Difference between revisions of "What Is SOWN"

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SOWN (Southampton Open Wireless Network) is a student led project supported by the [http://www.ecs.southampton.ac.uk/ University of Southampton School of Electronics and Computer Science]. An offshoot of the Southampton University Wireless Society (SUWS), SOWN aims to be a research and development group for wireless technology. It also aspires to provide community based wireless coverage for the city of Southampton.
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'''SOWN (Southampton Open Wireless Network)''' is a student led project supported by [http://www.ecs.soton.ac.uk/ Electronics & Computer Science (ECS)] at the [http://www.soton.ac.uk/ University of Southampton]. It is also an offshoot of the [http://www.suws.org.uk/ Southampton University Wireless Society (SUWS)].
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SOWN aims to provide and develop an infrastructure for both learning and research into networking and wireless technologies. It also aspires to provide community-based wireless coverage for the city of Southampton.
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==Introduction==
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SOWN's primary aspiration of providing community-based wireless coverage for the city of Southampton is enabled through a wide ranging set of technologies. These broadly breakdown into four separate areas, each of which is discussed in the following four presentations:
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* [https://www.suws.org.uk/wiki/images/d/de/Building_distributed_networks_using_VPNs_2017.ppt Building Distributed Networks using VPNs]
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** [https://www.suws.org.uk/wiki/images/8/8d/Building_distributed_networks_using_VPNs.ppt Old 2016 presentation]
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* [https://www.suws.org.uk/wiki/images/b/b7/2016_11_17_FWEmbedded_Notes.pdf Firmware Development for Embedded Devices]
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* [https://www.suws.org.uk/wiki/images/6/68/Mechanisms_for_distributed_global_authentication.ppt Mechanisms for Global Distributed Authentication]
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* [https://www.suws.org.uk/wiki/images/c/c2/Administering_the_sown_network.ppt Administering the SOWN Network]
  
  
 
==Development==
 
==Development==
Much of our work goes into developing various wireless technologies, testing hardware and software and deploying infrastructure in the form of wireless access points arround the city. We also work on our wired infrastructure, as we have several core servers dedicated to providing the various services to allow the network to work.
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SOWN has been under deployment since 2001.  Over the years it has evolved from an [http://www.sown.org.uk/docpot/topology/Old-SOWN-Topology.pdf original envisaged] [https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mesh_networking Mesh network] to a more distributed network approach since 2007, as described in the first presentation above.
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Much of our work goes into developing various wireless technologies, testing hardware and software and deploying infrastructure in the form of wireless access points around the city. We also work on our wired infrastructure, as we have a number of core servers dedicated to providing the various services to allow the network to work.  As can bee seen in [http://www.sown.org.uk/topology/ our network topology].  
  
  
 
==Nodes and access==
 
==Nodes and access==
Our wireless coverage is executed in two ways. Around campus there are several wireless nodes that people can connect to. These are directly connected to the University's network, so students can access the internet at high speed.  
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Currently. SOWN only provides wireless coverage (with Internet access) through its [[SOWN(at)HOME Node|SOWN[at]HOME nodes]]. These give authenticated access to the node hosts Internet connection (i.e. ADSL, Cable, etc.) and the SOWN network. The goal is to have enough of these nodes deployed to provide widespread wireless coverage in areas of Southampton most frequented by students.
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Previously, we have provided wireless coverage around the University of Southampton Highfield campus, through several [[CampusNodes|Campus Nodes]].  We currently only have one campus node, [[ZeplerNode]]. This was deployed in September 2017 with its [[802.11ac SOWN Zepler|new hardware]].  I will provide wireless coverage using both [[802.11ac]] and [[802.11n]] Wi-Fi protocols to allow staff and students to get Internet access for outside areas of campus that are not well covered.  However, this is not yet operational.  This campus node is also a receiver for [https://www.suws.org.uk/wp/amateur-radio/ Amateur Radio] frequencies using a couple of USB [https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Software-defined_radio Software Defined Radios (SDRs)].
  
