Pilot Installation at Barrio Logan Mercado site
Today some SoCalFreeNet volunteers went to the Mercado site in Barrio Logan. We've been there several times before at the request of the MAAC project to explore providing free wireless internet access to their residents and the surrounding community.
Today, our goal was to get some actual real-world equipment onto a rooftop, and ideally leave with one building online. We planned to do this by:
- Put an 802.11b AP on a rooftop and measure coverage as much as possible without actually getting inside (unless a resident happened to be around to let us in).
- Determine if an 802.11a backhaul link would work, despite not quite line of sight due to some and intervening trees. For this, we picked the furthestmost rooftop.
- Try to hook the link and AP into the existing DSL connection in the main office so people could start using it.
We managed to achieve our first goal, despite a few obstacles along the way (e.g. it initially looked like we wouldn't be able to get power to the rooftop). And, best of all, we discovered that, unlike easlier site surveys, it seems that we might be able to cover four buildings per AP, instead of the 1-2 buildings we'd estimated. We'll know for sure after we've had a chance to get inside and/or get some residents online.
We're going to go back tomorrow to finish goals 2 and 3. We did make good progress on 3, as it appears we can pull the signal off an existing 802.11b wireless AP in the office using one of our standard client kits.