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 cat."


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.


Getting started in Sonoma County, CA


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 these include:

Mailing Lists

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 more information.


Internet Relay Chat

Feel free to come discuss NoCatAuth and other wireless topics on #wireless at 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.


Community Info

West Sonoma Co. Internet Cooperative Corporation
The WSCICC is a group of folks who have banded together to provide Wireless Based internet access in the DSL deserts of Sonoma County.

Technical Info

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 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).

Antennas, etc.

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 steam
New Zealand Based wireless community.
La Cañada Wireless
A co-op in Santa Fe, started about a year ago and coming along very nicely.'s community wireless network list.
Personal Telco's List
A Definitive group list from PTP.