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In NZ, Sharing Ethernet With A Whole CIty 282

Posted by timothy
from the vpn-clients dept.
ryuko writes: "Normally LANs are used by a single organization at best, but Wellington's 13-square-mile LAN comprises many of the city's businesses. The city council garnered a UNESCO Digital Access Award in recognition of its achievement in installing the 1,000 Mbps network. The full article is here on ZDNet. Drool ... gigabit internet ..."
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In NZ, Sharing Ethernet With A Whole CIty

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  • Correction (Score:2, Informative)

    by ergo98 (9391)

    Citylink runs at Fast Ethernet speeds of up to 1,000Mbps, about 65 times faster than a T1 line.

    Isn't a T1 1.544Mbps? If so then 1Gbps is 647x faster. However the following sentence is a bit silly:

    Considering that many U.S. organizations use T1 lines to connect to faster Internet backbone providers, Citylink is offering speeds generally unmatched here.

    The Gbps is extremely nice, but it's silly to presume that everyone in North America is using a T1 : Hell most home users are using cable high speed running at 2Mbps downstream.

    • Yes but the article says "many U.S. organizations" not "most home users".
      • Re:Correction (Score:2, Insightful)

        by ergo98 (9391)

        Yeah but the point is that many US organizations can afford, and do afford, a lot more than a T1. Wiring a city solves the last mile problem, but 9 times out of ten the organizations that a company wants to video or audio teleconference isn't conveniently in the same town.

        The article seems to be full of errors. Firstly they say that it's 1,000 Mbps, but then call it Fast Ethernet (which is 100Mbps), and then state that it's 67x faster than a T1 (which would imply 100Mbps). Later in the article they say "With 100 Mbps of capacity, businesses can easily implement video conferencing and voice over IP (VoIP)." 1000, 100, Fast Ethernet, 67x T1...blah.

        • Yeah but the point is that many US organizations can afford, and do afford, a lot more than a T1.

          Are T1 lines even remotely cost-effective anymore? I was under the impression that business-class cable or DSL lines could provide similiar speeds at a fraction of the price.
          • Re:Correction (Score:2, Informative)

            by djweis (4792)
            If you want it to stay running, a T1 is the way to go. There is no special tag on a cable tv wire or DSL line in the CO that says "this is business class". You can get service level agreements on T1's.
            • Re:Correction (Score:3, Interesting)

              by ka9dgx (72702)
              A T1 is the way to go, but it isn't a technical reason, but a practical business reason. We've lost 3 DSL links in the past 6 months, due to vendors going away. We're getting a fractional T1 as a backup for our DSL, for 3 times the cost, only because we don't want to be off the internet if it happens again. I'd much rather have two DSL lines, I especially miss Teligent, with their nice fast, reliable fixed wireless that completely bypassed Ameritech.

              Now its back to the old days, SBC/Ameritech is the monopoly again, and things are going down hill, all over again, due to corporate greed, and monopolization.

              --Mike--

        • Later in the article they say "With 100 Mbps of capacity, businesses can easily implement video conferencing and voice over IP (VoIP)." 1000, 100, Fast Ethernet, 67x T1...blah.

          And then it says they use Cisco 3524, 3508, and 2912 (!) switches. The 3524 is Fast Ethernet with a couple of gigabit ports, the 3508 is a gigabit-only switch, and the 2912 is the lowest end of the 29xx Fast Ethernet switch line, so they've either had those a long time or gotten them used cheap. Which means that they have a gigabit core and Fast Ethernet access. So those "cheap routers" only have to handle 100 mbit, and as access routers the latency of store-and-forward isn't so much of a problem. It's the core that needs cut-through switching.

          For gigabit, the 32/33 PCI bus of an average PC would indeed be saturated, but the point of gigabit these days is more to aggregate bandwidth than to have single servers delivering 100 MBytes/sec.

        • The article also mentions the use of the "SMTP management protocol".
    • by Anonymous Coward
      I'd really like to know how they run electricity *and* IP over fibre, too:


      Citylink's genesis dates back to the late 1980s, when Richard Naylor, IT manager for the city council, realized certain areas of Wellington were susceptible to power outages even at times when there was plenty of power in other parts of the city. A plant on one side of the city might suffer a shortage, while another remained at full power.

      "We needed to balance the loads by connecting them," Naylor says. So he ran a fiber optic cable between the plants, allowing them to compensate by sharing power when one was hit by a shortage.
    • I think the article implies (it's not that well written) that each client has 100 Base T access to the 1000Base T network, which makes the sums come out right. Incidentally, our "T1" is exactly 2Mbps - but I'm in the UK (maybe ours is an E1?) - the same might be true in NZ AFAIK.
    • Most home users are on dialup and not cable. The geek community (of which all members require DSL, cable, or someother high speed alternative) is not the biggest group out there. We are but a small percentage of a bigger group. Just think of the millions of people using AOL...
    • I think you'll find most home users are on dial-up, and most of those don't ever get the full 53k out of their 56k modems.
    • Re:Correction (Score:3, Informative)

      by PlazMatiC (11127)
      Also, as far as I know, none of the citylink-connected ISPs [citylink.co.nz] will give you a gigabit connection, although you can get 10 or 100 megabit [paradise.net.nz]. You can get a gigabit ethernet connection between two buildings, though.

