RE: Cohousing and the information age...
From: Dave Buchanan (
Date: Fri, 11 Apr 1997 19:48:11 -0500
I have replied to a few folks individually on this topic a couple times
over the
last few months -- it's a common enough question that I will copy the
list on this response.

<Computer Nerd Talk Follows>
I am working in Silicon Valley in the thick of cutting-edge networking.
recommendation on the wiring side is to go with "cat five UTP" (Category
Five Unshielded Twisted Pair) wire in the conduit and Fast Ethernet
in all your PCs.  The hub you put in initially can be whatever -- shared
lowcost hub may be fine considering the bandwidth of the telecom
behind it, although if you expect lots of traffic within the community,
it may
make sense to go to shared Fast Ethernet.  In either case, the Fast
cards in the PCs will auto-sense whichever speed the hub is running and
that.  The cat five wire will run either speed (10 or 100 Mbits/sec).

Cat Five wiring is available at a relatively modest premium, considering
speed that it will provide.  Similarly, the Fast Ethernet cards are
under $100
now and run old slow Ethernet when needed.

Local Area connections have ramped in speed in the last two years from
Ethernet to Fast Ethernet in coroporate environments.  The WAN links
continue their price/performance increases, so it pays to "future-proof"
your cabling as indicated above. 


>Sent:  Friday, April 11, 1997 12:21 PM
>Subject:       Cohousing and the information age...
>In the Trillium Hollow Cohousing Group some of us are seriously
>looking into networking up all our units (the building with all
>our units will soon start construction).
>We're curious if others have done/are doing similar things, and
>both how they've gone about it and how the communities as a
>whole responded to it.
>[Geek mode on, for those interested in the technical part]
>Our current plan is as follows:
>  --  Place twisted-pair ethernet hub(s) in telephone wiring room.
>  --  For twisted-pair ethernet connection between the hub in the
>       telephone room and the units, depending on which is available,
>       use either of:  (a) 2 of the available phone pairs in the wall
>       (which is sufficient for ethernet), or (b) cabling pulled
>       through conduit.
>  --  Each unit which is to be connected must get a twisted-pair ethernet
>       connector/adapter for their computer.
>  --  Get a centralized 24-hour (continuous) Internet connection
>       and connect it to the network.  This would be either 56K
>       or possibly 128K/256K fractional T1.  I.e. the same
>       kind of connection as used by a small- to mid-sized company.
>[Geek mode off]
>So, this is a shared full-time Internet connection for the whole
>community, plus having everybody's computers be networked together.
>Benefits include:
>  --  Connectivity without using a phone line.  This is both simpler,
>       as it's always "just there" with no dialing necessary, and
>       less intrusive, as it doesn't tie up a phone line.
>  --  24-hour availability (for those of us who care ;-).
>  --  Easy to share information around the community (we have ideas
>       for things like an electronic bulletin board, internal use
>       of e-mail eases leaving messages for people).
>  --  Similar or cheaper pricing compared to most Internet access
>       deals from online services, and much faster service (on
>       average).
>  --  Much simpler setup for end-users who aren't into computers
>       (electronic community info is web pages, and Internet
>       browsing is just starting up the browser at any time).
>Our pricing strategy is based on the notion that there are a few
>units (currently 2-3 at Trillium Hollow) who will both use more
>of the available resources and use it to support job-related
>activities like telecommuting.  These people will pay a large
>percentage of the operating costs, and then others will pay fees
>similar to current online providers (probably between $10 and
>$20 a month).
>  Erich Stefan Boleyn                 \_ E-mail (preferred):
><erich [at]>
>Mad Genius wanna-be, CyberMuffin        \__      (finger me for other stats)
>Web:     Motto: "I'll live forever or die

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