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Kia Ora

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#1 TomBradford


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  • Local time:05:57 AM

Posted 21 May 2013 - 11:44 PM

Greetings from Middle Earth.  Actually pretty much in the middle of Middle Earth.


If you've followed anything of the making of the Lord of the Rings films in New Zealand you'll know it is a stunningly beautiful, mountainous and (comparatively) unpopulated place.  In fact outside the main centres people are few and far between, which means that those of us who choose to enjoy peace and quiet and natural beauty away from the madding crowd get quite a lot of those things.


The downside of that it that you have to be pretty self-sufficient, which is OK when you're surrounded by cattle, sheep, fish, grapes and stone-fruit but slightly more challenging when it comes to the high-tech stuff - such as the internet.


Faced with a choice between dial-up internet at 2kbps downhill with the wind behind it or an incredibly expensive thimble-full of satellite data per month the four folk in our mountain-ringed bay decided to connect ourselves together with a wifi network to share a central satellite connection (and its costs) but when we began looking into the technology it seemed a small step to build a relay on a passing mountaintop and link to someone in a small town 22km away who had the unimaginable luxury of ADSL - and I mean ADSL, not even ADSL2 or 2+.


So to cut a long story short and with no real certainty it was even going to work we set up a non-profit community trust, bought the wireless gear, solar panels and batteries, hauled a deal of stuff to said mountain-top, nailed it all together and, lo, it worked!


Mine is the self-taught task of keeping it working as what we did came to the attention of our neighbours in other bays and valleys who ask "can we join"?  The network has grown to now server 50-odd (some of them very odd) hobbits, elves, men and even the occasional orc willing to pay the monthly bill.


But problems outside my technical experience now and then (not above twice a day now) still crop up and having a source of knowledge and wisdom such as this will I hope be of inestimable value.


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