      You can also get a 2 megabit wireless citylink connection, which has a larger coverage area than the faster wired connections.
  • by Anonymous Coward
    Where they don't even have electricity most of the time in the CBD!
  • Are they allowed to freelance on what they want to connect within their little sections of the lan? If I have a business and I wanna run oh, I don't know, OS2 for example, would I be able to? Or would I be stuck running something else? Anyone know?
  • by MosesJones (55544) on Wednesday January 30, 2002 @09:06AM (#2924848) Homepage
    "We never had the luxury of spending lots of money," says Naylor. "We needed to be able to make do with less."

    So in other words, all of the people elsewhere with massive budgets have been conned into buying large amounts of expensive kit to get less for their money than these guys.

    Brains 1 - Suits 0

    The most impressive thing about this is the simplicity of it. This isn't next gen tech or anything this is just someone who had the smarts to think

    "Hang on we supply electricity via a distributed network rather than Point 2 Point, why can't we do the same with the internet... hang on its cheaper as well"

    Real issue here though is that the City backed up the smart guy rather than getting CorporationX to do it, had then gone for the latter route they would be right where the rest of us are with our T1s to the Telco backbones.

    I predict this won't happen in big cities because they have too much money to be sensible.
  • open source too (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Alien54 (180860) on Wednesday January 30, 2002 @09:07AM (#2924853) Journal
    As another cost-cutting measure, Citylink uses a generic computer running Debian Linux and SMTP management software, as well as a number of other open-source tools: NetSaint Network Monitor, NocMonitor, MRTG, and Cricket . And the company builds its own routers, rather than dropping the money on hardware. Naylor says a comparable Cisco router would cost him $25,000 NZ or roughly $11,500 U.S.; Citylink builds its own routers for $2,500.

    that is pretty cool. lots of other juicy details in there as well.

    • if this company can build its own routers for significantly less than the money everybody else pays cisco, why hasn't the rest of the planet caught on ?
      • Routers come in different costs. I have a LinkSys DSL/CableModem Router/Switch/Firewall for $90 and it works good too. But It dosent have the flexibility as the Cisco Router does. You can also configure a Linux/Unix/Whatever box to run as a router as well for a cost of a box and your time.
        This company makes routers That is more powerfull then they LinkSys and not as much as the Cisco. Or mabey it is just as good as Cisco but bosses want a name brand and a company they know and have a lot of stock in.
      • In a lot of situations, an old PC with a bunch of ethernet cards, GNU/Linux, and Zebra [zebra.org] would be perfectly fine for a router. Memory is cheeper, and it's probably faster (though a Cisco 2500 is still plenty powerful enough for the task). A PC also is quite a bit more flexible. Further, in the case of Zebra, the syntax used is very similar to Cisco's IOS, so there is a smaller learning curve for those who are used to IOS already.



        However, one drawback is security. On a Cisco router, you only have to worry about someone breaking the IOS system; with Zebra, you have to worry about someone breaking the underlieing OS AND Zebra itself. Breaking either gives you access to the router itself. Further, IOS has been around for years and has been throughly debugged. Zebra is not quite in a 1.0 release. Plus there are features; Zebra won't have support for multicast routing protocols until 2.0.



        You basically have to decide if the extra expense of a Cisco router is worth whatever reduction in secuiry and stability. And you can't go the Zebra if you need multicast (like for streaming videos, game servers, whatever).

        • Oh, yeah, Cisco security. I hear they even discovered SSH recently, so perhaps in the future they won't want to telnet in to maintain your Internet visible routers.

          The reasons people buy Cisco are:

          1/ Support.
          2/ Everyone else does.
        • However, one drawback is security. On a Cisco router, you only have to worry about someone breaking the IOS system; with Zebra, you have to worry about someone breaking the underlieing OS AND Zebra itself.

          Is IOS entirely monolithic anyway.

          Breaking either gives you access to the router itself.

          Even if this is running a general purpose operating system does not mean that every single application that OS can run will be installed.

          Further, IOS has been around for years and has been throughly debugged.

          Wern't their problems with Cisco routers and Code Red HTTP probing. Dosn't sound that throughly debugged. Also you are comparing closed source with open source...

          Zebra is not quite in a 1.0 release. Plus there are features; Zebra won't have support for multicast routing protocols until 2.0.

          This is more a matter of being "feature complete" than "debugged". Do Cisco routers support IP v6 yet?
    • I caught this:

      "As another cost-cutting measure, Citylink uses a generic computer..."