In areas not covered by the campus nodes, we have nodes in student's houses. These [[HomeNode|SOWN@home nodes]] give authenticated access to the student's ADSL and the SOWN network. The idea is to have sufficient nodes deployed so that there is wireless coverage in most parts of Southampton. In addition, we continue to develop more powerful campus nodes and long-range transmitters so that we can offer 'back-link' connections to remote sites.
 
  
==What are these SOWN@home nodes and who can use them?==
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==What are these SOWN[at]HOME nodes and who can use them?==
 
''Specific instructions on how to get on the network can be found on our [[Connect|How to Connect]] page.''
 
''Specific instructions on how to get on the network can be found on our [[Connect|How to Connect]] page.''
  
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SOWN[at]HOME nodes are basically just wireless access points, often referred to as Wi-Fi hotspots. They offer authenticated use of the host's Internet connection.  We have designed them to be Plug'n'Play devices. which are centrally managed and maintained. They allow their hosts to set the maximum usage of their Internet connection in a rolling 30-day period, to prevent excessive usage.
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Authentication is handled using [[802.1X]] technology.  All requests are sent to SOWN's [https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/RADIUS] server, which is peered with the UK's Eduroam peering service that then distributes requests to individual institutions, such as the University of Southampton, as described in the [https://www.suws.org.uk/wiki/images/6/68/Mechanisms_for_distributed_global_authentication.ppt Mechanisms for Global distributed authentication] presentation.  This allows any user with an account for an institution that is part of [[Eduroam]] to gain Internet access.
  
SOWN@home nodes are basically Wireless Access Points or Hotspots. They offer authenticated use of the host's internet connection. We have designed them to be Plug'n'Play devices which are all centrally managed and maintained. They all have congestion control and upload bandwidth throttling, so hosts can be assured that they will not flood their ADSL connection.
 
  
Authentication is handled centrally against Southampton's ISS authentication servers, so any current student or staff members of [http://www.southampton.ac.uk University of Southampton] can log in. Students of the School of Electronics and Computer Science can also log in using their 'wireless credentials'. Future arrangements are being looked into so that we can also authenticate members of [http://www.eduroam.org eduroam], University of Southampton alumni, and [http://zepler.net zepler.net] accounts (ECS alumni).
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==What else does SOWN do?==
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SOWN has a [[Projects|number of current projects]] working towards providing further services and applications, both hardware and software.  
  
==What Services do we offer?==
 
In consort with its hardware and wireless access, SOWN also provides several other services to its users. Among these are an [[SOWN VoIP|Asterisk Voice Over IP]] (internet telephone) server (deployed but under development), multicast audio/video and [[IPv6]]. Within the [[SOWN Project|SOWN Project Group]] we are also working on: IP mobility (the ability to move seemlessly between access points without loosing your connection), [[802.1x]] (advanced network authentication) and [[Location Tracking|Wireless Location Tracking]] (using the signal strengths of various Access points arround you to determine your location).
 
  
 
==Interested in Joining?==
 
==Interested in Joining?==
We are always looking for new members. We hold weekly [[meetings]], where we discuss the latest issues relating to the development of SOWN and we also run regular 'Saturday Surgeries' where we get the chance to get our hands dirty, and play with the various hardware/software involved. If you are interested in joining SOWN, feel free to [http://www.sown.org.uk/contactus.php contact us] or to join us on [[IRC]]. We will be looking for new SOWN@home hosts for 2008/09.
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We are always looking for new members. We hold fortnightly [[Meetings]], where we discuss the latest issues relating to the development of SOWN.  We also run [[Workshops]] every other week where we get the chance to get our hands dirty and play with the various hardware/software involved. We also occasional have longer workshops at weekends to work of more involved tasks.
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If you are interested in joining SOWN, feel free to [http://www.sown.org.uk/contact/ contact us] or to join us on [[IRC]]. We will are also always looking for [https://www.sown.org.uk/register/noderequest new node hosts].
  
