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Wireless Networks to Native Reservations 87

Posted by michael
from the saving-some-wampum dept.
akb writes: "Interesting article entitled Native Networking Trends: Wireless Broadband Networks describing a project which provided three Indian reservations near San Diego with wireless broadband connectivity. The collaboration between UC San Diego and the Southern California Tribal Chairman Association has attracted additional funding from HP's Digital Village Program doubling the original NSF allocation, which will allow the network to expand to connect 18 reservations to the Internet and educational facilities. The network sports a 45mbps wireless backbone with 802.11b uplinks." The HPWREN pages have a lot of interesting information, including specifications for their 45 megabit solar-powered relays.
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Wireless Networks to Native Reservations

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  • Is this meant to take their casinos online? IMHO that would be a good way for the natives to finally get some revenge on the white man.

    USA out of America! :-)

    • "You Win!!...
      +++
      ATH0

      Doh!
    • Only six of the native run casinoes show any great profit. Many of them barely break even and most are there simply as a job source on the reservations.
      • If it keeps them off the booze, I'm all for it.

        Seriously, the ones that aren't showing profits - are they just too far off in the deserts/whereever to get the crowds in or did they overinvest in the facilities to begin with? I've just seen the profitable ones on TV and kinda assumed all of them made a killing... The faltering ones should really think about going online, in this economy there should be no problem finding geeks willing to hack up their platforms for glass pearls and some mescal juice.

  • These sorts of projects are a kick in the teeth to the wireless companies who will soon be trying to sell 3G tech. Or is it that these will become redundant with the advent of 3G.

    Personally I can't wait till the day when my laptop has a wireless 3G card that can connect at high speed whenever and where ever I want.

    • You can do that now: Get a GPRS phone with Bluetooth, pay the Man for the data subscription, get a Bluetooth PCMCIA card for your laptop and you're off. Sure, it's more like 2.6G, but you're unlikely to spot the difference without heavy file transfers and you can just take a walk around the block while the pr0n downloads. Exercise while having fun!

      Can you imagine my delight when I saw the Bluetooth stuff in the 2.4.8 kernel xconfig? I don't have the hardware yet, but just seeing it in there gave me a warm and fuzzy feeling that nothing from Redmond ever has come close to providing. *thinks back* Well, OK, the Shell Preview for NT 3.51 was pretty close... Anyone know if XP has any Bluetooth stuff included? I seem to recall they gave Firewire a bit of a miss, maybe they did the same with BT?

      • Instead of carrying a phone and a laptop (walking while using a laptop, I don't think so) The Ipaq to be released in Oct. will have an active matrix 65K color screen and a wireless package that supports both BT and 802.11b will be released later in Dec. I have the Ipaq H3670 with a 802.11 card in the expansion pack already. Much lighter than a laptop and you can see the screen in bright light, without the 3G infrastructure.
        • Well, there you are then. If you can't leech 802.11 access everywhere (point those antennas out the windows, people! Yes! Windows - out!) just go with the GPRS option and you'll be set.

          I've posted this before, but I still want someone to build it: A complete modular portable wireless PC system consisting of a laptop/webpad, a cordless headset (with mike built-in, skull resonance fashion) and a phone/PDA. All of the components talk Bluetooth with each other and all of them work on their own or together with any of the others. The headset would store 30 minutes worth of MP3 or Ogg songs in walk-alone mode or stream them (or radio, or phone-over-IP or whatever) from the phone/PDA (2 hours' worth of storage) or laptop. All of them sync automatically when in range, keep track of friends (a REAL psychic friend's network!) nearby and so on, and so forth. The Star Trek-like comm badge for activating the voice-recognition system is mandatory. Gimme now! I wanna be a gargoyle too!

      • XP doesn't have support for Bluetooth (raised a bit of press when MS supported 802.11b instead), allegedly due to Bluetooth's immaturity.
        • Immaturity? Yeah, like XP's 'mature'... After the third Service Pack, maybe. Thanks for the info.

          Anyway, I see 802.11b (why can't someone come up with a reasonable name for this?) and Bluetooth as different solutions to different problems in different situations, albeit with a few overlaps in the middle somewhere.

