Durban Wireless Community making waves
Durban is fast becoming a wireless hotspot thanks to an innovative group of network enthusiasts.
The Durban Wireless Community (DWC) - a non-profit group that is funded entirely by its members - was founded in December 2004 and has since then built an extensive WiFi network covering a large part of Durban.
In the beginning the DWC network started off with only a few nodes, but has since grown to over 30 nodes. The areas that are currently covered include Bluff, Umblio, Glenwood, Morningside, Berea, CBD and Westville.
“We have huge interest in the highway area (Pinetown/Kloof/Hillcrest) and are trying to get a high site to link to the main network. If people are interested in connecting to the network but don’t live in an area that there is coverage we encourage them start building their own little network until that network can connect to the main network,” said the DWC’s Donald Jolley.
Joining the wireless network is free apart from the initial cost of acquiring the wireless kit.
“The cost of the equipment can range from R1000 to R2500 for an end user connection,” said Jolley. “Users often see the great benefit of DWC and want to expand the network so they build up their wireless site to become a transit node allowing for more people to connect.”
The DWC currently runs a VoIP server, gaming servers, ftp servers, an email server, a cacti server (monitors the network) and some experimental services.
“The network is not only about wireless. In fact, it is less about wireless than it is about learning other technologies and how to build networks and learning how to doing routing and setup servers,” Jolley pointed out.
“Some of the people on the network owe where they are today because of the skills they have learnt from the network.”