Albert Einstein, when asked to describe radio, replied:
"You see, wire telegraph is a kind of a very, very long cat. You pull his
tail in New York and his head is meowing in Los Angeles. Do you understand
this? And radio operates exactly the same way: you send signals here, they
receive them there. The only difference is that there is no
2/1/06: The new free book Wireless Networking for the Developing World has been officially released. You can download the PDF for free, or order a print and bound edition. Check out the wiki and contribute to the next edition!
6/11/05: The front page got a facelift. We finally did away with the old tables and logo and are actually using some CSS now. Enjoy!
1/5/04: Bruce has updated his great map of the network. See the small version, or the 6 megabyte version.
11/17/03: We'd like to thank Carl Moberg of Streakwave for the generous donation of cable, antennas, and outdoor enclosures. Streakwave is a dealer for all sorts of antennas, pigtails, customer premise equipment, and other bits and pieces of the sorts of things that we buy.
7/28/03: NoCatAuth/Splash now has a wiki.
6/9/03: More from Bruce Matson on how the Linksys WET-11 works. This time he is looking at how it handles, and doesn't handle, DHCP requests.
See WET 11 DHCP .
5/29/03: Member Bruce Matson is deep into packet dumps on the Linksys WET11. His first
effort is the Wet Ping, or how I learned to stop worrying and love
the WET. Wait...he didn't say that, I did. Anyway, he is doing great work on analyzing this rather
interesting and low cost bit of kit to enable it to better serve our goals of World Domination and
infinite bandwidth everywhere for free.
3/14/03: In spite of sparse updates, the NoCat network continues to grow and evolve.
We are up to 16 active nodes
have a vibrant technical group, and we had a fun general meeting this past Wednesday.
An anonymous enthusiast has been gracious enough to print out these beautiful
maps on a giant plotter these past couple of meetings.
(See the map smaller, or in the much larger size),
NoCat's goal is to bring you Infinite Bandwidth Everywhere for Free.
What originally started as a community-supported 802.11b
wireless network in Sonoma County, CA has grown into several projects
whose purpose is to encourage the building of
wireless community networks.
This site is the central repository for our software, ideas, and general information.
- NoCatAuth is our original "catch and
release" captive portal implementation. It provides a simple splash screen
web page for clients on your network, as well as a variety of authenticated
modes. It is written in Perl.
- NoCatSplash is the C port of
NoCatAuth. It currently supports a splash screen (also known as "open
mode") and has beta support for authenticated access.
- NoCat Maps is a free node database,
mapping tool, and preliminary site survey tool built entirely with open
- WSCICC is short for the Western Sonoma
County Internet Cooperative. This organization is a registered co-op formed
by local residents to manage the Sonoma County wireless network.
- We also host this site, manage the mailing
lists, go to conferences, publish books and articles, and generally spread the good word of wireless.
Getting started in Sonoma County, CA
- Add yourself to the Node database. This will also give you an
idea as to how easy it will be for you to get on the Community Network.
- Sign up on the mailing list
- Come to a meeting. Connect with a few people and make it happen!
Meeting details are available on the mailing list.
Download the latest release of NoCatAuth
or NoCatSplash. The code is also available from
SourceForge (NoCatAuth | NoCatSplash)
NoCat has been integrated into a variety of commercial networking products. It
will run on just about any access point or router that runs Linux. Some of
We host two discussion lists, the NoCatAuth
developer's list and the NoCat Wireless
Network list (serving Sonoma County, CA and beyond). Use these
links to subscribe, unsubscribe, or change your delivery preferences. The
nocatnet list is for discussion about building and maintaining community
networks only. If you want to talk about NoCatAuth, please do
it on the developers' list.
You can visit the archive of the Development list or the
Network list for
- Schuyler Erle has written virtually
all of the code for NoCatAuth and NoCatSplash, and is a leading expert in
geographic information system technologies.
- Rob Flickenger is one of the original
founders of NoCat, is a long time supporter of wireless networking, and has
written a couple of O'Reilly books on the topic.
- Rich Gibson is a driving force
behind NoCat Maps, and recently published Mapping Hacks (along with Schuyler and
- Roger Weeks
has given his time and expertise to the upkeep of the Sonoma County network, and
- And, of course, there are thousands of others who have contributed their time,
money, bandwidth, hardware, space, ideas, and effort for the cause. Thank
Internet Relay Chat
Feel free to come discuss NoCatAuth and other wireless topics on
#wireless at irc.freenode.net.
NoCat members and developers have been known to hang out there, along with
luminaries from SeattleWireless, PersonalTelco, BAWUG, Houston WUG, and
other wireless groups from around the world.
- West Sonoma Co. Internet Cooperative
- The WSCICC is a group of folks who have banded together to provide Wireless
Based internet access in the DSL deserts of Sonoma County.
- Linksys WET 11 DHCP Packet Dumps
More from Bruce Matson on the WET 11 front. Here he has packet dumps of the WET 11 in response to DHCP requests.