      Generic? I'm guessing they mean a WinTel box, with the "Win" bit replaced.

      If Microsoft hadn't decided to go into the OS commodity business, we wouldn't today have a commodity hardware business.

      Eat your heart out, Apple.
      • I would assume they mean "generic" as opposed to Dell or Compaq computers actually.
      • by the same token, if Apple hadn't INVENTED the personal computer, there would never have been a market.
        • Apple invented the personal computer? What kind of history rewrite is this?!?!?!?!!!!

          I mean, the 4004, 8008, 8080 were out there way before the 6502 (if that's where you're going).

          In any case, even were I to accept your proposition, Apple dropepd the ball long ago.
          • maybe POPULARISED would have been a better word - but he was prokin' me.. anyhow, people don't buy chips, they buy computers. And the Apple II was the computer that they bought. Go talk to WOZ about the personal computer, he did more to make it a reality than almost anyone else.
      • by fm6 (162816)
        If Microsoft hadn't decided to go into the OS commodity business, we wouldn't today have a commodity hardware business.
        I'm afraid you have your history muddled. The "generic" computer existed before MS got into the OS business, and is the reason why they did so. (The more usual term is "commodity computer", which more accurately describes its origins and role.) Of course it wasn't called "generic" or "commodity" at that time. It was called "The IBM Personal Computer".

        Those three letters were magic. At the time, computing was dominated by big expensive mainframes, and IBM had no less than 90% of that market. They were, in other words, the Microsoft of the 60s and 70s. To survive, your product had to be compatible with the IBM PC at every level. IBM itself took a long time to see this, and came out with non-compatible systems like the PCjr and the PS/2. Which is why the "IBM-compatible" market isn't dominated by IBM.

        The one way Microsoft helped out was by providing a crappy operating system -- actually more like a glorified program loader. Since MS-DOS did such a lousy job of insulating applications from the hardware, apps had to incorporate a lot of hardware-specific functionality. Which forced IBM's competitors to emulate the PC at a very low level.

        Everybody engineering to the same specs created opportunities for commodity manufacturers -- and created the "generic" computer. Which still has basic design features that totally suck -- like that big heat-generating internal power supply.

        Perhaps if Microsoft had hired somebody who knew Jack Shit about re-entrant code or how to write a scheduler, we'd all still be using proprietary architectures. Kind of ironic.

        • You're forgetting why IBM got into that business. There were Apples, S/100 bus, and CP/M machines (the last two overlap, there were S/100 that ran CP/M). The Apples & S/100 were similar to the IBM clone in that there were multiple OS's available. The owner would choose the OS which they liked best. The CP/M world was similar to the wintel world we see now. CP/M masked a lot of the underlying hardware, so that it didn't matter how your display worked or the type of serial port.

          Business people were buying Apples & Kaypros and Osbornes, and IBM wanted to get a piece of that market, though they were as supprised as anyone by the sucess of the IBM PC. They opted for a 8088 based system, and that's when Microsoft got into the OS business.

          • All you say is true. I wasn't trying to argue that IBM did anything new or original. As you point out, they were simply hopping on a bandwagon already populated by Apple, Digital Research, and S/100 vendors.

            Which only reinforces my point -- that Microsoft didn't create this technology or the market. They just used the PC to dominate it. Or rather, they stumbled into a dominate role -- thanks to their relationship with IBM.

            Thanks for reminding me of CP/M -- a real OS that was the obvious choice for IBM to bundle with the PC. If IBM had come to terms with Digital Research, the implications are mind-boggling. It's a minor detail that Mister Bill wouldn't be rich. As you say, CP/M allows apps to be hardware independent. So other vendors wouldn't have had to copy the PC so closely.

            This would have had a big plus and a big minus. The big plus would be that machines would work a lot better than they do -- better OS architecture, and hardware vendors could have concentrated on improving performance, rather than slavishly copying the PC. The big minus is that all the standardized hardware we now have wouldn't exist -- no commodity systems, and thus no $400 routers in Wellington.

            • Thanks for reminding me of CP/M -- a real OS that was the obvious choice for IBM to bundle with the PC. If IBM had come to terms with Digital Research, the implications are mind-boggling. It's a minor detail that Mister Bill wouldn't be rich. As you say, CP/M allows apps to be hardware independent.

