So what have I been doing for the last four weeks?
I've been in contact with senior British Telecom folks about broadband here in Marykirk. Their reaction - a deadlock letter and absolutely no commitment to upgrade our long-overdue-for-an-upgrade exchange. Which has driven me to set up a Wireless Internet Service Provider.
You can find it here.
Thanks to the kindness and patience of some local folks, we now have a WISP network, based on Ubiquiti Nanostation M5 devices, stretching from the twinking lights of Montrose (where they have decent internet) right to Marykirk (where we dont).
I now know how to write a 'Worst Practices' session for WISP's. I think its been a steep learning curve for both myself and Euan, but we reached the stage yesterday where I worked from home, using the new faster links.
So how hard is it to do.
- Find a source and target site with clear line of site. And/Or intermediate sites. Thanks to the local geography here, we have TWO intermediate sites. Each site should have access to power, and be secure.
- Go to MSDIST and buy two or more Ubiquiti Nanostation M5 devices. They're great units, and I've received great support from them.
- Stick in some sort of Customer Premises Equipment (CPE). Something like an Apple Airport Express is costly, but is very reliable.
- Stick them on a TV pole, plug them in and spend 10-15 minutes configuring them
- Sit back and enjoy a 300mb/s bidirectional link
I set up a point-to-point link 5 or 6 years ago, and had to fiddle around with discrete units, antenna cables, etc. Far far more difficult.
Would I recommend it? Yes. It's been a blast, and soon we'll roll it out to other folks in the Mearns, once we're happy with the reliability of the links.