Kieran Murphy (Daffy) started Jawug (then called WNet) along with Justin Jonker (Lemon), Ross Clarke (encrypted) and Steven Carter in 2001. Kieran recalls the early stages below.
East and West
‘It was done initially as a test to see if it was viable and to play games. A few friends from university were then added, and started using it to collaborate on our 3rd year Computer Science project. It started with some 2nd hand 24dBi 2.4Ghz Grids and Orinoco Wavelan PCMCIA Cards + PCI-PCMCIA Adapters. This was capable of 11mbit/s (as it was only 802.11b equipment). The next hardware experiment involved upgrading the Radios to some Gigabyte APs, which we interconnected using WDS. This gave us the ability to use 802.11g, and theoretically 54mbit/s. We soon learned that actual throughput is only about 22mbit/s, and using WDS halved this. When the OpenWRT project started, we jumped on board. And with the help of Roelf Diedricks (RoDent), we got some Linksys WRT54G’s and moved the network to OpenWRT. After being offered tower space on an Amateur radio mast on Dawnview hill, the first Jawug Highsite came online. This network gradually grew into the WickedEast network.
In the meantime one of the first mesh networks in the westrand was being built. It began with a humble wrt54g and 8dBi+ omni at joey linking to submethod, RyderNET and sangoma. This network was called the WildWestMesh, they were using the Freifunk firmware which implemented OLSR as a dynamic Layer 2 routing protocol running on top of Ad-hoc mode wireless links.
Linking East and West
Back in mid 2006, the two largest sub-networks of this segmented network, decided to connect, and join (The Weltevreden Park area in Roodepoort – home to the “Wild West Mesh” and the WNet Guys in the Bedfordview / Edenvale area.
We searched high and higher for a suitable spot in the middle, and were finally able to get some kit installed on Northcliff Ridge which had LOS (Line of Sight) to both Weltevreden Park, and Bedfordview.
A team was assembled, and managed to get everything linked successfully!
Much celebration followed, and much data was transferred.
Fast Forward to the here and now
We have an IRC Server, where the majority of us spend our days talking about the network, new installations, new members, and future plans (plus a lot of time spent joking, talking nonsense and generally having a lekker time)
Jawug is a community, and as such, is run, managed, maintained and financed by its members. There is a core team, who are responsible for allocating IP ranges, installing sites if necessary, and keeping things operational and in order.
Each new member who arrives in the IRC channel is welcomed, and advised as to how to go about getting connected. Here are the things you need to do:
Come into our IRC Channel and introduce yourself to the guys. We are all friendly, helpful people, and are there to assist. Next step is to get yourself registered on WugCentral. Once you have registered, you will receive an email with your registration details.
The wug.za.net also contains some information related to the various equipment which we utilise, as well as a Discussion Forum, HowTo’s and an excellent Gallery which contains photos from most of our members installations, including the various WUG’s around the country.
We currently have CapeTown (CTWug), Durban, (DWC), Potchefstroom (PCN), Pretoria (PWP) to name a few. The Wugplotter tool works in each of these areas and many of the members from these different WUG’s have already registered on the site, and are using it daily.