              However QDOS (which Microsoft bought) was a clone of CP/M. There are plenty of bits in MS DOS which are very CP/M like indeed.
              • Yes and no. QDOS (and thus early versions of MS-DOS) imitated the CP/M API very closely. But the implementation was quite another matter. The guy who wrote QDOS didn't understand a lot of the computer science behind the API. So he coded in things like no-re-entrant procedures that were to haunt MS-DOS to the very end.
  • Scaleable? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by JJ (29711)
    Is this approach scaleable? Wellington itself is really not a large city and being the capital, an extraordinary portion of the business is governmental. Both of these have to cause problems when trying to extend this system beyond the "Windy City". BTW, Wellington is much windier than Chicago, the other "WC".
    • Re:Scaleable? (Score:1, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward
      Actually, the reason that Chicago is called the Windy City is that during the battel for who was going to host the 1900(?) world's fair, Chicago made all kinds of promises for the site that it was goign to be hosted on. In response some mayor said "Don't believe those Windy politicians from Chicago!", windy politicians==Windy city, the name stuck.
    • good question. From what the article tells us, it seems that Wellington has a tram sytem with overhead power, which are easy to string lightweight fibre onto. In a city like London, there are no tram wires to exploit so you'd still have to dig the road - and that costs a fortune.
      • Re:Scaleable? (Score:2, Interesting)

        by kiwi_james (512638)
        Just to be a pedant, Wellington doesn't have trams, it has trolley buses. These are electric buses which get their power from overhead wires, but are steered just like a bus (of course they can't stray too far from the wires!). There's also a cable car as well in Wellington, but no trams.

        Onto the point I was going to make...I remember a few years ago they were talking about taking out all the trolley buses because the buses were in need of replacement and it would be too expensive to replace them - normal buses were the desired replacement. Bit of a bummer for CityLink if they did tear down all the wires.

        I hope they keep the buses, because it would seem that lots of other cities ripped up this kind of network in the 70s and 80s only to start regretting it later.
      • From what the article tells us, it seems that Wellington has a tram sytem with overhead power, which are easy to string lightweight fibre onto. In a city like London, there are no tram wires to exploit so you'd still have to dig the road - and that costs a fortune.

        Alternativly you could lease some space from LRT. The oldest tube lines were constricted by "cut and cover" under roads.
    • Windy City? The BBS? :)
  • Right... (Score:2, Insightful)

    by keiferb (267153)
    More like gigabit intranet. Once you hit the bottleneck, you're moving at the same speed as the rest of us. =)
  • by Eskimo Bob (546493) on Wednesday January 30, 2002 @09:10AM (#2924871) Homepage Journal
    Wouldn't that be a MAN, not a LAN?

    It's bloomin' rad is what it is. It's actually nice when a city provides, what's seen as, neccessary infrastructure to the businesses in the city.

    But, uhhhh... think of all the sheep porn going over those cables, man! The amount of sick, New Zealand sheep porn you can get on the internet will increase a billion fold once they get all 1000 Kiwi's on the network.

    New Zealand - Where men are men and sheep are nervous.
    • You know, it's really interesting....

      Australians say that New Zealanders sleep with sheep.

      New Zealanders say Australians sleep with sheep.

      Sounds to me like the sheep are the only ones getting any action!
  • As someone else just pointed out: Brains 1 - Suite 0.
    Although I do wonder how much the service costs, and what other costs would the locals need to budget for to get running on the network?
    Also, who is in charge of the Linux firewall boxes - someone inside the companies I'd hope, but what if the company doesn't have someone to run the machine?
    I'd love to hear more about this system - and see the details in how it was built.
    • Re:Very, very nice (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Diabolical (2110)
      As the article points out, the companies hooked up to the Wellington backbone are responsible for their own network.

      It states clearly that "It's a normal LAN with client-owned routers at the edge. Clients implement their own firewall protection"

      The costs will probably be very low... using opensource and all their overhead will be at a minimum. The costs a company makes is nothing more then they normally would have to pay for materials like a router and firewall.. it can be whatever they want..

      What i am interested in is if this scheme would work in rural area's. What would be it's breakeven point....?
  • "Socialist!" (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday January 30, 2002 @09:15AM (#2924894)
    I don't live in NZ. Nor do I live in Europe. I live in the U.S. If city sewer systems were invented this morning, any town council member in a randomly chosen Midwest U.S. town who suggests that the city maybe ought to connect a network of sewers between all the houses and businesses and then get a system to pay for that (a collective good) out of the collective treasury, surely there would be an uproar. "How dare they take my money for a service whether I want to use it or not!"

    Or not????

    Better to s**t on everyone else, eh?

    If the raw paranoiac/Hobbesian profit motive isn't behind it, most folks areound here would never go for it. Damn the benefits. Who knows? Maybe in 2050, members of Congress will be saying, "If we vote for legislation X, then we might catch up with New Zealand's GDP."

    • You might be interested in the fact that this same service is being deployed in many different places around the world, for profit.

      To counter the "socialist" arguments, lots of places I've lived have private water suppliers who always provide cleaner water than the "city" supply. Yes, even through their own pipes in the ground.

      Metropolitan area fiber providers exist and are flourishing, selling LAN like speeds across town and further. there are lots of companies selling this kind of equipment [atrica.com] from the startups to Lucent, the company formerly known as Bell Labs.

      There are styles for wiring your own little community together on the cheap [terawave.com], then providing ISP service through something like the Linux router mentioned in this article.

