Wi-Fi options for Civic Businesses?

The Phoenix Pub 2 June 2011 31

Hi, our Pub (The Phoenix) is located in the old Sydney building on East Row (due to the buildings age, approaching its century, our Telecom MDF box is located halfway up Krave Nightclub’s stairwell several doors down) and we get by with old telephone lines and a god awful slow adsl connection through Grapevine/Transact.

We want to have a blazing fast and reliable free wi-fi hotspot as we have a lot of students and tech savvy punters who would appreciate a non-3G connectivity option over a drink while they study/work.

What would the Riot-ACT readership recommend?


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31 Responses to Wi-Fi options for Civic Businesses?
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Grrrr Grrrr 11:51 am 09 Jun 11

You have 2 issues:

First, your choice of ISP. You’re on TransACT – are you on ADSL2+, or VDSL (“TransACT Cable”)? ADSL2+ is actually faster than VDSL from TransACT, which currently maxes out at 8mbit. Also, they’re expensive. I’d recommend ADSL2+ someone like iiNet or Internode who are known for good speeds at decent prices.

Secondly, your lines. If they’re an issue, then to some extent they’re fixable. If the copper from the MDF (demarcation point) in to your premises is poor or has bad joins, that can be fixed/replaced with newer. If the copper to the exchange is bad enough to be considered faulty, you can get it fixed.

You didn’t post the sync speeds, attenuation numbers for your line, or SNR (assuming you’re on ADSL.) Please do. Any troubleshooting beyond this really needs a cabler in to troubleshoot.

The Phoenix should have a run length from Civic exchange (in Braddon) of less than 1km, which should see you with speeds of 20mbit downstream on ADSL2+ – more than enough for multiple people casually surfing via your hotspot. Also, Wifi point-to-point isn’t going to offer real world performance that’s a lot faster (at least on the downstream, which is what matters.)

Alternatively, TransACT are rolling out faster speeds on VDSL2 to some places – perhaps you’ve got coverage? If you really want higher speeds than ADSL2+ can offer, be prepared to pay through the nose.

mpaska mpaska 11:11 am 09 Jun 11

If you’re interested in sponsorship, I’ll be open to have a chat. I’ve been wanting to provide hotspot to pubs/cafe throughout Canberra in exchange for some advertisement (i.e. landing page with privacy policy/terms on the wifi landing page, or something).

Even though we seem like an odd fit given we’re a Mac services company, we’re owned by a parent hosting company so we have ISP experience and can figure out a way to get a fast data pipe into the pub, and get all the equipment needed to give everyone a clean, fast experience.

Feel free to e-mail me: michael@macexperts.com.au if you’re interested.

puggy puggy 2:18 pm 03 Jun 11

Disinformation said :

The big thing to realise is that if nobody complains about interference, then nobody investigates. …They don’t give a rats arse about the welder next door who might overwhelm your home wireless network connection.

Don’t be so cynical! I know that complaints about TV recpetion are dealt with and problems traced down to weird things like chains across electric fences for example. But yes, if nobody complans, no one will do anything. That said, if someone starts having issues with reception just after they see a new directional-ish antenna outside, they might have a whinge for the sake of it.

Disinformation Disinformation 1:04 pm 03 Jun 11

puggy said :

You need to be careful. And don’t think that you won’t get caught. If they can trace a problem with inteference to a mobile phone tower to a malfunctioning refrigerator thermostat in a fast food joint, they can trace you blasting away quite easily.

It’s not so straightforward as you’d have people believe when it comes to finding inteference. Omnidirectional radiation is easily detected and located. Directional transmissions are a different animal entirely. If you can’t intercept the beam, you’ll not get much to work with. 2.4GHz signals are rather bouncy which ads to the fun. Even the industry DF devices are fallible.
The ISM band is full of fantastic interference causing devices, which is why it’s set aside for use for (Supposedly) Industrial, Scientific and Medical purposes.. (Not that anyone with a brain would want to use it for medical purposes when escaping RF from your microwave can overwhelm a wide frequency band with random noise).
The big thing to realise is that if nobody complains about interference, then nobody investigates. Radio Inspectors are paid to enforce spectrum management for those people who have PAID for the use of the frequency like Telecommunications providers. They don’t give a rats arse about the welder next door who might overwhelm your home wireless network connection.

Keijidosha Keijidosha 12:27 pm 03 Jun 11

puggy said :

Yep, that existing infrastructure won’t do. You need a big fat pipe to your door and if it can’t be fibre, someone will have to put a point-to-point microwave link to somewhere that does have a big fat pipe. Possible, but also probably not cheap.

Transact provide a point-to-point microwave link for a reasonable fee. I have friends on a RIM, and this was the only way they could get a decent internet connection. In fact the connection is much faster than my ADSL2 and the latency is remarkably good.

Skidbladnir Skidbladnir 12:21 pm 03 Jun 11

Wander around the CBD with any kind of reasonable wi-fi spectrum analysis tool, the sheer number of overlapping wifi channels (unsecured too!) and 3G usage is starting to grind.

Ate Ate 12:19 pm 03 Jun 11

Jivrashia said :

el said :

How far away are you from the exchange? Couldn’t be that far, and that’s generally the limiting factor for ADSL2.

If I’m not mistaken, OP should be connected to the Civic Exchange in Mort St. That’s only 800m away, which means he should be able to get a blazing ADSL2 speed of about 20Mbps.

Of course, provided there are DLSAM ports available in the exchange. The last time I checked (3 years ago) it was pretty much full.

