Seattle Wireless Network FAQ

This is the Seattle Wireless Network FAQ. You may find answers to questions you might have about our network. Also be sure to check out the ListOfDefinitions of our different type of nodes.

For questions about wireless networking technologies in general (i.e. questions that's not specific to our network), please consult the WirelessFrequentlyAskedQuestions.


Contents

  1. Seattle Wireless Network FAQ
    1. Why would I want to participate in a Community Wireless Network?
    2. Do you have regular meetings that I can go to?
    3. So will I be able to get free Internet access if I connect to SWN?
    4. How do I connect to a SWN node?
    5. About SWN
  2. How Do I Get Started?
    1. I bought a WiFi client card, what do I do now to start using it?
    2. How can I get a node set up on my property?
    3. What equipment do I need to start a node and what is the cost?
    4. Where do I get equipment?
    5. What about FCC Regulations? Are antennas and amplifiers legal?
  3. Hardware Questions
    1. My AP has two antennas. Can I attach two different antennas to it (a directional and an omni)?
    2. Which wireless cards do you recommend?
    3. What kind of antennas are you using on your access points?
    4. Can I swap the firmware on my AccessPoint?
    5. How can I improve the performance (of my antenna) ?
  4. Questions About Nodes
    1. Can I set up a link using a directional antenna pointed at an omni antenna
    2. Can I run a really long coax cable from my machine to an antenna on my roof?
    3. I want to build my own antenna. What is the best one for me to build?
    4. How the heck do I mount an antenna? I don't have any masts on my roof or anything...
  5. Network Details
    1. What protocols are we using?
    2. What radio band are we using?
    3. What hardware and software is required to connect to the network?
    4. Which IP ranges are used?
    5. What nodes are available for access?
    6. How does routing work?
    7. Will there be DNS services?
    8. How are clients authenticated to the network?
    9. How do I access the Internet?
    10. Can I roam?
  6. Other Questions
    1. Can a 802.11 node be a repeater?
    2. What's with this 42 thing? I can't find an 802.42 spec or anything
    3. Any plans for 802.11a or 802.11g?
    4. How do I use the laptop in the car more conveniently?
    5. How safe is the microwave radiation from 802.11 devices?
    6. Why is the sky blue?
    7. What is the airspeed velocity of an unladen swallow?


Why would I want to participate in a Community Wireless Network?

Do you have regular meetings that I can go to?

We have HackNight every Tuesday, typically at NodeBitstar.

We occasionally have meetings the second Sunday of the month, whenever there is something new to talk about, or if a special guest is in town. Check the EventCalendar for meeting dates and special event dates. At times, the meetings are also broadcast via streaming video at a URL provided to those signed up on the mailing list. Meetings have presentations, discussions on how something was implemented, face to face answers to questions, and have all the expected additional fun of meeting and talking with others for group projects or problem solving. You can also bring your 802.11b equipped laptop and connect to the net whilst at the meeting.

So will I be able to get free Internet access if I connect to SWN?

How do I connect to a SWN node?

About SWN


How Do I Get Started?


I bought a WiFi client card, what do I do now to start using it?

How can I get a node set up on my property?

What equipment do I need to start a node and what is the cost?

Where do I get equipment?

What about FCC Regulations? Are antennas and amplifiers legal?

Following FccRegulations is very important. Read InterpretingFccRegulations for determining what you can and cannot do while operating in the Part 15 2.4GHz unlicensed band.


Hardware Questions


My AP has two antennas. Can I attach two different antennas to it (a directional and an omni)?

Which wireless cards do you recommend?

What kind of antennas are you using on your access points?

Can I swap the firmware on my AccessPoint?

How can I improve the performance (of my antenna) ?


Questions About Nodes


Can I set up a link using a directional antenna pointed at an omni antenna

Can I run a really long coax cable from my machine to an antenna on my roof?

I want to build my own antenna. What is the best one for me to build?

How the heck do I mount an antenna? I don't have any masts on my roof or anything...


Network Details


What protocols are we using?

What radio band are we using?

What hardware and software is required to connect to the network?

Which IP ranges are used?

What nodes are available for access?

How does routing work?

Will there be DNS services?

How are clients authenticated to the network?

How do I access the Internet?

Can I roam?

Other Questions

Can a 802.11 node be a repeater?

here on my project - but is it implemented in any WiFi protocol? - Johan (wifimassatois@free(spam?no).fr

What's with this 42 thing? I can't find an 802.42 spec or anything

Any plans for 802.11a or 802.11g?

How do I use the laptop in the car more conveniently?

How safe is the microwave radiation from 802.11 devices?

There is a lot of controversy in this area. Sadly, fears have been overhyped by junk science and scientific studies as of late. There is no conclusive evidence that low powered non-ionizing radiation can cause damange to human cells as of yet. Wavelengths are *far* too large to cause damage to cell structures, brain tissue, DNA structures, and proteins. This means that it is highly unlikely that radiowaves can be linked to cancer. (These destructive effects come into play when you get into the X-Ray range, since the wavelength can have the width of a protein's helix-alpha or DNA)

There is one thing that is certain: high levels of radio non-ionizing radiation can cause burns. When radiowaves transverse matter, heat is produced. These cummulative effects are not seen unless matter exists in close proximity of an antenna emitting tens or hundreds of watts. Thankfully, the FCC and ANSI have done a lot of work in this field to determine what is safe and what is not safe.

Naturally, 802.11b laptop cards are far from exceeding these levels. Maintaining a distance of at least 1-4 feet from even the highest EIRP unlicensed 2.4GHz antennas exceeds several times the recomended distance according to the FCC.

The Federal Communication Commission (FCC) sets guidelines for Maximum Permissible Exposure (MPE) for microwave frequency radiation. Section FCC 1.1310 specifies criteria used in evaluating environmental exposure to microwave radiation as indicated in section FCC 1.1307(b)!

Why is the sky blue?

The blue color of the sky is due to Rayleigh scattering. As light moves through the atmosphere, most of the longer wavelengths pass straight through. Little of the red, orange and yellow light is affected by the air.

However, much of the shorter wavelength light is absorbed by the gas molecules. The absorbed blue light is then radiated in different directions. It gets scattered all around the sky. Whichever direction you look, some of this scattered blue light reaches you. Since you see the blue light from everywhere overhead, the sky looks blue.

What is the airspeed velocity of an unladen swallow?

African or European? I don't know that! AAAAAAHHHHHHH!!!

Or you can take a look at Estimating the Airspeed Velocity of an Unladen Swallow


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