    • Personally I can't wait till the day when my laptop has a wireless 3G card that can connect at high speed whenever and where ever I want.

      I think you might have to wait, since the military just changed their mind [msnbc.com] about opening a large part of the spectrum.
    • This particular project has got little to do with 3G, because it is not mainly about mobility - the project used point-to-point fixed wireless (45 Mbps) for backbone links, and long-distance 802.11b (and plain 802.11b) for access links. The idea is to link schools and research centres to the Internet, rather than support mobile users.

      There is a threat to 3G from wireless LANs, but that's from operators like MobileStar, who are setting up access points in 4,000 Starbucks locations across the US (and similar operators in Europe, some with 3G licenses). If 802.11b can get its power requirements down, and if coverage improves, it could prove to be a real competitor to 3G, particularly because its hardware and spectrum costs are already very low compared to 3G.
  • Build infrastructure and let 'em go at it, doing whatever they want? The reason I ask is, although this is all planned to be a "good thing", I worry that it could lead to a "not-so-good-thing", i.e. Virtual Indian Casinos (in competition with brick-and stucco casinos, Vegas, etc.)
  • You'll see banner ads for the new Online Indian Casinos..But really that's quite a task considering some reservations are the size of RI. My question is do the network cards in the computers or devices need to be attached to an external antenna as well? I gained another 1000ft when I attached a standard CB antenna to my access point. I could get Internet access from my apartment across the highway from work. What are some other (cheap) way's to improve distance? Maybe I could get a Seti tower..hmmm
  • See, now this is cool. Obviously the uses for this developing mode of technology go way beyond the Native American sphere. My favorite thing about it is that it doesn't rely on wires for power OR transmission. A handful of solar-powered relays looks a lot nicer, is a lot cheaper, is much less intrusive, and is much more easily scalable and robust than a bunch of wires strewn everywhere(and thankfully people are finally starting to appreciate that with solar and other distributed power generation).
    • Until you get a three day rainstorm. It is getting better, but it's not there yet.
      • Well, with a large enough battery you could buffer against anything... Or an oversized solar array to compensate for less light... or a replaceable backup power source for emergency use (like a zinc-air battery)... or a multipath network to take up the slack if one relay is shut down for some reason (not the case here)... or whatever. Point being, there are simple solutions around this problem. I think it IS here, but we're only now just starting to realize it and shake the technology down into a truly useful and inexpensive form.
      • Why do you think it's being deployed in San Diego? It hardly ever rains here anymore.
      • Alt. Energy is great, and solar is just part of the equation. I spent some time working on a trunked radio network (the digital radios that emergency services use) that was 100% non-grid. The power at each site came from a big solar array, a crap-load of batteries, a few wind generators, and two propane generators. This meant that if the site was fogged in, the batteries powered the site for upto 72 hours, and if it was a storm instead of fog, the wind generators fed the system instead of the solar arrays. And when the site was in the middle of a brushfire the generators could run for the whole week while the smoke obscured the sun. The only other time the generators ran when I worked there was for their maintenance cycles - just to keep things from gumming up.

        I wondered about having the propane delivered out in the middle of nowhere, but, as one guy who had been there a long time said, when the EPA made them put in porta-johns, the prospect of getting propane refils delivered was "no worse than getting the shitters cleaned"
        • I used to run the webpage and some publicity stuff for a Solar Racing Team.. On our 100kg of our Pb Acid batteries (that weren't the most efficient in the race, but were cheapest), we could drive from Sydney to Melbourne with complete cloud cover all the way. I'm assuming the system probably uses something a bit more complex, perhaps Li/Ion batteries, which would allow them to maintain power through conceivable lapses in sunlight. I wouldn't imagine that their power usage would be all that high (as relative to a Solar racing car) anyway. ;)
  • If you look at these pages [ucsd.edu], we are talking about $3000-$5500 worth of relay equipment sitting out in the middle of nowhere. What happens if someone comes along and decide they'd want some of that for themselves?

