Athens Wireless Metropolitan Network

Athens Wireless Metropolitan Network

Infobox wifi network
abbreviation = AWMN
full = Athens Wireless Metropolitan Network

url = http://www.awmn.net/
commercial = No
country = Greece
area = attica
users = (aprox.) 3000
operational = Yes
nodesurl = http://wind.awmn.net

Founded on 2002 in Athens Greece, Athens Wireless Metropolitan Network (AWMN) is a grassroot wireless community, taking advantage of new, state of the art wireless technologies, to connect people and services. Its members are node owners, comprising the Athens metropolitan area network, which is open to everyone who wants to participate. More than 2380 members are already connected and more than 8,000 people have stated their intention to connect in the near future (as of September, 2008). [ [http://wind.awmn.net/?session_lang=english Wireless Nodes Database Statistics] ]

A.W.M.N. aims to promote wireless communications as well as bidirectional broadband digital telecommunication services to the general public as a non-profit activity, in cooperation with educational institutions, state authorities and other grassroot wireless communities in Greece. [ [http://www.awmn.net/index_en.php?id=description_en Athens Wireless Metropolitan Network Official Site] ]

Its aims include:
* To establish, develop and maintain a community wireless network connecting people and services.
* To develop technologies based on wireless and digital telecommunications
* To train people in the usage of wireless and digital telecommunications.
* To promote and encourage volunteerism and active participation

Cultural and Geographical Context

The network began in Athens, the capital of Greece but its activities are not limited to there. It covers a geographical area (110 km from North to South and 85km from West to East) whose southern most point is Palaia Epidavros (Epidaurus) and whose northern most point is the town of Nea Artaki on the island of Euboea. [ [http://wind.awmn.net/?page=nodes Online Nodes Map] ] The extension of the network allows isolated areas with poor technological infrastructure to connect with the Athens network, thus allowing access to the services provided by the main network. Already the islands of Euboea, Aegina, Salamina and the regions surrounding Athens have connected to the network. In anticipation of connecting to AWMN, small wireless ‘islets’ have been created in other cities and on other islands where AWMN has contributed to the technical know-how and equipment. Recently the island of Euboea connected with AWMN and the next stage will be the connection of the wireless ‘islets’ located in Corinth, Lamia (city) and Volos. For wireless ‘islets’ and communities for which direct connection to the wireless system is impossible, specially chosen points have been chosen which, through the use of conventional technology (fast ADSL or SDSL lines), connect to high speed lines with limited services (VoIP, http browsing). There are also plans to reach even more remote cities of Greece such as Patras.

Project History

AWMN’s foundation as a community dates back to 2002. Due to the tremendous problems with broadband services in Greece in 2002 the number of broadband services available to home users was extremely limited. It was mainly due to this problem that AWMN was founded as an alternative broadband network, which allowed its users to experience real broadband services. However after a short period from its “birth” AWMN started to change. An increasing number of people started to have an interest in the network, expressing their interest in joining this project. Very soon the number of network nodes started to grow exponentially, and the network’s character changed from an alternative telecom network to a social network of people based on their interest in the IT/Telecom sector.

Community

Due to the nature of the AWMN it can be considered a network of people for the people. Within the AWMN community personal relationships play a very active role in the network development encouraging the members of the network to have a more active role in the community’s social life.From the start of the project, care was taken to found the non-profit AWMN association and to build on a sound basis. The association with over 200 active members comprises the official face of the network and coordinates the working groups. Membership to the network is open to all. Not all members of the network are obliged to become members of the association. However, they are obliged to accept responsibility for the smooth running of their node and follow the basic rules of the community (this forms an in informal criterion of their selection for connection to other nodes).

The network members form a mosaic of people of varying ages and high educational background which, includes IT and telecommunications professionals, radio amateurs, IT students and technology enthusiasts. All members are driven by a strong community spirit and contribute on a voluntary basis. [ [http://www.hellaswifi.gr/node/96 AWMN: the soft factor] ] [ [http://www.hellaswifi.gr/sites/default/files/Motivations%20of%20Wireless%20Community%20Participants.pdf | M. Bina and G.M. Giaglis. Motivations of Wireless Community Participants. Abstract of Department of Management Science and Technology, Athens University of Economics and Business, p4, 2006.] ]

Technological Basis

Technology-wise, AWMN makes extensive use of the IEEE 802.11x set of standards and operates on the 2.4GHz and 5.4GHz license-free ISM frequency bands. Over the last few years A.W.M.N. has tested (and later used in production environments) equipment from a huge variety of vendors.

The routing protocol used by the network is BGP. Strives have been made towards new, more adaptive and experimental protocols such as OLSR and many members of the AWMN community have contributed feedback and code to many Linux routing projects.

Homemaking of equipment is encouraged; a great number of workshops have been held in order for members to become familiar with constructing their own aerials and cables. In addition, the community regularly organizes seminars in order to educate aspiring network administrators on wireless technology, protocols, routing and Linux, in real conditions of a large-scale network.

AWMN relies heavily on Free Libre/Open-Source Software. GNU/Linux (or other free Unix variants) is the operating system of choice for most servers actively serving the network, and other FL/OSS has made the ever-increasing number of services available, possible.

Solutions and Services

The problem that AWMN came to solve in the greater area of Athens was that of broadband telecommunication among the participants of the network. To start of with the AWMN forum came to life where all the community members would exchange ideas, arrange meetings, arrange wireless links and discuss various points of interest. Nowhere days the services provided by the network have evolved to full a featured internal VoIP network, game servers, file sharing services, hundreds of users/nodes webpages, network statistics services, routing, network monitoring, weather stations, VPN servers and just about anything and any service that someone would come across on the Internet.

As a highlight we should mention the WiND project. As a large-scale network and community, AWMN has the need for a central management tool for displaying important nodes details. WiND (Wireless Nodes Database) is a Web Application targeted at Wireless Community Networks, such AWMN. It has been created by members of AWMN. WiND provides a front-end interface to a database where various information on wireless network nodes can be stored, such as position details, DNS information, IP addressing and a list of provided network services. [ [http://wind.awmn.net/?page=services&session_lang=english List of services] ]

See also

* List of wireless community networks
* Athens Wireless Metropolitan Network/Photo album
* WiND - Wireless Nodes Database
* Thessaloniki's Wireless Metropolitan Network (TWMN)
* Wireless Thessaloniki (WThess) Network
* Patras Wireless Metropolitan Network (PWMN)
* Heraklion Student Wireless Network
* Imathia Wireless Metropolitan Network (IWMN)
* [http://www.ptawug.co.za Pretoria Wireless User Group (PTAWUG)]

External links

* [http://www.awmn.net/index_en.php non profit wireless community site]
* [http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LMA-nbkKP8o YouTube Video Presentation]

References


Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.

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