Open Technology Institute visit to Red Hook Initiative Wifi

On January 28th & 29th 2013, coders and field engineers from the Open Technology Institute came to Red Hook to troubleshoot network issues and firm up the network in preparation for the Red Hook Digital Stewards program, which kicks off on the 29th!

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  1. After Sandy, the RHI Wifi network expanded quickly to aid recovery workers and provide communication tools to residents. Now that life has started to get back to normal, and the gears are shifting to long-term sustainability, OTI and RHI wanted to be sure that the RHI Wifi was stable and strong enough to continue to build off of and expand.
  2. With the snow coming down steadily, we decided to start in RHI where we could troubleshoot and plan and stay warm!
  3. Important first steps were to assess the inventory of devices and tools at RHI, and then map out the current connections so that we knew which part of the network was meshing wirelessly vs meshing over ethernet. This planning is key for building out in the future, as we need to know where there are firewalls, and where it's best to plug in additional routers or internet gateways.
  4. During Sandy Recovery, FEMA had provided a temporary satellite uplink as an internet gateway. The OTI team realized that this gateway wasn't working anymore, and had been slowing the overall network down, so we unplugged the satellite.
  5. For ongoing future support, we needed to setup VPN so that remote team members can help troubleshoot when needed.
  6. We got @0xDanarky & @hawkinsw building a VPN so the @NewAmericaOTI #commotion team in DC can quickly respond to issues with RHIwifi.
    We got @0xDanarky & @hawkinsw building a VPN so the @NewAmericaOTI #commotion team in DC can quickly respond to issues with RHIwifi.
  7. Here is the OLSRviz #commotion network topology for #rhiwifi
    Here is the OLSRviz #commotion network topology for #rhiwifi
  8. After lunch, the team headed over to the Harbor Tech Apartment building, where Kirby Desmarais of the Red Hook Coalition is supporting the routers on the roof with power. Kirby also manages bands, such as Gansta Grass:
  9. Although the weather on Monday wasn't ideal for outdoor work, the OTI team braved the snow, rain and hail to rewire some of the rooftop installations.
  10. Day 2 provided us much better weather to do some additional work on the roof of RHI and a neighboring Auto Body Shop!
  11. Had to carry a ladder up to mesh two Nanostations over the wire between two buildings #RHIwifi #commotion
    Had to carry a ladder up to mesh two Nanostations over the wire between two buildings #RHIwifi #commotion
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