 
==Further Reading==
 
==Further Reading==
For further information on SOWN@home Nodes, visit the [[HomeNode]] page.  
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For further information on SOWN[at]HOME Nodes, visit the [[SOWN(at)HOME Node]] page.  
  
 
If you wish to know which areas are covered by SOWN, you can look at our [http://www.sown.org.uk/map/ Map].
 
If you wish to know which areas are covered by SOWN, you can look at our [http://www.sown.org.uk/map/ Map].
  
For more technical information, try checking out our [[:Category:Technical|Technical]] section!
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For more technical information, try checking out our [[:Category:Technical|Technical]] section.
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We also have an [[Links|external links page]].
  
 
[[Category:UserDocumentation]]
 
[[Category:UserDocumentation]]

Latest revision as of 20:02, 1 November 2017

SOWN (Southampton Open Wireless Network) is a student led project supported by Electronics & Computer Science (ECS) at the University of Southampton. It is also an offshoot of the Southampton University Wireless Society (SUWS).

SOWN aims to provide and develop an infrastructure for both learning and research into networking and wireless technologies. It also aspires to provide community-based wireless coverage for the city of Southampton.

Introduction

SOWN's primary aspiration of providing community-based wireless coverage for the city of Southampton is enabled through a wide ranging set of technologies. These broadly breakdown into four separate areas, each of which is discussed in the following four presentations:


Development

SOWN has been under deployment since 2001. Over the years it has evolved from an original envisaged Mesh network to a more distributed network approach since 2007, as described in the first presentation above.

Much of our work goes into developing various wireless technologies, testing hardware and software and deploying infrastructure in the form of wireless access points around the city. We also work on our wired infrastructure, as we have a number of core servers dedicated to providing the various services to allow the network to work. As can bee seen in our network topology.


Nodes and access

Currently. SOWN only provides wireless coverage (with Internet access) through its SOWN[at]HOME nodes. These give authenticated access to the node hosts Internet connection (i.e. ADSL, Cable, etc.) and the SOWN network. The goal is to have enough of these nodes deployed to provide widespread wireless coverage in areas of Southampton most frequented by students.

Previously, we have provided wireless coverage around the University of Southampton Highfield campus, through several Campus Nodes. We currently only have one campus node, ZeplerNode. This was deployed in September 2017 with its new hardware. I will provide wireless coverage using both 802.11ac and 802.11n Wi-Fi protocols to allow staff and students to get Internet access for outside areas of campus that are not well covered. However, this is not yet operational. This campus node is also a receiver for Amateur Radio frequencies using a couple of USB Software Defined Radios (SDRs).


What are these SOWN[at]HOME nodes and who can use them?

Specific instructions on how to get on the network can be found on our How to Connect page.

SOWN[at]HOME nodes are basically just wireless access points, often referred to as Wi-Fi hotspots. They offer authenticated use of the host's Internet connection. We have designed them to be Plug'n'Play devices. which are centrally managed and maintained. They allow their hosts to set the maximum usage of their Internet connection in a rolling 30-day period, to prevent excessive usage.

Authentication is handled using 802.1X technology. All requests are sent to SOWN's [1] server, which is peered with the UK's Eduroam peering service that then distributes requests to individual institutions, such as the University of Southampton, as described in the Mechanisms for Global distributed authentication presentation. This allows any user with an account for an institution that is part of Eduroam to gain Internet access.


What else does SOWN do?

SOWN has a number of current projects working towards providing further services and applications, both hardware and software.


Interested in Joining?

We are always looking for new members. We hold fortnightly Meetings, where we discuss the latest issues relating to the development of SOWN. We also run Workshops every other week where we get the chance to get our hands dirty and play with the various hardware/software involved. We also occasional have longer workshops at weekends to work of more involved tasks.

If you are interested in joining SOWN, feel free to contact us or to join us on IRC. We will are also always looking for new node hosts.

Further Reading

For further information on SOWN[at]HOME Nodes, visit the SOWN(at)HOME Node page.

If you wish to know which areas are covered by SOWN, you can look at our Map.

For more technical information, try checking out our Technical section.

We also have an external links page.