Great site to check out expected ADSL2 speeds: http://www.adsl2exchanges.com.au/viewexchange.php?Exchange=CVIC&AddressLookupID=651985&Verify=de48ec83b3ae745ae2e1584acd98b400

Jivrashia Jivrashia 11:36 am 03 Jun 11

el said :

How far away are you from the exchange? Couldn’t be that far, and that’s generally the limiting factor for ADSL2.

If I’m not mistaken, OP should be connected to the Civic Exchange in Mort St. That’s only 800m away, which means he should be able to get a blazing ADSL2 speed of about 20Mbps.

Of course, provided there are DLSAM ports available in the exchange. The last time I checked (3 years ago) it was pretty much full.

fgzk fgzk 11:27 am 03 Jun 11

johnboy said :

Thoughts on something like this?

http://www.gnswireless.com/GNS1403.htm

Its a good short range 2.4ghz panel antenna. The main problem you are going to have is from interference. In the CBD you should consult a professional or be prepared to waste money and time. You could do a wifi survey of the premises, to get an idea of coverage and other wifi systems. You can download open source /free tools and use a laptop. Metageek.net “Inssider” is free and simple. .Surveying a “link” is a little more complicated. Then you can start shopping.

Spend the money with a pro who offers a good maintenance plan. +1 Internode via Telstra.

ConanOfCooma ConanOfCooma 10:44 am 03 Jun 11

I would reccommend consulting a telecommunications company that specialise in upgrading connections!

johnboy johnboy 9:39 am 03 Jun 11

Thoughts on something like this?

http://www.gnswireless.com/GNS1403.htm

puggy puggy 9:04 am 03 Jun 11

Disinformation said :

You can get some more if you lie about your country of location, just don’t try Japan

Not if you don’t want to risk violating the radiocommunications class licence under which consumer devices operate.

johnboy said :

Actually you don’t need microwave links, a good solid pairing of directional antenae running straight wifi should let you share with a like-minded business.

Again, there are emitted power limits for WiFi-type devices and putting a directional anetnna on the end may violate that. You need to be careful. And don’t think that you won’t get caught. If they can trace a problem with inteference to a mobile phone tower to a malfunctioning refrigerator thermostat in a fast food joint, they can trace you blasting away quite easily.

Anyway, directional antennas at 2.4 or 5.8GHz technically is a point-to-point microwave link!

M0les M0les 12:51 am 03 Jun 11

Get you body corporate to wire-up metro-ethernet to the whole complex and then put a WiFi AP on that.

All wireless back haul options (3G, sat, canopy) will have varyingly bad latency and reliability problems. Wires or fibres are needed for a good connection.

creative_canberran creative_canberran 10:43 pm 02 Jun 11

johnboy said :

I think the issue is getting a telco/ISP stack that can service the challenging infrastructure.

On other hand cheaper and better 3g data plans are coming on at such a pace I’m not sure if wireless hotspots are going to figure in the future.

That’s certainly true, but the flip side of that is signal density becomes the problem for 3G networks. It’s bad in the Sydney and Melbourne CBDs and just in the past year I’ve noticed it increasingly in Canberra. On the other hand, WiFi is built from the ground up for high density, simultaneous users. Even in a confined space like a theatre, it takes hundreds of users to overload a WiFi network.

To the original poster, something like this may be the solution: http://www.telstrabusiness.com/business/portal/online/site/productsservices/wirelessgateways.290010

FactMan FactMan 9:37 pm 02 Jun 11

Internode provide hotspots for free in many places, you can contact the team responsible for them at hotspot@internode.com.au

tommy tommy 7:42 pm 02 Jun 11

If your phone lines are noisy or drop out – you should log a fault with your provider if they fix the voice they’ll fix ADSL too. Especially if your ADSL service is on one of the voice lines. Also remove any alarm systems, foxtel upload, fax lines etc from the voice side of the ADSL service (or install a central line splitter – the little match box filters they give you aren’t that good).

Grapevine probably isn’t the best choice for ADSL either – they probably have slow links into the internet. You may be better off getting a bundled Telstra ADSL/Voice service – or a niche provider like Internode.

If you are responsible for the cabling between the MDF and your premise – see if you can get it replaced with data grade copper cabling.

el el 7:30 pm 02 Jun 11

How far away are you from the exchange? Couldn’t be that far, and that’s generally the limiting factor for ADSL2. Contact Internode or iinet for some advice.

random random 4:46 pm 02 Jun 11

I get really awful 3G reception at the Phoenix so would be thrilled at even slow wi-fi.

Disinformation Disinformation 4:45 pm 02 Jun 11

I’d recommend looking at your pipe to get data into the facility. If you’ve got crap DSL feeds now, nothing is likely to help unless you want to run brand new copper from the exchange. Good luck with that. Most ADSL issues are not ISP based. If your copper from your modem to your exchange is crap, there is nothing you can do about it. Wireless data services basically suck compared to dedicated bandwidth with wires. It’s great as the last hop, but you’d want to get decent capability to your access points. If you can get good data to them, I’d advise getting three 802.11b/g (a if possible too) access points and locking them to channels 1, 6 and 12. (You can get some more if you lie about your country of location, just don’t try Japan) That will take care of the bandwidth to the punters. Set your SSID’s to Pheonix1, 2 and 3 so that the punters with a brain can loadshare.

Make sure that you’ve got some sort of management package with similar to McDonalds so that nobody leeches bandwidth with bitorrents and kiddy porn. Make sure that your accesspoints are also controlled by a business hours timer switch. I’d actually recommend at this point that you see what other businesses with wifi have done. There’s more to just giving data to people for free involved. Once you sort the issue of getting decent bandwidth to the premises, everything else should be straighforward.

johnboy johnboy 4:33 pm 02 Jun 11

Now that I think about it RiotACT is a civic business with a short line of sight to the phoenix…

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