Do-It-Yourself Community Wireless Networking Workshop

A Workshop with Ryan O’Toole

Saturday November 17th, 12pm – 5pm
$115, wireless router included in class fee

From the early days of phone phreak conferences deep within the telephone system, to labs of scientists sharing research over ARPANET, to Wikipedia’s user-generated archive of human knowledge, virtual spaces have enabled people from around the globe to form communities unfettered by geography and distance.

Now, with the proliferation of wi-fi, small ad-hoc home-brewed networks are flourishing. And with them, the opportunity for new types of location based virtual communities to flourish as well– communities whose users share both a physical social space, like an apartment, cafe, or office, and an information space, like a community wiki, blog, message board, and Internet access.

The class will focus on leveraging several open source technologies to take advantage of this fertile new territory for community building. Each student will set up their own community intranet attached to a captive portal wi-fi access point using DD-WRT and PmWiki, which they will incorporate into their own community project.

A captive portal is like a home page for your network. Anyone who connects to your wireless and tries to browse the internet will be sent to your intranet’s home page first, before being allowed to access the rest of the Internet.

Make them click a button and accept your terms of service; promote your organization, project, or underwriters; share your latest youtube rant or favorite lol cats; provide a feedback loop through a wiki or bulletin board.

This class is for beginner to advanced web monkeys and is designed as an introduction to several topics; networks, linux, wikis, routers & virtual communities. Knowledge of some or any of these items would be beneficial but is not necessary. Familiarity with computers and an eagerness to learn are a must.

Requirements

  • A DD-WRT compatible router. One will be provided to each student and is included in the price of the class.
  • Webspace. Students are asked to provide their own webspace to permanently host their wikis, but sandbox space will be provided for the duration of the class to students who do not have access to their own web host.
  • A laptop computer running Windows, Mac OS X, or Linux with a wi-fi card and ethernet port.