Waikato Wi-Fi project progressing

CRCnet, a wireless internet access project for rural Waikato, has stepped up a gear. Ngahinapouri School, 13km southwest of Hamilton, is due to be linked via Wi-Fi to Waikato University, from which it will gain internet access.

CRCnet, a wireless internet access project for rural Waikato, has stepped up a gear.

Ngahinapouri School, 13km southwest of Hamilton, is due to be linked via Wi-Fi to Waikato University, from which it will gain internet access.

The school was about to go live online last week, says project co-ordinator Murray Pearson, a computer science lecturer at Waikato University.

The use of the university to get the school online is a short-term solution, Pearson says, with a permanent arrangement depending on securing a relationship with an ISP.

"It's easy to do it through the university now because everything's set up, but the university doesn't want to be in that role when we're connecting more and more people, not just a few schools."

Other developments since Computerworld first reported on the project in March (Wi-Fi link tipped for Waikato school) include the commissioning of a solar-powered repeater on the slopes of Mt Pirongia, 12km from a node at Pearson's house in Ngahinapouri, which will allow a second school, Te Pahu, to get net access.

The school is in a low-lying area which doesn't have line-of-sight links with Pearson's home.

Over the next few weeks, another link, 17km to Waitetuna, a locality on the Hamilton-Raglan highway, will be deployed and trialled, Pearson says.

High-gain antennae and point-to-point connections, rather than point-to-multipoint, allow Wi-Fi, which normally has a range of 50m, to be extended to many kilometres for CRCnet.

An application has been made for government funding of the project and Pearson says it is "still being processed".

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