    Of course no one would ever want to steal from the Indians... Oh, wait, nevermind.
    • Re:Security? (Score:3, Informative)

      by dhogaza (64507)
      Well ... there's already a large number of microwave links, beacons, and other expensive electronic gear scattered around the Mojave, Sonoran and Great Basins deserts, guarded by nothing more than a chain link
      fence with razor wire on the top.

      I suppose this stuff gets vandalized from time-to-time. A few rounds from a 30-'06 are more likely than theft, though - check out the road signs
      next time you visit us out in the InterMountain West.

      My point's simple, though - this stuff's no more likely to be ripped off or vandalized than the expensive equipment that already decorates some of
      our mountaintops, and you deal with it the same way. Insure and replace as necessary.

      Lightning's probably a bigger risk, anyway. Mountains out here get slammed consistently (I assume they're locating the relays on mountains).

      • My point's simple, though - this stuff's no more likely to be ripped off or vandalized than the expensive equipment that already decorates some of
        our mountaintops, and you deal with it the same way. Insure and replace as necessary.


        I'm sure insurance companies would charge a premium because of this, and because of the high premiums, corporate backers would have a much higher bottom line cash outflow, and thus would be less likely to invest. Until the technology can come down into the hundreds of dollars range, I don't see this becoming wide spread.

        4A 55 53 54 20 4D 59 20 24 30 2E 30 32
  • Coming Soon! (Score:3, Interesting)

    by JoeShmoe (90109) <askjoeshmoe@hotmail.com> on Friday September 21, 2001 @02:01PM (#2330945)
    Gambling at your favorite online Indian Gaming casino!

    Actually, I'm serious...here in California tribes have already gotten permission to run casinos on their land (although I believe the matter is still going through the courts) so then could the same tribes run their own online gaming?

    Do Indian tribes have to abide by the Hague Convention or the Berne treaty or whatever that copyright protection treaty is?

    Think about it...Indians are desperately seeking self-reliance, which is pretty much impossible given the crappy ass desert land they were given. So what if they built a few wind turbines and ran a data haven? Do you think Disney et. al. could really bully them?

    I would be really intersted in finding out about this. We have been looking for safe havens and if we put Indian reservations on the Internet that sounds like it might fit the bill?

    - JoeShmoe
    • Do Indian tribes have to abide by the Hague Convention or the Berne treaty or whatever that copyright protection treaty is?


      Depends on the tribe. Each tribe has a treaty with the US, defining (among other things) how US law affects them.

      Some have stupid treaties, and are essentially US territories with little autonomy.

      Others, like the Chickasaws for instance, have treaties that fully preserve their sovereignity, and are essentially another country inside the US, subject to US law only if their tribal legislature votes to be subject to it.

      We have been looking for safe havens and if we put Indian reservations on the Internet that sounds like it might fit the bill?

      Some tribes have thought about this. And some already have ISPs.

      The Chickasaws had one (I know, I built it), but they sold it. However, to the best of my knowledge it still exists on tribal land, and is owned by a Chickasaw, so it is probably still not subject to US law.
    • There are less than 3000 Indians on 20 reservations in eastern San Diego County. 8 of these 20 reservations have casinos of varying size - most have slots, blackjack, poker, buffet dining and valet parking.

      One of the casinos biggest is on the Pala, which rolled out the first phase of this wireless project. Pala has a huge advertising budget and attracts tens of thousands of gamblers from all over Southern California. Most (all?) of these casinos are nominally fronted by Indians but are actually built, managed and operated day-by-day by Nevada gaming companies.

      The casinos have been a finincial bonanza to these reservations and, frankly, good for them. However, this story is NOT about poor rural Native Americans with limited prospects being given a leg up with modern technology.