- Linksys WET 11 Ping Packet Dumps
NoCatter Bruce Matson is analyzing the WET 11 in various ways. This is his first effort in
which he examines packet dumps from and over the WET 11 as it responds to ICMP echo requests. This
is part of Bruce's effort to determine why the WET 11 has trouble with DHCP requests.
- Community IP Allocations
- The Network Address Allocation list from FreeNetworks.org. If you have a community network, and want to participate in the shared reserved network numbering scheme, reserve some space here.
- 802.11a/b band plan
- Here's a handy band plan, antenna gain, and power limit chart for 802.11a and 802.11b. From Cisco.
- Another band plan
- This band plan is even nicer, including UNII and ISM restrictions for Europe and USA
- Red Sea Link
- An interesting writeup of a point-to-point link in Hurghada, Egypt. Pringles didn't do it, but that didn't stop Hassan Adly.
- Software AP for Prism cards
- This is the infamous Host AP driver for Linux, by Jouni Malinen.
- Power over Ethernet guide
- A really nice PoE writeup from NYC Wireless.
- NoCat 802.11b FAQ
- A first run at an 802.11b FAQ. Send updates, additions, etc. to faq (at) nocat (dot) net.
- Building Wireless Gateways with 802.11b
- How-to for Linux by Schuyler. Step-by-step, with links and sample configuration files.
- An Overview of the 802.11b Spec
- Rob covers some of the conceptual highlights, and discusses tips for tweaking an existing network.
- Lucent's WaveLAN Wireless Card
- Rob's original article on configuring clients with 802.11b. Linux and Windoze are covered, but ignore the Linux stuff. Plus more links.
- Linux Wireless Tools + Wavelan driver
- The place to get
iwconfig and the WaveLan driver, plus info on setting it up.
You might also try the new orinoco_cs driver, if you're running Linux 2.4.x...
- Some FCC Part 15 Rules
- Tim Pozar's interpretation of the FCC Part 15 Rules on the ISM band (made for the BAWUG).
- LMR chart
- Handy LMR reference chart, from CEPA Inc. Loss at multiple frequencies, power rating, tensile strength, and a bunch of other stats for LMR-100A through LMR-1700.
- FAB Corp wireless
- A Wireless vendor with a wide range of reasonably priced gear. Mention that you're a NoCat member for a discount...
- Primestar BiQuad feed
- Interesting homemade feed for a Primestar dish. Reportedly pulls 27 to 31dBi!
- If you want to connect your radio to an external antenna, you'll need a 'Pigtail' adapter. Look here for some good sources.
- 2.4GHz Antenna Intro
- An article called "Antennas Enhance WLAN Security" from Byte.
It should probably have been called "Everything you ever wanted to know about microwave antennas but were afraid to ask..."
- Coffee can antennas
- A couple of novel 2.4GHz coffee can antenna designs, from the Cyclone Amateur Radio Club.
- Pringles can antenna
- Build your own yagi-in-a-can for a few dollars.
- Microwave Connector Reference
- Our official microwave coax connector reference, complete with pictures.
- Another Microwave Connector Guide
- A list of frequently used microwave connectors (N,TNC,BNC,SMA,etc) with pictures, put together by your friend and mine, the U.S. Naval Air Warfare Center, Weapons Division.
- Interactive Wireless Design CGIs
- Some really nifty utilities for calculating Fresnel Zone, Antenna Tilt, Bearing, and even analyzing a wireless link.
- Cheap antennas and more from Sacramento
- Well built, inexpensive sector antennas, etc. From Canada.
- Reseller of pigtails, antennas, amps (!?), cable, etc. Located in Santa Clara. Carl Moberg of Streakwave
donated gear to NoCat.
- DownEast Microwave
- Ham supplier from New Jersey. Interesting collection of odds and ends.
- Links to mapping and geographic information, and the NoCat Mapping Project.
Community Wireless Network Groups
- Bay Area Wireless User Group (BAWUG)
- They don't build networks, but they do know alot about it. The largest group in the SF Bay Area.
- Bay Area Research Wireless Network.
- BAWUG doesn't build networks, but these BAWUG movers and shakers do!
With antenna sites in some of the highest places, they are moving fast!
- Marin Wireless
- A new group bringing WiFi to Marin County, CA.
- Seattle Wireless
- One of the first community wireless networks, and probably one of the largest.
- Personal Telco
- The Personal Telco Project, Portland, OR.
- NYC Wireless
- Wireless Community Networking in New York City
- Irish Wide Area Network
- Wireless Community Networking across Ireland
- Austin Wireless
- Wireless Internet Everywhere for Austin and surrounding communities
- Reno Area Wireless User's Group
- The Reno Area Wireless Users Group is in its infacy, and picking up
- New Zealand Based wireless community.
- La Cañada Wireless
- A co-op in Santa Fe, started about a year ago and coming along very nicely.
- Toaster.net's community wireless network list.
- Personal Telco's List
- A Definitive group list from PTP.