I don’t know if it’s the lack of blogging, the fridge full of beer, or the fact that it’s spring, but HackNight has been pretty populated for the past few months, and we’ve even been getting a few out-of-towners. This week, Shaddi Hasan from the RO.B.IN project popped in and got to see the kind of silliness that occurs when the beer gets low and the days get longer (That’s ). Last week, we got to hang out with Russell Senior from PTP, and a bit further back, we got a presentation from Veljo of wifi.ee before we hit the Stumbling Monk for a little Belgian beerfest. I’ve been getting this feeling that with the doom and gloom in the getting me psyched for the International Summit for Community Wireless Networking at the end of the month in DC. I only hope DC has an analogue to Taco Gringos because I’m pretty sure we can’t get away with some of the late night shenanigans of the last IS4CWN in the nation’s Capitol.
Last week we started playing with the Wiligear WBD-111. It’s a nifty new board we just started carrying at Metrix. Cheap, powerful, and supports the UBNT 900Mhz XR9. The shipped-with-it linux from the Firmware Factory at Wilibox is pretty cool, and if you don’t want the complexity of a fully populated web interface, you can streamline your web interface with skins. I haven’t dived into their layer 2 meshing stuff yet, but they do claim some 802.11s compat. I guess we’ll have to check out interoperability with um… OLPC or something?
Regardless, it’s pretty cool stuff. If you don’t have any hardware yet, it seems like the cheapest and fastest way to get on the NodeSeaCCP 900Mhz tubes, which are finally up and running and pointed up the Pike/Pine corridor. I’m really interested in finding out what NLOS really means around here, so I guess we’ll have to slap together a mobile rig and start channelling war peddlaz on 900. If we can crest the hill, it opens up a world of possibilities. I’ve heard good reports from rural areas, but wow, cities sure are a different beastie.
Clearwire modems don’t have external antenna connectors (not much of a surprise), but if you have a little bit of patience (and some desoldering braid), you can solder on your own fairly easily. If you don’t have braid, it’ll take 5x as long, 3 or 4 soldering irons and torches, a dremel or two, and maybe a half rack of beer. If you’re tossing on an out of band antenna and you want any gain, the rule is “Go big or go home”. Schuyler attached the Lanster Lance to the Clearwire SMA and was good to go.
I heard a rumor that you could do some fairly pokey stuff on the Clearwire network even if your modem isn’t activated. We’ve determined that you can’t do much beyond pinging other hosts with a de-authed one, but honestly, that sure is a lot.