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Roland Jankowski
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« on: February 11 2008 »

Dear Richard, dear all,

As we are already in the mid of february we should go on with the technical planing
to get a more clear view what we will build together in ~10 weeks in Binga if POTRAZ
issues can get solved.

we started to write down notes and tasks on a wiki page as it
makes planning and collaboration more transparent. up to now
it is only a first draft which will be refined in the next weeks.

to get a more detailed idea of what we will technically do i would suggest
that you start setting up the routers with meshnetworking enabled firmware
and get familiar with some parameters you might not know from wire based networks.

from peter we also learned that the routers you received have german firmware on it.
sorry about that, of course that was not very well planned from our side.

we wrote al little manual how to flash the router with freifunk firmware
(olsr protocoll capable mesh firmware) considering the fact that german is
not understood by the user.

http://vkl.xaok.org/wiki/BingaManuals

you will also find some more details about mesh networks in the links provided on that page.

please try to flash, configure and test the three routers as written on the tiny manual and
give us your feedback and experiences.

some rough draft of project plan you can find here:

http://vkl.xaok.org/wiki/BingaWirelessProject

it's readable by the public as we wish to make the project as transparent as possible.
any confidential information will be put in login-only areas.

in case you want to edit/comment directly on something please register here:
http://vkl.xaok.org/wiki/UserPreferences


eagerly waiting for clarification of legal/licence issues,

best
Roland Jankowski
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Peter Kuthan / AZFA
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« Reply #1 on: March 20 2008 »

Dear Richard,

as the designated date for our visit in Binga gets closer i suggest
to proceed with planning links and needed material - even if it's not
really clear to me how chances are that we will have a GO signal
to travel to Binga beginning of May.

Richard, did you find some time to take a deeper look at some
documentation regarding mesh networks compiled by us some time
ago? -> http://vkl.xaok.org/wiki/BingaManuals

just to make sure that both sides know what we are planning to realize
in Binga.

next step would be to talk about net topology, how many links,
distances, confirming line of sight, mounting, approx cable
lengths for inhouse connectivity + electricity.
this should result in a bill of materials until first week of
april as we have to calculate budgets and order equipment.

regards
Roland Jankowski
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Peter Kuthan / AZFA
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« Reply #2 on: March 20 2008 »

Dear Roland,

Thanks for your email.

I FULLY agree with you, lets move on and plan.

I went through all the documents and I have made and will make my comments:
We are making some good progress regarding the license for the 2.4. Im
sure you have read some updates on this forum.  We are very positive and from
the meetings we held very optimistic as as well.

The Binga ISP.

Im sure you are very clear on the fact that Tonga Online is gearing to
be an ISP for the District of Binga. We are going to get our service
from an internet access provider called TeloneOne, www.telone.co.zw.
Telone is the national telecomms operator for the Back borne and the
fixed telephones. Already we in the process of applying for a 2MB
internet link from Telone.

Sustainability

As an ISP we will set up a Wireless LAN to connect all secondary
schools in the district but with the capability of eventually
connecting everyone. To sustain the project in the medium term we have
planned to offer some value added services to the business community
and the people who need the services and are on an income. I have
attached a document that outlines the other important services we have
to offer and hence we have to plan for. For most of the services the
clients will meet the full cost of installation and recurrent service.
The 2Mb link is costly and would need some firm financial source to
keep it going.

Redundancy and Backup

Binga is remote and 90% of the times connection with the backborne is
allways broken. Electricity along the route which is from Bulawayo to
Binga, is the biggest problem. Fuel supplies to enable the Telone
Technicians to attend to faults is also a problem. So we also need to
plan, not only for a 4hr UPS,but backup power generation facility.
Since the link is most of the time ever down, your idea of a Satellite
link should find its way into our planning. The link can actually be
sustained by a number clients, like banks, telone itself and other
organisations who sometimes have to travel to Hwange, about 240km one
way, to send an important email. This will also create some redundancy
for our network.

Pilot Phase

In the Pilot phase we plan to set up the ISP. Offer some sustainable
services to the community and setup a wireless connection with Manjolo
Secondary School, the Ministry of Education District Office in Binga,
Binga High School and Binga Primary School, with an option of HDSL in
the latter three cases depending on budgetary strength.

VOIP

We endevour to setup some community telephone services, through the
Asteriks in remote areas and we have set aside 1 telephone line for
this purpose. In the final phase we hope to reconnect most communities
using the same solution. We still however need to discuss in Tonga
Online on who benefits and how.

I hope this background will assist us to discuss various solutions,
including Billing for dialup services, bandwidth management, solutions
for bandwidth sales etc. A total solution.

Regards,

Richard Simango
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Peter Kuthan / AZFA
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« Reply #3 on: March 21 2008 »

Hello Roland,

You've got a file called "Description of Sites in the Pilot Phase.pdf" (1.75 MB) from simangor@gmail.com waiting for download.