      The only "unique" feature to this project is its starting as a "community" project. However, since no one is forced to pay for it, no one is forced to use it, it's hardly "socialist".

      I applaud the for-thinking of the design engineers. This might as well be called an "open source" project all by itself! Vivat!

      Bob-

  • LAN Party? (Score:2, Funny)

    by u8nogard (546370)
    With Wellington's population of only 166,000 (excluding the suburbs)...

    Hum... out of the percentage of the population here, how many of them are online gamers? In opinion, that is one nice LAN party going on!
    • no joke man.... just imagine the sweet pings people must be getting.... you know the kids (both young and old) around there are eating it up. *incredibly jealous*
  • its slashdotted already... it sounds like an interesting article, help us out here :-)

    soup
  • by Ionized (170001) on Wednesday January 30, 2002 @09:26AM (#2924935) Journal
    why hasn't anyone thought of this before? I could certainly see broadband catching on as a public utility type of thing, instead of a luxury thing. Much how telephones and then cable television did in the past. Not only would it allow for cheaper overall costs, but having a citywide intranet @ gig-e speeds would be amazingly useful for telecommuting/VPN, gaming with friends, or any other number of good stuff.
    • This has been done in a lot of small suburbs. There was one in Norway or something (I don't have the link). But I think this is the first time it's been done to this scale. Just so you know, this would not be possible to do in the US. There are far too many regulations preventing this from happening. In addition, telco companies would fight for this to never happen.
  • Citylink's genesis dates back to the late 1980s, when Richard Naylor, IT manager for the city council, realized certain areas of Wellington were susceptible to power outages even at times when there was plenty of power in other parts of the city. A plant on one side of the city might suffer a shortage, while another remained at full power.

    "We needed to balance the loads by connecting them," Naylor says. So he ran a fiber optic cable between the plants, allowing them to compensate by sharing power when one was hit by a shortage.


    Distributing power over fibre optics, and already in the eighties ?? That's very advanced.
  • Mirror (Score:2, Informative)

    by Idimmu Xul (204345)
    Some people said it was slashdotted(?).. so here's a mirror.. Mirror Here [ntlworld.com]
  • George Bush and congress are considering Government incentives to build out nation wide high-speed (whatever they think that is) internet access.

    So with our Government on the case we should all have 1.5 Mbps in about 30-40 years.
    • Incentives mean that whoever lays the cable gets a monopoly on it. Then Time-Warner/AOL will start prioritizing packets so competitors' sites will perform poorly. After that, they'll realize that streaming video is competition to cable, and they'll limit video streams to a maximum of 10 minutes because "[They] didn't spend $56 billion laying cables just to have the blood sucked out of [them].

      And there you have it. The internet will just become an enhancement to cable TV.

      What we need is deregulation of the Cable internet access, like there is with DSL.
    • This is probably anticompetitive, if my understanding of Bush is correct. He's probably following the Tauzin-Dingell "incentives" line of crap being pushed by the telcos, who want to stop supporting competitive DSL providers. I for one have zero confidence that this particular promise will go anywhere.
  • by justin_schoeman (203052) on Wednesday January 30, 2002 @09:41AM (#2925029)
    OK - I think the ZDnet editor should get him/herself a dictionary of computer and networking terms:

    Normally LANs are used by a single organization at best true, but for a good reason. LANs that span multiple buildings are technically refferred to as WANs, regardless of the underlying technology.
    And the 2.5k$ gigabit router? Not. A commodity PC cannot even reach maximum throughput on a single gigabit NIC, nevermind routing between them. The only way to do this would be to use a decent server-class M/B with 64bit/66MHz PCI bus - which would take the total system cost above 2.5k$. A more moderate PC could indeed be used for residential/small business gateways, but you would not get gigabit throughput.

    Just my 2c worth...
    -justin
    • lucky you're such an expert, Justin. What with all your experience of building city-wide ethernet networks, why not give 'em a call in Wellington and offer some friendly advice you FUCKING TWAT.
    • by Anonymous Coward
      While I understand the jist of the article
      was that businesses had access to 1Gbps,
      do you really think that this is actually the
      case?

      I think it is more probable that each
      business is running 100Mbps locally,
      so saturating 1Gbps is a problem
      they aren't interested in.

      They are interested in cheap uplink to a fat
      pipe, and that's what they have
      for $2.5k instead of a cisco.

      I agree that if they get to the point
      where a business-to-business connection
      actually wants 1Gbps, they are fucked.
    • Isn't the term for the type of network they're creating a "MAN", or Metropolitan Area Network? There was a big push for these several years ago. Indeed, and I'm not diminishing the accomplishment involved in getting this done in NZ, I know of several towns in Southern Ontario that outfitted their entire town with fiber optics for control systems (because of attenuation problems/distance they couldn't use copper), and they offered businesses internet access at least 3 years ago: I think this is a pretty common thing for `hydro' (which is what we call combo electricity/water companies here) to do. Now they don't sign everyone up for free, nor do I think they should: Why should the city foot a giant bill because a guy is hosting a mega porn server when the next business is using it to check hotmail once a day?

