3. MOORE’S LAW: AN OPEN SECRET:

3.1 Within the microelectronic and telecommunications industry, a systemic phenomenon since the 1960’s has been what is called "Moore’s Law". This roughly states that the REAL COST of providing any given microelectronics technology (i.e. as used to build ICT telecommunications or computer equipment), simply "drops by 50% every 18 months to 2 years".

3.2 Any HONEST service provider will build this simple economic fact into his service pricing, offering to either double performance or halve ICT charges every two years…

3.3 Moore’s Law as applied to ICT http://www.wlan.org.uk/there_oughtta_be_a_law.htm
 
 

4. COMMERCIAL TELCOMS:

4.1 What has been observed for decades is that commercial ICT providers lock consumers into fixed-priced rental, long equipment life-cycles, with minimal performance standards returning only the poorest cost/benefit to their clients…… whilst quietly retaining the advantage of "dropping overheads of 50% every 18 months to 2 years" to benefit mainly their own and shareholders, profitability….

4.2 It is said that in the U.K. the ICT cartel deploys only a few percent of its available bandwidth, cynically keeping back over 98% to retain the profitability of existing (and increasingly old fashioned) hi-revenue services such as Telephony, ISDN, ADSL and "3G"…..

4.3 Today British teenagers are on average spending between £1000 and £1500 per year on telecommunications…..

4.4 So-called "new" services such as message texting are technically speaking extraordinarily poor value and retrograde developments….

4.5 It is small wonder that "TELCOS" became some of the richest transnational corporations in existence.

4.6 Overall representing a highly unsatisfactory predatory drain on the community….the profits now leached out of GNP by national wireless "2G" alone, could instead buy the U.K. 50 NEW UNIVERSITIES or 100 NEW TEACHING HOSPITALS every year……



 
 

5. SIMPLER AND CHEAPER ALTERNATIVES:

5.1 As microelectronic technologies mature, their associated ICT products become "staple commodities" for which not only "networking professionals" but "serious consumers" can be sufficiently knowledgeable to buy direct (as with the other PCs and peripherals).

5.2 With REAL COSTS "dropping 50% every 18 months to 2 years" over the last 20 years, microwave WIRELESS ICT Infrastructure has now become the lowest cost option…..

5.3 Broadband microwave equipment performance which cost £30,000 to provide 15 years ago now costs only £300 (due to Moore’s Law).

5.4 Already it is cheaper to Buy DIY "4G" Wireless than 300 metres of indoor network cable!

5.5 Microwave network products which previously demanded custom design and installation by radio & telecommunications specialists – can now be set up and installed by a digital or satellite TV installer…..

5.6 In stretching the product/consumer price differentials so wide, the profit taken by international telecommunications cartels has become so extreme "providing such a mean and miserly bandwidth delivery" that new DIY technology ICT alternatives (dubbed "4G") can deliver the same or better performance at a few pennies in the pound of "commercial prices".

5.7 Sick of crap DSL? Start your own service! http://www.wlan.org.uk/sickofcrapdsl.html

5.8 Users can therefore today go out to buy and communally share DIY "4G" consumer equipment "as a local club" for a few percent of the commercial costs with LOW TO ZERO COST "Rental" and Call Charges".

5.9 A practical obstacle to Community WLAN is obtaining community access to the required strategic land and tall building vantage points ….
 
 
 
 

6. STRATEGIC SKYLINE SITES:

6.1 The Primary "Microwave Point To Multipoint" distribution ICT nodes (WAPs / APs) for "DIY 4G" need to be located where everyone can see one.

6.2 Previously seen as a communications barrier, the mountainous topography of hill and valleys such as Scotland and Wales is now seen as IDEAL for delivering community wireless ICT.

6.3 Just as Norway is blessed (should it need them) by natural deep harbours in its fiords, barren hills and mountains provide "natural raised platforms" for wireless networking – (still largely undeveloped - available at very low cost.)

6.4 In other parts of the country few towns and villages are similarly so blessed as to be overlooked by a hill or mountain which can be seen from almost every dwelling and business premises.

6.5 Such topographical features now prove ideal for providing "low to zero cost" Wireless ICT to such communities….
 
 

7. A NEW PUBLIC SERVICE/MUNICIPAL APPROACH:

7.1 "Wireless LAN" now offers the lowest cost and quickest start up option…

7.2 Community ICT Infrastructure now can and should be the property of its "owners and users" – not its "service providers".

7.2 Communities will consequently not be "locked-in" to ANY particular technology currently on offer or depend on any one supplier…..
 
