How Linux and OSS helps power the world’s largest pre-WiMAX wireless broadband network
Unwired Australia runs a pre-WiMAX 3.5GHz non-line-of-sight wireless broadband ISP with 185 base stations covering 2000km˛ (3.5 million people) in Sydney. Built from ground zero in record time and under budget, launched in Aug 2004, and with over 28,000 customers in just over 10 month’s operation (capturing up to 17% of new broadband users), Unwired has come a long way. A network of this type and scale had never been attempted before. Many unforeseen obstacles were encountered, and we have learned much in the process. We met our initial design goals of coverage, capacity, cost and simplicity, but the complexities of managing the technology, the traffic environment, and overall performance forced us to come up with in-house innovative solutions and specialised tools. We leveraged the power and flexibility of OSS and linux to help build and tame the beast, and in this talk we describe some of the problems and solutions.
Phillip Allan Ridley
Completed BE(Comp) degree in RAAF. Left in 1997 and joined fledgling bigpond.com when we had 30K users. Managed testing, security, systems architecture and programming roles in that time. Left in 2002 when we had 1.5M users. Worked a year at F2.com.au as systems architect, specialising in large scale systems. Recently designed www.unwired.com.au WiMAX-style WISP. We are now the largest non-line-of-sight wireless broadband network in the world with 30K+ customers, in just on 12 months, and intend to be the first 802.16e large scale deployment in the world. We are heavily linux/OSS based, (costs and short timeframes being one issue why) and had to solve some difficult and unusual problems using linux, right down to refactoring some common applications for standard protocols, and designing some quite sophisticated network tools to help us manage it (we have almost 200 RF base stations). Fun stuff you might like to hear about.