    • The only way to do this would be to use a decent server-class M/B with 64bit/66MHz PCI bus - which would take the total system cost above 2.5k$.

      Over $2.5K?

      PriceWatch lists motherboards with those specs for $260US...

    • And the 2.5k$ gigabit router? Not. A commodity PC cannot even reach maximum throughput on a single gigabit NIC, nevermind routing between them. The only way to do this would be to use a decent server-class M/B with 64bit/66MHz PCI bus - which would take the total system cost above 2.5k$

      Show your work.

      I routinely build sub-$2k machines with 64-bit/66MHz GigE NICs. Server-class Mobos are only $500, and if you use copper, you can get NICs for $200. The LX NICs will be more, but still sub-$500 in small quantities. So that leave the rest of the PC, which is less than $1k.
  • Now if only my pr0n servers could keep up with my gigabit ethernet, I'd be happy!
  • by Anonymous Coward
    In Gävle, weden there is a citywide LAN already. A nifty NAT with Gigabitbackbone and 100Mbps to each houshold. Some households even got fiber installed all the way.

    Västerås Sweden has built there redundant Gigabit backbone. They are working on connecting the companies and households.

    The diffrent between the two city-LANs is that Gävle includes a Internet-connection as standard. Västerås only sells the fiber within the city. I think Gävle made the best, people don't want to buy cabel and Internet. They just want to surf.
  • Damn.. combine this with the $5k Terabyte array and you get a kick ass network for less than an average years salary... this should enable us to do some nice things for less fortunate countries with just a small fundraising....
  • I wan't the revolutionary power over fibre-optic cable that the article mentions. I mean, they had it back in the eighties!
  • Citylink uses a generic computer running Debian Linux and SMTP management software

    Somehow I don't think they're sending email messages to their routers in order to alter network behaviour.
  • by ruvreve (216004) on Wednesday January 30, 2002 @10:22AM (#2925235) Journal
    New Zealand has a fiber optic pipe that crosses the Pacific Ocean, which maintains generally high bandwidth along the way

    And then when the fiber connection terminates somewhere in the United States we slow it back down so those people down under don't look better then us.

  • Article inaccuracy? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Luminous Coward (445673) on Wednesday January 30, 2002 @10:45AM (#2925337)
    As another cost-cutting measure, Citylink uses a generic computer running Debian Linux and SMTP management software [...]
    Hmmm... Shouldn't that be SNMP as in Simple Network Management Protocol?

    Straight from RFC 2962:

    There are currently three versions of SNMP. SNMP version 1 (SNMPv1) protocol is defined in STD 15, RFC 1157. The SNMP version 2c (SNMPv2c) protocol is defined in RFC 1901, RFC 1905 and RFC 1906. Finally, the SNMP version 3 (SNMPv3) protocol is defined in RFC 1905, 1906, RFC 2572 and RFC 2574. See RFC 2570 for a more detailed overview over the SNMP standards.

    • by regen (124808)
      The article was littered with errors. For example:

      So he ran a fiber optic cable between the plants, allowing them to compensate by sharing power when one was hit by a shortage.

      I really doubt that the power plants are sharing power via a fiber optic cable.

      Or how about the network speed, is it 100 Mbps (Fast Ethernet) or 1,000 Mbps (Gig Ethernet).
      From the article:

      Citylink runs at Fast Ethernet speeds of up to 1,000Mbps

      This article is so full of errors, I don't know if I should believe it.

      • by PhiRatE (39645)
        Believe it :) I'm posting from it.

        Its gig ether on a (generally) switched network. You can purchase 10, 100 or gig endpoints from citylink. More details are available on www.citylink.co.nz.
  • Drool some more (Score:4, Informative)

    by Luminous Coward (445673) on Wednesday January 30, 2002 @11:18AM (#2925506)
    Hehehe, some of you are drooling over 1 Gbps. You might be interested in 10 Gbps Ethernet [convergedigest.com] which is now close to ratification [convergedigest.com].

    802.3ae [ieee.org], as the IEEE lovingly calls it, is backed by the 10GEA [10gea.org] (10 Gbps Ethernet Alliance). The founding members of the 10GEA are small companies you might have heard of such as 3Com, Cisco, Intel, Nortel or Sun.

    • I've tried out some Gigabit and it's not bad, but not easy. More for routers & backbones than desktops. Maybe for servers if they can shovel more than 10-40 Mbyte/s.

      In my tests with `ttcp`, the best I can get is around 32 MByte/s between two PCs plugged together.


      To get higher, you need PCI 64/66. The normal PCI bus can carry 4bytes*33 MHz = 133 MB/s (1066 Mb/s) but only during bursts. There is significant setup time, and the bursts are fairly short. Maybe I could get better throughput if I tweak the PCI registers, but I risk starving some other device.