    • That sounds nice, but come on - right now we are displaying the power to impose our will on truely soverign nations, what defense does a tribal nation have against that force, no matter how well written their treaty is. The likelyhood that safe havens could be established on tribal lands is pretty slim - particularly if there isn't the ability to distinguish between the principled customer who is in violation of the law but practicing civil disobedience, and the criminal who acts with malice to endanger the populous and the government..
      • They are a sympathic cause. Why do you think they have gambling? Because it was called the "Vegas Casinos Make Billions, Why Can't We" Act? No, it was "Indian Self-Reliance". All of the major casino groups lobbied like mad to try to get people to vote against it, but it was tough to make it look like they were victims. The Indian leaders talked about all the jobs, schools, medicine and food it would bring them. Casinos had to try to sidetrack the issue and dwell on the fact that Indians didn't have to pay taxes on their income, wah wah.

        So, if the Indian nations want to try to get self-reliance by forming an electronic economy, lawmakers are going to have a tough time siding with their traditional lobbyists. Who wants to appear to be trouncing on the already impoverished Indian nations to line the pockets of a few select media corporations? I think it would be an interesting way to test the laws, and that's why I would encourage people to investigate this.

        - JoeShmoe
  • by Anonymous Coward
    We [corpranet.net] have been planning this for a while and recently rolled it out this year. We have 3 towers for a mid-size city (Springfield Missouri, USA). You can use it anywhere in the city - even in your car. There is a small antenna that hooks up to a special network card.

    Our transmission rates are way above T1 and because there is no cost of leasing lines or anything we can provide it cheap (comparatively).

    We also put up 1 tower in a nearby town. This one tower covers the whole town. We got funding from the county because the county court system sits in that town and needed to be on broadband but couldn't get to it in the traditional ways.

    We just rent space from radio stations on their towers - so the setup is minimal. It really is a great system

    Fried
  • Wow! (Score:2, Funny)

    by Schaffner (183973)
    Now you won't need to wire a head for a reservation!

    (Sorry, it's a reference to a very bad old joke. I just couldn't resist the opportunity.)
  • Wampum? (Score:3, Informative)

    by pschmied (5648) on Friday September 21, 2001 @03:03PM (#2331225) Homepage
    From one journalist to another, this is probably not a good term to use the way you did.

    I'm not wanting to be a PC thug, but here's the entry in the AP Style Book:

    Indians American Indian is the preferred term for those in the United States. Where possible, be precise and use the name of the tribe: He is a Navajo commissioner. Native American is acceptable in quotations and names of organizations.

    In news stories about American Indians, such words as wampum, warpath, powwow, tepee, brave, squaw, etc., can be disparaging and offensive. Be careful and certain of their usage.


    -Peter

    • Well, if we really wanted to be accurate and straightforward (i.e. not having to ask whether someone is an American Indian or an East Indian when somebody says "Indian"), "American Aboriginals" or some short variation on that (amerabs?) would make the most sense. But I doubt that would ever catch on, since "Indian" is so firmly entrenched in our vocabulary. We'd sooner stop calling East Indians "Indians" than that.
    • Preferred usage in Canada is Indeginous People changing, of course, "people" to "person" if used in the singular.

      Russel Means likes the phrase American Indian.. to quote, "Because it means I'm an American first, and then an Indian... we're the only minority that puts the American first"
      • In Canada they use the insipid term "first nations" when describing indians. First what...? Bullshit! Prove to me that they were on this planet before anyone else! Besides, I was born in North America. By definition, that makes me a native.
    • I'm not sure if you've noticed, but /. doesn't often adhere to the AP Style Book!!

      Here are a couple of sample sentences from today's front page:

      "Having had to play through some real stinkers of games before, I applaud Maxis decision to kill the product, rather then try to release it on an unsuspecting public CT Cry!"

      "The Internet is a peer-to-peer system where one peer can piss in the public pool. These ISPs are doing a good thing by keeping this crap off the net."

      I look forward to your AP Style Book critique of the above!

  • ...Dances with Wireless
  • Imagine, online casinos create a positive cash flow for Tribal governments, the capital allows for real social change - illiteracy and alcoholism and domestic abuse decline - and every Res in America connected via wireless VPNs to every other Res in America. Best of luck, its a long road.
  • The great thing about rural networking is that RF spectrum is easily available. You can run megabits for miles without much interference. It definitely beats putting up hundreds of telephone poles per subscriber, which you see in some rural areas.

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