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Debian powers Australia's largest satellite network

Discussion in 'News' started by tripwire45, Dec 12, 2006.

  1. tripwire45
    Honorary Member

    tripwire45 Zettabyte Poster


    Debian powers Australia's largest satellite network

    Some 75 towns across New South Wales have started accessing the Internet through Linux-based satellite routers in what is said to be largest network of its type in Australia spanning upwards of 800,000 square kilometres. The Rural Link project by NSW.net was initiated four years ago when the State Library of NSW approached the federal government about connecting country libraries in NSW to the Internet via satellite due to the expense of ISDN. The project’s principal coordinator, Charles Jago, said the network is unique due to its size and varied nature of each access point. Jago, who said he was unaware of others doing satellite and wireless to this extent, added, “There are now connections to 180 buildings [across the 75 towns] all over NSW.”

    Read the rest of this story at ComputerWorld.com
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    1. zimbo
      Debian rocks!:tongue
    2. Bluerinse
      Sounds like an affordable bargain to me, typical Telstra rip off :eek:
    3. ffreeloader
      I have no knowledge of Telstra and their business practices, but purchasing and supporting a satellite is pretty spendy and they only have 180 connections in 75 towns over an area of 800,000 square kilometers with which to do this. In a case like that if the project has any chance of even beginning to pay for itself the cost per satellite link is going to be pretty high.

      Now if they were serving a couple thousand buildings in a smaller area and their price was still that high I'd certainly agree. The way it is this project can only be considered to be large by the physical area it covers.

      Imagine trying to run an ISP of any kind with the number of users they have and trying to make a profit. Then try to run it over an area the size of this one. Techs are going to have huge amounts of "windshield time" for which they must be paid, and guys with the technical ability to maintain this kind of network are not going to be cheap. Vehicle costs are also going to be high as the mileage is going to pile up very fast with that much area to cover. That means very high maintenance costs. Plus, by the sounds of this, their development costs have been pretty high as they have had to develop much of their own system just to do this. They are also open sourcing their software so it will be available to other projects like this.

      This doesn't sound like it was an easy project to set up as Telstra figures that their implementation is their IP according to the article. Anything that complex has to have a lot of cost associated with it.

      The other thing that adds to the cost of this project is that the satellite connection is one way, and they are using ISDN landlines as the backhaul. That means they are paying for not only a satellite, but for a fair amount of bandwidth on at least 75 different land lines too.

      They still may be overcharging but I can see huge costs associated with a project such as this. When everything is custom built, and all parts of the system are spread over a very large area, costs go up exponentially.
    4. Sandy
      It is the way of the future - much cheaper than setting up a copper or fiber infrastructer.
    5. hbroomhall
      May I beg to differ here?

      A company I worked for thought it would be a good idea to offer connectivity via Satellite. And they went ahead, got kit in and advertised it. Two years later they abandoned it as unworkable.

      IMHO satellite works OK where anything else is completely impractical, which is why, I suspect, it was chosen for NSW. It is, however, *very* expensive to engineer, and TCP/IP is not very happy with the huge round-trip delays, which plays havoc with the various timers in the protocol.

      The only way we could get it to pay was to have loads of people on the system. This of course means that each person gets not much bandwidth, which tends to generate complaints. And if you want to expand you need basicaly to buy the kit all over again.

      Finaly - on the ground if you need more bandwidth you string some more wire, or a fibre or two. Expensive, but not so breathtakingly expensive as a satellite launch!

      We found that in places where there was just enough land-based infrastructure to allow for dial then the cost and performance of satellite just didn't cut it.

      This is possibly why satellite providers in the EU keep going bust. :biggrin

    6. Bluerinse
      Yes I agree Freddy, my comment was made from the perspective of a disgruntled Telstra customer. My land line and my ADSL are both with Telstra, well to be accurate my ADSL is with BigPond and they are owned by Telstra. They have been ripping me off for years and I am stuck in a contract which I wouldn't be if they hadn't mislead me by giving me false information in the past, on three separate occasions. Hence I was triggered into rant mode as soon as I saw the word Telstra (commonly re-named Hell$tra) and big bucks in the same paragraph. :oops:
    7. tripwire45
      Sorry. My fault. I thought you'd find it interesting which is the reason I posted the story here as well as at LT. :oops:
    8. Bluerinse
      No not your fault mate, in fact it is very interesting from a technological standpoint 8)

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