 
 
 

8. ACTION REQUIRED:

8.1 The IMMEDIATE ISSUE regarding "4G" WIRELESS ICT Infrastructure is for the local authorities to designate and protect all these strategic "Skyline Sites". These are as important to community WLAN development as river banks and coastline are to fishermen and anglers…

8.2 The threat is that it would be too easy now for any of the existing (now supremely wealthy) operators to acquire (in narrow strips) all the best strategic ridges and hilltops surrounding the main population centres so as to (continue to) exercise a monopoly over ANY FUTURE "4G" ICT possibilities for a given area… (This will inhibit all other alternatives such as preferred local small-business and not-for-profit local community initiatives..)
 
 


 
 
 
 

8.3 If on the other hand the natural ICT "skyline site" platforms are designated and protected by the local and regional public authorities, their use can be socially managed and COMPETITIVELY licenced to continually work in the BEST interest of the communities and individuals they serve.

8.4 It is therefore imperative that (like roads, waterways and harbours) these natural "ICT Skyline Sites" be recognized and protected as the VITAL strategic national & community asset they are.
 
 

9. DESIGNATION & LOCATION:

9.1 In a network or grid covering the whole country; as each "trig point" (to be efficient) must see at least 3 others; so "the "4G nodes" must be able to see at least 2 (and preferably 3) others… These will generally be located somewhere on the natural or artificial "skyline" surrounding any community, town, village or industrial estate….

9.2 Modern computer aided GIS mapping enables "skyline" horizon (view) from any point and point-to-point (terrain) topography to be quickly analyzed.


Skyline Sites:

9.3 ANY future lowest-cost community based wireless ICT technology will NEED to make use of the best local high points…..

9.4 The Local Authorities can set up or permit this as a network of simple COMMUNITY OWNED & MANAGED UNFURNISHED MAST AND BUNKER SITES…. which can provide leased and rented accommodation at "peppercorn rent" …. Perhaps at the least consisting of no more than a 100 sq. metre patch of scrub land!

9.5 The Public Authorities should provide these with the same determination (at a fraction of the capital outlay) as it might small business parks and starter units. Indeed EVERY business park, school and community could now have a "skyline WLAN site" provided.

9.6 For the cost of a street lamp or traditional phone box set by a major road, one gets a really "deluxe 4G WLAN site" …… A brick hut or bunker with an electric supply and tall lamp-post type "Telepole", which is quite affordable for even very small villages…

9.7 A sensible municipal approach therefore will be to now identify and protect "the tactical skyline" surrounding ALL centres of population.
 
 
 
 

Access Points:

9.8 The equipment which directly connects users to "the net" is called an "Access Point" or "Wireless Access Point" or "Wireless Point of Presence" (AP / WAP / W POP )

9.9 In this "community model" the "Skyline Sites" are rented by the public local or regional authority(ies) for use by socially desirable users operating within a social and community remit..

9.10 The requirements of ANY SINGLE specific "corporate user" such as education, health, chambers of commerce, utility and local authority can be used as a "pilot system" to establish the INFRASTRUCTURE to which (by fitting additional antenna and wireless boxes….) other overlapping community services can be appended in due course

9.11 Texas State Library Service (http://www.tsl.state.tx.us/ld/pubs/wirelss/index.html)

Amateur Telepole (ExtremeNet - Australia)

9.12 To ensure the lowest possible end-user cost, priority can be given to encourage the deployment of WAPs by those "site licencees/tenants" who are "community owned" and set up like POWYS TELECENTRES on a patently community orientated not-for-profit trust or association basis…..

9.13 POWYS TELECENTRES http://www.telecentres.com/
 
 

Backbone:

9.13 Complimentary with 803.11b (11Mb/sec) is 803.11a (at 54Mb/sec) with higher gain dishes and less susceptibility to long distance propagation losses making it ideal for "backbone interlinking" of the ICT service WAPs/APs..

9.14 A pilot Study has been prepared for POWYS COMMUNITY TELECENTRES showing how 24 community telecentres can be interconnected at 11Mb/sec using 14 low cost WLAN installations.

9.15 POWYS TELECENTRES WLAN http://www.wlan.org.uk/powys-fs.htm
 
 
 
 

10. ACTION LIST:

10. 1 It is imperative that (like roads, waterways and harbours) natural "ICT Skyline Sites" be recognized and protected as VITAL strategic national & community assets.

10. 2 A sensible municipal approach therefore will be to now identify and protect "the tactical skyline" surrounding ALL centres of population.

10. 3 In this "Community Model" the "Skyline Sites" are rented by the local or regional authority agency to a variety of socially attractive emerging new style DIY communications networks…... The requirements of ANY SINGLE specific "corporate user" such as education, health, chambers of commerce, utility and local authority can be used as a "pilot system" to establish the INFRASTRUCTURE to which (by fitting additional antenna and wireless boxes….) other overlapping community services can be appended in due course

Henry O’Tani

Bath - September 2001

Site: www.wlan.org.uk

Email: wlan@beeb.net