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Net access in the middle of nowhere? - Mac Networking

Right-oh, I've been asked to perform a minor miracle here. A good friend of mine is about to take his iBook, a DV-cam and a rather spiffo solar power system (thanks to the Rainbow Electric Company of Nimbin) into the wilderness in an attempt to chronicle the destruction of the Tarkine forest in Tasmania (see www.tarkine.org). What he wants to be able to do is to upload his edit movies to his website from the middle of the activist's base-camp in the Tarkine, which is hundreds of kilometers away from the nearest cel-phone tower. The question is: what forms of ...

  1. #1

    Default Net access in the middle of nowhere?

    Right-oh, I've been asked to perform a minor miracle here.

    A good friend of mine is about to take his iBook, a DV-cam and a rather
    spiffo solar power system (thanks to the Rainbow Electric Company of
    Nimbin) into the wilderness in an attempt to chronicle the destruction
    of the Tarkine forest in Tasmania (see www.tarkine.org).

    What he wants to be able to do is to upload his edit movies to his
    website from the middle of the activist's base-camp in the Tarkine,
    which is hundreds of kilometers away from the nearest cel-phone tower.

    The question is: what forms of amateur radio communications equipment
    and software will he require to give this remote Macintosh access to the
    internet, and regularly?


    Geoffrey

    (remove EXCESS BAGGAGE to reply via mail)
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    Geoffrey Guest

  2. #2

    Default Re: Net access in the middle of nowhere?

    You may want to check into satellite phones / modems.
    I believe this Mount Everest tourist group used something like that...
    No personal experience, just hear-say... Sorry!
    -j

    "Geoffrey" <com> wrote in message
    news:1g9f4qk.1ip4rpmhlpn5sN[192.168.0.170]... 


    John Guest

  3. #3

    Default Re: Net access in the middle of nowhere?

    In article <1g9f4qk.1ip4rpmhlpn5sN[192.168.0.170]>, Geoffrey
    <com> wrote:
     
     

    I think you need to manage his expectations. Editable DV is 25Mbits/sec.
    On GSM circuit switched, (10Kbits/sec) even if you could see a base
    station, it would take 2500 seconds to send one second of footage.
    That's 105 days per DV tape. Even if he can edit on site and crush his
    material to 100Kbits/sec (postage stamp size Sorensen y that no one
    will want to loook at), he is still looking at 10 seconds per second to
    upload that. 

    High bandwidth amateur radio is an oxymoron.
    I found this set of links with Google
    http://www.kluft.com/~ikluft/ham/

    56Kbit/sec appears to be state of the art. 1200 bit/sec is normal for
    amateur packet radio.

    If you can get a 2 meter dish on site, you would probably be better off
    with a commercial satellite ISP. I have no idea whether there is a
    service that beams over Tassie. (That's what newsmen in troublespots
    use, although they fall back to 'satellite phone' - about 250kBit/sec
    for live feeds at outrageous cost per minute plus a very expensive
    prtable base station)

    Another way would be a mesh of 802.11 bases with high gain "cantennas",
    although you would be up for about $500/Km depending on terrain.

    All things considered, a mate with a set of high speed sneakers offers
    the best bandwidth for the money. A daypack with 100 DV tapes, ten
    hours from home is 250Mbits/sec. ;-)

    --
    Swen has got to me. I thought I would be the last on earth to mangle my e-mail
    address. fsnospam$elliott$$
    Elliott Guest

  4. #4

    Default Re: Net access in the middle of nowhere?

    Elliott Roper <co.uk> wrote:
     
    >
    > I think you need to manage his expectations. Editable DV is 25Mbits/sec.[/ref]
     

    He is aiming at web-friendly media, and doesn't really care how long it
    takes to upload a minute's worth of footage every few days.
     [/ref]
     

    Slow doesn't matter. Justifiably affordable and ruggedness, is :)
     

    There is, but it is costly.

    There's sat-based ISPs covering Tas, but they require a land-line for
    the uplink. I don't think there's a bi-di satlink available there that
    doesn't cost the earth.

