EWN Mission FAQ
The Mission of the Santa Clara Emergency Wireless Network SCEWN
Who is our customer?
We have several layers of customers. At the top are the various city and county Offices of Emergency Services, hospitals, then NGO's, utilities, major corporations, and down to the general population in the form of public shelter internet kiosks. We are aimed at organizations and not individuals. We also aim for our network to be actively used in a non emergency capacity so experimenters can load, maintain and improve the system just as is done with amateur radio and repeaters in general. We believe that a system that only has users only during an emergency is one that can not be relied on.
What type of technology are you utilizing?
We will provide services primarily through medium and long range, multi-megabit per second, low cost, point-to-point terrestrial microwave radio links.
What data type / rate are you talking?
Data rates any lower than 1 Mbps will be considered failure as our modes do not support it. Rates may increase with link quality in some places. Future tests will reveal what we can accomplish. 50 Mbps would be the high end.
Applications: Computer to computer is the low hanging fruit. Successful links will vastly outperform 1980's packet radio technology and allow use of modern internet technologies like web browsers, instant messaging, standard desktop email software, transfer of binary files like images etc. But there's no reason not to pursue more demanding applications like voice over IP. So we are very excited to test out how well it can work. Our data rates will be able to handle it without problem, but VoIP puts demands on network latency that may challenge our multi-hop topology and the 802.11 protocol itself.
What is the proposed network map?
Our original build out came as a result of interest by San Jose RACES, so our first equipment is located there. Our first priority is to link cities to the county and then to expand out as we are able. Our first link was from our Los Gatos hill top site to San Jose EOC, which is almost next door to the Santa Clara County EOC.
As our Santa Clara County coverage expands, our objective is to continue hopping further up the peninsula with the cooperation of those along the way (e.g. Palo Alto, Stanford) as well as further south towards Morgan Hill and possibly towards Santa Cruz.
Who are we and why are we doing this?
We are ham radio and digital technologies enthusiasts and professionals who think much better things can be done with current technology than are currently done in disaster communications. We want to contribute our enthusiasm and expertise towards making it happen in order to protect ourselves and our communities in times of crisis and in its economic recovery after such an event. We want our communities to benefit from the technologies we have created and are accustomed to using at our jobs in Silicon Valley.
What is our organizational commitment and back up?
We consider our mission to perform the experimentation and demonstrations by employing our people with the interest and aptitude to do so. While doing so, we intend to enroll as many others as will into learning and understanding the technology so stake holders will be able to maintain their own end of system links. We also intend to garner the interest and support of corporations in the area in providing support in the form of hardware, expertise, access, and possibly money. We intend that our part of this network will be relatively small, focused and manageable so we will not be overwhelmed or submerged. We will be intimately connected with all the local RACES groups in the cities. SVWUX has been in existence for 10 years under its parent organization SBAY.org which is a 501c3 corporation.
What commitment do we ask of our site hosts?
Permanent client station sites (EOCs, etc.)
Clients would need to host a station consisting most likely of:
- Placement for one or two co-located antennas on the rooftop or tower : 2 or 5 GHz vertical, panel or perhaps parabolic, depending on topology.
- An access point device (type to be determined after validation)
- Cat5e PoE twisted pair from the comms room or power source to the rooftop/tower.
- Emergency power. Equipment we are currently evaluating draws a maximum of 5 Watts per antenna. Our motive is to provide service primarily in an emergency, so extended emergency power is of course essential.
- Clients would purchase, own and operate their own equipment with guidance and cooperation from SVWUX as needed.
- Beyond this, our fundamental requirement of hosts is their genuine interest and shared value in what we are trying to accomplish. We work with partners rather than quid pro quo "contracts".
Repeater Site Hosts (hill top, high rise)
- Placement for one or two co-located antennas on the rooftop or tower : Vertical, panel or perhaps parabolic depending on topology.
- Power source (< 5 Watts) connected by Cat5e twister pair
- Reasonably flexible arrangements for physical access to site by SVWUX crew members.
Isn't WiMAX better for long range?
That's what we read and we are eager to try it out as soon as someone gives us some WiMAX equipment! But at the moment, it looks prohibitively more expensive than 802.11 gear. WiMAX surpasses 802.11 in support for guaranteed throughput (QoS) so is built ground up to support VoIP. WiMAX is also designed to support mobile connectivity, but SVWUX is currently only targeting fixed point users, so range is the main feature of interest.
SVWUX was started as the SBAY Wireless Project, founded by Dave Zarzycki in 1998. In 1999, an 802.11 access point was colocated at a ham repeater on Montebello Ridge overlooking Cupertino. Members and interested parties could connect to the access point as of January 2000.
The SBAY Wireless Project was reformed as the Silicon Valley Wireless Users and Experimenters (SVWUX) in October 2005. Around the same time, representatives from San Jose RACES, an extension of the Office of Emergency Services, contacted SVWUX about the potential for developing a survivable, high-speed communications network as an augmentation of their current capabilities. SVWUX received a renewed push to develop a wireless network for the south bay community.
|| SBAY Wireless Project founded by Dave Zarycki
|| Access point colocated on Montebello Ridge
| January 2000
|| First users connect to Montebello access point
| October 2005
|| SBAY Wireless Project reorganized as SVWUX
| Brian Litzinger elected as SIG Coordinator
| November 2005
|| New access point installed in the Los Gatos hills
| May 4, 2006
|| Chris Verges elected as SIG Coordinator
| May 27, 2006
|| SVWUX hosts the first "Wireless Warrior Weekend," an introduction to wireless equipment
| June 10, 2006
|| "Wireless Warrior Weekend" in antennae alignment using GPS and compasses
| October 28, 2006
|| "Wireless Warrior Weekend" in the Incident Command System (IS-100)
| Sept 21, 2008
|| Los Gatos AP linked with San Jose EOC