      • Re:stop drooling (Score:2, Interesting)

        The normal PCI bus can carry 133 MB/s (1066 Mb/s) but only during bursts.
        I think we can agree that "consumer-grade" PCI is running out of steam, even on personal computers. However, there are several contenders waiting at the gate. HyperTransport, 3GIO, RapidIO, PCI-X, InfiniBand. One of them is bound to show up eventually in high-end personal computers. I think I can keep on drooling :)

        I enjoyed two articles on ExtremeTech: High-Performance Buses and Interconnects [extremetech.com] by Leon Erlanger (dated November 8, 2001) and The Interconnect Conundrum [extremetech.com] by Nick Stam (dated January 28, 2002).


  • "New report from police shows clan based killing up 500%."

    "Three downtown businessmen fragged after work."

    "City's parents concerned that 31337 haXor sqillz are not be emphasized enough in school."

    "Downtown city celebrates 3rd annual Everquest celebration festival... citizens urged to stay home."
  • by KingM (466957) on Wednesday January 30, 2002 @11:28AM (#2925583)
    Reading articles like this just make me so damn depressed. In South Africa, we have a major problem with our Telecommunications company. They're a monopoly who controls absolutely every single aspect of communications in this country. We are being held back by huge laws which prohibit the use of any other internet connection system or device if it is not using Telkom's infrastructure. The worst thing is that the best connection we can get to the internet in this country is ISDN if you can't fork out the megabucks for a Leased Line solution. What absolutely grates me more is the mere fact that they close down companies who attempt to run alternative connection systems. Wireless providers start up but get shut down very quickly thanks to the Telkom legislation. Connecting to your neighbour is also illegal if you take a cat5 cable and run it over the wall! By the mere definitions in the legislative clauses Telkom enjoys the right to force you to rent their equipment only. And when you have 3.5 million people connecting to the internet over a duplexed 45meg pipe to the international spectrum, it must measure up to the worst infrastructures for Internet enabled countries in the world. And we're supposed to be the gateway to Africa?

    I hope that someday things will change and we can also have a 1000 mbps LAN connecting our cities.
  • by nramsay (23117) on Wednesday January 30, 2002 @11:32AM (#2925605) Homepage
    The Citylink website is:
    www.citylink.co.nz [citylink.co.nz]
  • by liquidsin (398151) on Wednesday January 30, 2002 @11:51AM (#2925727) Homepage
    ...awww, fuck it.
  • This isn't a LAN, it's a MAN (Metropolitan Area NEtwork). A MAN that's based on a protocol more normally used in LANs, but a MAN nevertheless.

    They have a rather nifty one in Soho in London that servers the film industry there. No, not that sort of film! Media companies usually have prestige offices there. http://www.sohonet.co.uk/ is the link.
  • by sulli (195030) on Wednesday January 30, 2002 @12:02PM (#2925787) Journal
    I loved this:

    QoS: No worries: Many IT departments say that prioritizing packets is vital if you want to run applications and send important files over the Internet. Because of Citylink's sheer speed and capacity, De Wit says adding quality of service (QoS) features isn't necessary. "QoS is a problem for others because they only have so much space in the pipe," he says. "We can fit all the traffic we want onto our Ethernet, so why do we need to worry about prioritizing?" Also, because of the generous capacity, DeWit says data collisions, which are often a concern on LANs, aren't such an issue with Citylink.

    Seriously. QoS is a waste of time if you just have enough capacity.

  • Addressing Scheme (Score:3, Interesting)

    by acoustix (123925) on Wednesday January 30, 2002 @12:19PM (#2925862) Homepage
    Since they consider themselves a LAN, I was wondering what addressing scheme they're using.

    Are they using "real" IP addresses? If so, what class?

    Or are they using public address (10.0.0.0) with a NAT box to access the internet?

    Just wondering.
    • Neither, it's a layer 2 network.
    • Re:Addressing Scheme (Score:2, Informative)

      by ewen (218843)
      Since they consider themselves a LAN, I was wondering what addressing scheme they're using. Are they using "real" IP addresses? If so, what class?

      Citylink offers two main services. One is a "dark fiber" connection (they put it in, manage it for you) which lets you do whatever you like with it. This is the equivilent of a leased line from a telco between two buildings you own (or you and a client). You can use any addresses, protocols, etc, on that without affecting anyone else.

      The other service is their public MAN. All the ISPs in New Zealand (all the significant ones with any presence in Wellington anyway) are connected to this Citylink public MAN. To use it for Internet access you go to one of these ISPs and get some addresses assigned for you to use. Because it's a layer-2 network, all these addresses from different ISPs can be used in parallel without affecting each other. (Just like you can on a LAN segment for testing, etc.)

