[MLB-WIRELESS] Last Meeting ReCap

mw at freenet.net.au mw at freenet.net.au
Sat Oct 11 20:51:13 EST 2008

Hi Guys,

Just wanted to follow up with a couple of things from the meeting yesterday
- was great to meet a bunch of new folks with similar interests, and I'll
certainly be coming along again from time to time.

One special thanks to the fellow (sorry, I don't remember your name) who
asked about PoE standards - that was something new to me (I always like to
learn new stuff! ;-) 

Anyhow, there was a question about the Mikrotik routerboards that I brought
along as a bit of a talking point, as to whether they confirm to any PoE
standard.  Now, before yesterday, I have to admit that I never really
thought about any PoE standards other than just "pump 48 volts over the
spare pairs in a cat5 cable" ;-)  So I couldn't say whether those boards
conform to any standard at all.

OK, so I've done my homework as promised, and I can say that all Mikrotk
routerboards support 802.3af which is apparently the new standard that
extends the old 802.3-2005 with a higher power transmission provision.

A second thing that I wanted to follow up on was a comment something like
"we need nagios" - cool.  I've worked with nagios before, and that is
something that sounds like a good project to get involved in.  I reckon it
would be an excellent idea to extend the existing node maps on the MW web
site to show the current status of nodes in REAL TIME - so that if an active
node goes offline, the map shows it as a red marker - green for good, and
yellow for, say, more than 30% ping packet loss.

This would be a fantastic way to get an accurate indication of exactly what
kind of active infrastruture is out there.  One thing to consider though, is
how to deal with those networks (umm, like geelong for example) that are not
necessarily connected to the MW core as such, so how to determine the
current state of those?

Possible Solution:  There has apparently been some debate over the value of
VPN tunnels over the internet.  Perhaps it does defeat the purpose of
building a wireless network if the 'hard' links are simply done via a
landline link, but they are a very good way to monitor remote and disparate
network segments when there is no other diretc link to the MW core network.

Any comments?

One question I have to begin with:  Is there any such thing as a MW core
node at the moment?  Is there somewhere to put a nagios server there, or
somewhere else?

If it helps, I have some spare space in my geelong datacentre that I'd be
happy to put up as a home for that kind of server.  In fact I'm planning to
buy a new server soon that will run a bunch of virtual hosts, and I'll be
happy to set aside a half gig of ram and maybe a hundred gig of disk for a
nagios server for that job.

Also, I already run a vpn server that terminates a couple of hundred pptp
links that I use for our remote hotspot support services, and I reckon that
another dozen MW tunnels won't make a great deal of difference...

I've got a few other ideas that I reckon would be cool to work on too, like
bringing DNS to the MW network, and other services (like nagios controls
etc) but that's probably worth keeping for sometime later.

Ok, now what about that "grand announcement"?  I won't try to steal anyone's
limelight - so let's have it in writing man! ;-)

Looking forward to some comments :)


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