From SOWNWiki
Jump to: navigation, search

Zepler node consists of two separate nodes, each with their own network connection and antenna.

This was done so that one node can be removed to be rebuilt without affecting the other.

Location Roof of Zepler Building
Lat/Long 50° 56' 14", -1° 23' 52"
Hardware APU1C Mini ITX board with 802.11ac and 802.11n Wi-Fi cards and two USB SDRs
Latest Update Permanent deployment 19/09/2017
DNS address zepler.sown.org.uk
IPv4 address
IPv6 address 2001:630:d0:f700::200
MAC address 00:0d:b9:33:16:30


Zepler Node, located atop of Zepler building, is currently SOWN's only Campus Node. It has both 802.11n and 802.11ac connectivity for onsite access to the SOWN network and onwards onto the University network. A more detailed description can be found on the 802.11ac SOWN Zepler project page.

Currently there is no wireless coverage from this node as testing is required to ensure the wireless cards do not interfere with existing University access points. Once this testing has been carried out the node should provide a decent amount of coverage across the north of Highfield campus on 2.4GHz and 5.8GHz Wi-Fi frequencies. The node will use 802.1x authentication to authenticate users (much like Eduroam) but will use its own SOWNroam SSID to avoid conflicts with existing eduroam access points on campus.

As well as providing Wi-Fi coverage the new SOWN-Zepler deployment has two USB SDRs that can receive (but not transmit) signals in a wide range of Amateur Radio bands. A Discone antenna has been erected on a mast to allow these signals to be received as strongly as possible. These signals can be viewed/heard through the Zepler WebSDR on Sown-data1.

Components List

Latest Deployment Report 19/09/2017

See report on SUWS website.

Previous Deployments

Second Deployment (January 2008 - November 2016)

Although the second deployment lasted quite sometime the last few years it was just a connected base station, which did not offer an Wi-Fi Internet access.

Node Info

Initially just:

Location Roof of Zepler Building, Highfield Campus
Lat/Long 50.937415, -1.39775
Hardware Wrap PC Engines WRAP with an 802.11a only XR5

Then later with 802.11b Wi-Fi as well. Sometime later 802.11a was disconnected.

Deployment Report 29/1/2008

As the pole and aerial from the last deployment of 802.11b node was already on the roof only the 802.11a aerial and pole needed to be erected. This task was completed first. Next the Ethernet cable was threaded down and connected in the level 4 server room. Power for both nodes was connected using POEs.

Testing of the 802.11b was successful on the roof but the signal strength on the ground was too weak for a stable connection. Therefore the aerial and pole were taken down so that the aerial could be tested. It was determined that the power output of the Meraki Mini was too small (63mW) and it was decided that we should purchase a wireless card that could better power the aerial, an Engenius NMP-8602+ 400mW a/b/g miniPCI Card. Once this card has arrived we will attempt to redeploy the 802.11b node.

Testing of the 802.11a was carried out at approximate distance of 200 metres where it was possible to get a data rate of 36Mb/s. Testing at greater distance will be carried out over the next couple of weeks.

Deployment Report 8/4/2008

The pole and aerial for the 802.11b node was erected successfully. The PCMCIA card was installed into the Wrap PC Engines WRAP board and configuration was attempted. However, this proved not to work, which we discovered was due to bent pins in the PCMCIA connection.

A solution was found which allowed us to deploy 802.11b, although this has not yet been tested.

We were later able to solve the bent pins using some specialist tools and expertise from helpdesk. We believe that the problem with the PCMCIA card is now a software issue, which we need to investigate further.

Further testing 18/4/2008

As stated above, the problems in deployment were thought to be software. Knowing that the PCMCIA cards work and are currently deployed on SUSU node, we flashed Zepler node with a copy of that image (Voyage Linux).

Unfortunately after some playing, it was decided that there is a hardware failure in the PCMCIA bus of that board, as on boot with one of the cards installed none of the network devices came up.The system log indicated that the system had failed to access the primary firmware on the wireless card. The other card simply caused the board to continuously recycle at the same point on boot up.

On investigation, the net4511 board is still available from Soekris Engineering However, a more permanent solution is required (working around the 63mw Atheros software limit issue). (Note: some of the Soekris hardware uses undocumented non-standard specifications that have caused SOWN significant difficulties)

Original Deployment (October 2002 - December 2006)

Node Info

Node Name Zepler Node
Location Roof of Zepler Building, Highfield Campus
Lat/Long 50.937415, -1.39775
Hardware [Soekris net4511] Wiki page
 one Mini-PCI Atheros CM9 for 802.11a, 
 one Cardbus Prism for 802.11b

The node was taken down in December of 2007 due to a failed network card. The board is currently in SOWN SUSU.

Facts about "ZeplerNode"
Coordinates50° 56' 14", -1° 23' 52"Latitude: 50.937326
Longitude: -1.397719
Sowndnszepler.sown.org.uk +
Sownipv410.13.0.200 +
Sownipv62001:630:d0:f700::200 +
Sownmac00:0d:b9:33:16:30 +