      The really big win of the public MAN and all the ISPs being connected is that changing ISP is pretty easy if you need to -- you just need new IP addresses (for CIDR allocations), or a new set of routing entries (for those with real address space of their own). Makes it a lot cheaper, and easier, than having to get new leased lines run, etc.

  • Something similar, anyway. It has always been very impressive when a single company takes on the immense task of wiring a large area. And people are always very impressed with it and will pay that company money for the service that can be provided once the network is in place... for a certain amount of time, anyway.

    Do you think the government will eventually insist that Citylink open up the network that they created to competitors? Regardless of how good Citylink is, they're still a monopoly, or eventually will be. One can only hope that they'll be a responsible monopoloy.

    RP
  • Optical Power!!! (Score:2, Interesting)

    by sitturat (550687)
    "So he ran a fiber optic cable between the plants, allowing them to compensate by sharing power when one was hit by a shortage."

    This is one of many strange statements in the article. I'm not the 1st one to point this out, but transmitting POWER over OPTICAL fibre is not really possible (at least outside NZ).
  • But... (Score:2, Informative)

    by IanBevan (213109)
    ... I lived in Wellington for a number of years up until a few months ago (it's a terrific place BTW, wifey and I will be breeding there :) ... the main problem has been the pipe out of NZ. I had XADSL about 300 metres from a city centre exchange and had an 8Mbit connection to the 'net (wow!). Trouble was, I could still only get about 30-35K per sec from anywhere outside of NZ because of latency and pipe-size problems. This made watching streaming movies etc. impossible - unless they were on a local server (in NZ), when I could get 300K/sec speeds.

    I understand that this has eased with the introduction of the Southern Cross, which is the new fibre optic channel connecting us to Australia. I'm looking forward to going home soon to see the improvements.

    Unfortunately, TelecomNZ charge by volume. Even though I could get 300K/sec, I was only allowed 600MB per month before hitting excess per MB charges. I looked just a few days ago and that's still the situation, I don't know if this is because they're greedy (what, a telco, surely not...) or because they're trying to limit the Southern Cross usage by retail customers.

    Ian
  • by ikekrull (59661) on Wednesday January 30, 2002 @04:05PM (#2927184) Homepage
    I am the sys. admin for a Wellington-based technology business, and we use Citylink to connect to ISPs and other sites.

    Recently, we moved premises and because Citylink was available in both locations, i have been able to securely bridge my two locations (using Linux-running routers on both ends) transparently over Citylink, which means the users don't even notice that all the servers and outbound router are still down the road.

    LAN traffic averages about 2Mbps across the link, and if we had done this using our link to TelstraSaturn (our ISP) we would have ended up with a bandwith bill of extraordinary proportions.

    The link was set up simply by assigning an unused 192.168.x.x address to both ends of the connection, running VTUN across this link and then bridging the virtual interfaces using Linux's bridge-utils.

    There is no reason this concept couldn't be expanded to link arbitary numbers of sites into a nice, flat, stable, secure 'WAN'. In fact, this is exactly what i will be doing to fulfil some of my company's disaster-recovery requirements.

    I couldn't be happier with the support, stability and speed Citylink provides.
  • Citylink is good (Score:3, Informative)

    by parryr (67836) on Wednesday January 30, 2002 @04:06PM (#2927186) Homepage
    I live and work in Wellington, and our company is wired with Citylink. My last employer (a government department) were also wired on the network.

    Basically we get a full duplex 100Mb Ethernet cable hanging in our machine room, and we can participate on the BGP peering system available on the network.

    In New Zealand, ISP tarrif charges can be high (at least, this is the dirty rumour going about). For about, er, NZD$350 per month, we can get all-you-can-eat traffic to any of our peers without crossing an ISP. It's free, and fast.

    The slowest access available is 10Mb (Ethernet). So, worst case scenario is that your updates to local servers (like linux.wellington.net.nz, for example) are blazingly fast; 100Mb access to the same server is staggering.

    Naylor's vision was extraordinary, and has enabled Wellington to be a wired city in ways most people can only dream about :) We have cheap access to a high speed MAN, peering with our neighbours, and a really quick and easy way to connect to our ISPs without paying telco frame relay charges etc.

    Unfortunately, it didn't just spring up overnight. I've been working with Citylink connected places for what, about four years now. The network has grown and expanded since then, gaining better core kit and so on. It's amazing now, and promises to get better. What cities need to appreciate is that it won't happen overnight; your network needs to grow organically overnight. Pick a good location for installation, get some interested companies, and be willing to take a little bit of a hit in the first year.

    Wellington is kind of unique in that the entire central business district is walking distance from everywhere; you can cover the city on foot in any direction for business purposes in about 45 minutes or so. However, Auckland (a larger city in New Zealand) is starting to get on the ball with their APE (Auckland Peering Exchange). Auckland is a sprawling behemouth that has traffic congestion problems shocking for a city its size. But if they can do it, so can you :)

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