    Remember we're dealing with volunteer activist types living off
    donations and whatever they can bring with then :)
     

    Ha! Try one every kilometer, with the risk of them being removed by
    woodchippers hell bent on destroying the Tarkine :P
     

    I like it :P

    So, perhaps I should re-post my enquiry to the ham radio groups, then?


    Geoffrey

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    Geoffrey Guest

  5. #5

    Default Re: Net access in the middle of nowhere?

    com (Geoffrey) writes:
     

    I think there is insufficient information to answer the question, and I
    think you are unlikely to get an answer in a Mac newsgroup.

    If there are not repeaters between your friend and the next ham,
    VHF/UHF/SHF frequencies (802.11 uses SHF, I think; if not, it's at the high
    end of UHF), he will not have the range to reach hundreds of kilometers
    without some awfully high antennas and a few freak strokes of luck.
    Generally, that range requires HF. In the US, HF use requires a General or
    better license, which not all amateurs have. Is your friend a ham, and is
    he licensed to use HF?

    I'm sorry to say I didn't pay close attention to what country your friend
    will be in. My suggestion is to contact the equivalent of the American
    Amateur Radio Relay League for assistance. Hams often use digital
    communications on HF (RTTY, various versions of PSK, and so on), so it can
    be done, although I have no idea how well.

    The trick is to make it appealing to the hams, which I think will be fairly
    easy. Using ham and streaming video will likely appeal to the geeks, and
    the challenge will appeal to the old timers who are looking for something
    more interesting than rag chewing after all these years. This has
    interesting PR for everyone involved, and I think this will be a very nice
    publicity event for all concerned: the solar kit makers, Apple, amateur
    radio, the park.

    If you don't know who the national amateur radio group is in that country,
    drop me an email (see below for my real email), and I'll find out for
    you. I hope your friend has some time to get all this set up? People have
    to know what's coming, schedules, frequencies, and so on. If he's not a ham
    authorized to use HF, that's an issue that needs to be worked out for the
    distance involved. It may be that the hams know some tricks to get that
    kind of distance from VHF/UHF/SHF -- maybe earth-moon-earth bounce. :->

    --
    Philip Stripling | email to the replyto address is presumed
    Legal Assistance on the Web | spam and read later. email to philip
    http://www.PhilipStripling.com/ | my domain is read daily.
    Phil Guest

  6. #6

    Default Re: Net access in the middle of nowhere?

    In article <1g9fngm.77z6a01av95x0N[192.168.0.170]>, Geoffrey
    <com> wrote:
     
     
    >
    > There is, but it is costly.
    >
    > There's sat-based ISPs covering Tas, but they require a land-line for
    > the uplink. I don't think there's a bi-di satlink available there that
    > doesn't cost the earth.[/ref]

    You might want to check there is no 2-way sat. I read a story recently
    about a software developer working from a 4wd in the outback. 
    >
    > Ha! Try one every kilometer, with the risk of them being removed by
    > woodchippers hell bent on destroying the Tarkine :P[/ref]

    Yep, I figured they might chop your antenna masts down. 
    >
    > I like it :P
    >
    > So, perhaps I should re-post my enquiry to the ham radio groups, then?
    >[/ref]
    It is worth a try. Did you chase down many of those packet radio links?

    You might find some like-minded ham radio folk who could point you in
    the right direction.

    A practical set-up might be a combination of sneakernet and a slow
    packet link for immediacy and still pictures.

    ps, When I was a kid it was all about Lake Pedder. sigh!

    --
    Swen has got to me. I thought I would be the last on earth to mangle my e-mail
    address. fsnospam$elliott$$
    Elliott Guest

  7. #7

    Default Re: Net access in the middle of nowhere?

    Phil Stripling <zzn.com> wrote:
     [/ref]
     

    Australia - specifically, Tasmania's north-west.
     