You can click on the following link to download:

http://www.megaupload.com/?d=7CQOTC9V

best regards

Richard
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Peter Kuthan / AZFA
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« Reply #4 on: March 21 2008 »

Dear Richard,

Thanks for providing all the informations and photos. it helps a lot
in getting "the big picture".

next step would be to identify what goals we have for pilot phase.

thee designated team for pilot phase are experts in radio communication
and networking but can't cover every aspect of the Tonga Online ISP
business plan. e.g billing and dial in services are a bit out of our
scope.

for pilot phase i suggest to get a stable, easily extendable network
and with managed connection to upstream provider up and running. the
network should provide the foundation for all value added services of
binga ISP. future use cases are considered in planning.

some proposed features:
* IP layer of the network will be open access, no encryption. (-> easy
to deploy)
* internal routing is done with OLSR protocol, external via static
route as we have just one upstream for now. dynamic routing might
be necessary in the future with several upstream providers, eg. satellite
* customers pay for internet connectivity. local network use is free.
(accounting needed only on upstream gateway)
* customers get public IP address via encrypted VPN connection to
gateway machine (legal responsibility, maybe not needed in .zw?)
* to reduce load on the 2mbit uplink we run a transparent proxy
  on http port 80 on the gateway machine to cache common requests
  (eg preload the cache with wikipedia so just new pages get requested
  from the internet) -> this usually reduces uplink load by 10-40%)

proposed goals:

* well planed installation of serveral directional antennas on
  telone tower, coordinating with existing radio devices
* interconnect pilot phase sites, mount 1-2 directional and if
  reasonable 1 omni antenne to extend network coverage on each pilot
  site.
* set up tools to monitor and manage the network (link quality, uptime,
  traffic accounting, watchdogs,...)
* set up infrastructure to connect commercial customers (VPN,log?)
* impart knowledge to maintain and extend the network to tonga online
ISP staff. time needed depends a lot on existing knowledge of TCP/IP
networks, radio communication basics and unix/linux shell skills.

is inhouse LAN a goal for pilot phase? if yes is a simple NAT solution
with dhcp on the LAN side sufficient?

optional goals if time left:
* voip testsetup for friendly customers / internal use


questions to richard:

* public IP addresses: will telone provide public IP addresses,
  what is the legal situation in .zw concering commercial ISPs and
  telecommunication laws? do we have to provide public IPs and/or
  retention of connection data?
  from a legal point of view, would it be viable to just have
  one public IP and do NAT of internal IPs for all customers?
  (which has some drawbacks, commercial customers won't like it as
  some services can't be run, eg. own mail server)

* telone tower
  which kind of digital radio is in use there? frequency? i would not be
  surprised if this are already 2.4GHz 36dbi high gain dishes what we
  see on picture. how many antennas can we mount there? i would expect
  2-3 panel antennas of about 25x25cm and 1-2 parabolic dishes of
  70x70cm.


answers to questions identified in richards documents:

* connection tonga online ISP to telone exchange:
  as the distance is limited, there is clear line of sight and the
  landline option does not sound very reliable we should go for
  wireless.
  to avoid interferances with with the 2.4GHz antennas i would
  suggest 5GHz band radios in bridge mode.
  if there is enough budget we should go for optical fiber to connect
  the antenna tonga online ISP rack to minimize chances of electrical
  damages by lightnig strikes. or at least use a lightning protection
  for cat5.

please comment / add to the proposals

lg
/r

ps: /me will be offline until monday night
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Peter Kuthan / AZFA
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« Reply #5 on: April 28 2008 »

Dear Roland and Others,

public IP addresses: will telone provide public IP addresses,
  what is the legal situation in .zw concering commercial ISPs and
  telecommunication laws? do we have to provide public IPs and/or
  retention of connection data?
  from a legal point of view, would it be viable to just have
  one public IP and do NAT of internal IPs for all customers?
  (which has some drawbacks, commercial customers won't like it as
  some services can't be run, eg. own mail server)

Domain registration is  done  on behalf of Potraz by a few selected
registrars. .co.zw is done by ZISPA, .org.zw is done by Telone, .ac.zw is
done by the University of Zimbabwe. Through these channels we will be able
to get IP addresses depending on the domain name to be registered . We are
limited to only a few in ZIM.

Suggestion. In the Schools LAN we could just do NAT, to minimize for start
the requirement for periodic payments for registered domain. Public IPs
could be obtained for commercial clients only.

Retention of connection Data?? Not clear to me, explain a bit.

The setup should provide for the ability to monitor the traffic of every
user. We should put in place a provision that enables the national
monitoring centre to connect to us and monitor and traffic to any of our
clients.



* telone tower
  which kind of digital radio is in use there? frequency? i would not be
  surprised if this are already 2.4GHz 36dbi high gain dishes what we
  see on picture. how many antennas can we mount there? i would expect
  2-3 panel antennas of about 25x25cm and 1-2 parabolic dishes of
  70x70cm.

The radio on the Tower connects to Kamativi, at frequency 7Ghz. There is one
other radio that connects a Chizarira camp at 400Mhz.

I have written to Econet to get information about the frequency of their
radio, since they are also one other cellular operator using the tower.

There is no policy on the number of devices we can mount, only as long as
space is available and interference is managed. At the moment there is
adequate space. We would however need to work out specifications of the
equipment we will put up so that a pricing can be worked out well in
advance. The process of getting the permit to hand equipment is very slow
here.

Request: Kindly provide more details and specifications of the radio
equipment we are likely to hang up so that we can start to apply for the
permit. Details should include, Dimensions, quantity, weight, how the
equipment is mounted, frequency
and quantity. Also sketches if these are available.
 We are also going to have some equipement housed in the telone Exchange,
Could I also have an indication of what?, Power consumption? Housing,
(cabinets etc).

I doesn't matter much if minor changes occur in the final setup. We will work
around them, it will be much easier.


Our telephone line went down, and in between I travelled to Harare on Duty
hence the long delay in responding.

I hope I find everyone well,

Regards,

Richard
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