Shirenewton Broadband Radio

This page is about a highly successful community project that managed to get decent broadband into the rural areas of Shirenewton including Itton, Earlswood, Gaerllwyd, Newchurch, Kilgwrrwg and surroundings.

Technology

How did we do it? Well the answer is a bigger better sort of WiFi. Normal WiFi is in the 2Ghz frequency band (the same one microwave ovens and Bluetooth use) and is limited to 100mW of power to ensure that you aren't blasted out by your neighbour and vice-versa. This standard is called 802.11b with faster versions called 802.11b/g/n. There's another frequency available in the 5Ghz band which is divided into three bands in the UK. Some Apple AirPort devices use this, and it's called 802.11a with again a faster version called 802.11an. In Band A you can only use it indoors and you can use twice the power at 200mW. But Band B lets you use 1000mW as long as the radio is for an outdoor link, and Band C (which needs ain Ofcom licence) lets you go up to 4000mW. Tim King's company TJJ Ltd has such a licence. Combined with a new encoding technology called 802.11ac this means that it is possible to run 100Mb/s radio links over 2-4 km.

Status

There is a map showing who is connected (green) to a fast broadband (blue), who has been given the kit but is waiting to put it up (orange) and who has expressed an interest and is on the waiting list (red)

How do I join in?

The community project is now closed, as attempting to run a network as complex as this requires full time support. The good news is that a commercially available, fully supported service is available around Shirenewton and in other parts of Wales through BroadBand By Radio and they will be able to help you out.