    Several hundred kilometers to the nearest mass of civilisation - the
    Tarkine forest is Tasmania's largest single remaining old-growth forest,
    which is why it is trying to be protected. Not only have scientists
    discovered the world's oldest living tree, but the botanical contingent
    of the activist camp have identified almost a dozen new species of flora
    and insect life in the Tarkine.

    Visit http://www.tarkine.org for more information.

    The logging companies have broken federal and UN injunctions and have
    begun a drastic slash-and-burn campaign to obliterate the Tarkine, not
    because they can use any of the wood from the forest, but as an utter
    act of defiance against the green movement. They're uprooting all
    vegetation, pushing it into piles and burning it, then dousing the
    exposed soil with the toxin 10-80 from the air to destroy all life
    (including microbial) to a depth of 1.5 metres.

    They're doing this to spite the greenies, because the logging firms know
    that if they sat on their haunches and followed due process, they will
    lose. They've moved in in force and are trying to clearfell as much
    terrain as possible before being ordered out by the government, who will
    then look at the cleared land and then get them to replace the trees,
    which the logging companies will do but with their *own* strains of
    pine.
     

    No, he's just a geek-friendly media-centric activist with not a lot of
    money, and bi-di satellite is completely out of the budget range, hence
    the request for other forms. We are just looking for the cheapest method
    of being able to access the internet from the middle of the Tarkine
    forest that does not entail line of sight or 'repeaters'.

    There is very little worth in trying to find corporate sponshorship for
    this project within Australia, and asking Apple Australia is a complete
    waste of time as the fools in Frenchs Forest couldn't market their way
    out of a paper bag.

    Sneakernet is not an option, because of the high security presence --
    already five activists have been seriously injured by the hired goons
    either entering or leaving the area of the Tarkine where the logging
    companies are at work. It is rapidly changing from just some tree-loving
    hippies versus the loggers, this is turning into a war-ground.


    Geoffrey

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  8. #8

    Default Re: Net access in the middle of nowhere?

    In article <1g9f4qk.1ip4rpmhlpn5sN[192.168.0.170]>,
    com (Geoffrey) wrote:
     

    Is your friend is already a licensed Amateur Radio operator (US or
    Australian)? If not there's the matter of getting that taken care of.
    The operative words are _Access to the Internet_, and, _Regularly_.
    While there are a small number of terrestrial packet radio-internet
    gateways in Australia, most of the Amateur satelllites are simple voice
    repeaters or low-speed AX.25 store and forward packet data. The
    satellites also require automatic tracking antennas as they are not
    geosynchronous. Doppler shift compensation also has to be used in the
    transciever.
    As others have suggested, do float your trial balloon on the
    rec.radio.amateur newsgroups. For Amateur Satellite info,
    go to http://www.amsat.org
    Wireless Institute of Australia
    http://www.wia.org.au

    As an Amateur Radio operator and a video editor and sometime engineer,
    I truly don't think Amateur Radio is at all the appropriate tool to
    consider for transport for this application. If he needs regular,
    reliable access at video data rates, then a commercial service provider
    and a portable uplink is probably the only feasible and practical way to
    achieve the desired result. Or daily flights out to the nearest large
    city with teleport facilities.
    --
    Chuck Reti
    WV8A
    Detroit MI
    --
    =P
    Chuck Guest

  9. #9

    Default Re: Net access in the middle of nowhere?

    Geoffrey wrote:
     

    Sounds like you need AK-47s, not videophones. It's something
    even those hereditary criminals and inbreds will understand.
    George Guest

  10. #10

    Default Re: Net access in the middle of nowhere?

    Thanks to all the civil minded (and humourous) people who've responded
    to this thread. It does appear that sat-phone (or if we're lucky, bi-di
    satellite like the pres journo's use) is the best option, but the cost
    is intense, so we're going to do the rounds of sympathetic media figures
    (such as barrister and musician Peter Garrett) who are already involved
    with the Tarkine to see if they will help in our quest for on the spot
    media coverage.

    I tried to ask for help in the amateur radio newsgroups but almost all
    the answers I got were of the "crawl back under your rock you f!'n
    greenie" variety. Sigh.


    Geoffrey

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