The Southampton Open Wireless Network

What is SOWN?

SOWN (the Southampton Open Wireless Network) is a volunteer project based in Southampton (UK) investigating Wi-Fi technologies. It was originally formed back in 2001 by a collection of mainly Electronics and Computer Science (ECS) students at the University of Southampton who wanted to deploy and provide free-to-use Internet access through what was at the time very new Wi-Fi technology.

In subsequent years the goals of SOWN have evolved as Wi-Fi as well as mobile data technology have increased in speed and coverage. At present the SOWN project has four main objectives:

  1. Provide opportunities for students to learn through real-world experience about Wi-Fi and more broadly IP networking technologies.
  2. Advise and assist the University of Southampton's IT support (iSolutions) as well as the wider community in deploying, managing and maintaining Wi-Fi and associated systems.
  3. Build and deploy interesting Wi-Fi based projects.
  4. Maintain a distributed Community Area Network (CAN) using bespoke Wi-Fi access points that provide Eduroam access.

Presently SOWN is administered as part of the Southampton University Wireless Society (SUWS) which is also runs Amateur Radio activities. Look at our wiki to find out more about SOWN and read our FAQ.

Where is SOWN network?

Enlarge Map

How do I connect to SOWN network?

Unfortunately, we can currently only offer Internet access on our access points to staff and students from institutions who are part of the eduroam, "the secure, world-wide roaming access service developed for the international research and education community." We are working on once again being able to provide community (@sown.org.uk) accounts, allowing anyone to sign up and then connect to the Internet through our access points using a new secondary network name (SSID).

How can I get involved with SOWN?

As a first port of call you can either send us a email via our contact us form or join our IRC channel: #sown on irc.sown.org.uk. Look at our wiki to find out more about how to connect to our IRC channel as well as all the activities we get up to.

SOWN hold fortnightly meetings and are looking for more people to become involved so please come and join the fun!

We also hold regular workshops that give the opportunity for everyone to get together and play with the network and wireless kit.

How can I help expand the coverage of SOWN network?

You can request to host a SOWN[at]HOME node (a bespoke Wi-Fi access point) by filling in a node request. Please be aware that nodes can only be requested by staff/students of the University of Southampton. Due to the University's regulations, students in halls are not permitted to host nodes.

If you already host a node, you can manage its settings through the public node admin system. Using your SOWN admin account. If you have forgotten your SOWN account password, go here to reset it.

Is there any more information available?

Yes, our wiki contains lots of technical information about our network, as well as a FAQ page. You can also view our network topology.

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