Re: Shared Internet
From: Bob Leigh (bobleightwomeeps.com)
Date: Sat, 12 Sep 2020 19:09:16 -0700 (PDT)
At Cornerstone Village Cohousing, near Boston, Mass.,  we have 32 units in 4 
buildings. When we were preparing to build (in the very late 1990's) we were 
advised to install conduit between the buildings and to every unit, even if we 
weren't ready to run network wiring. We ended up having telephone jacks, cable 
outlets, and empty wallboxes for network wiring in almost every room of every 
unit.

We started small, pulling our own Cat5 cables and sharing one cable internet 
connection among about half a dozen apartments in each of two buildings.  This 
worked fairly well, but required a fair amount of tech support from the 
in-house expert (me!).

In 2015, we installed solar panels, and were able to use the inter-building 
conduits for some of the associated wiring.

In about 2016, a couple of additional technology-minded households moved in, 
and we finally had critical mass to plan a community-wide shared network.  We 
ran fiber optic cables between Cisco switches in each building and Cat5e cables 
to individual Ubiquiti wireless access points.  Every unit has decent coverage 
from at least one access point.  Households who want to run their own routers, 
servers, etc. have wired Cat5e cables to the Cisco switches.

We pay Netblazr, a local internet service provider, about $200/month for 
500/500Mbps fixed-wireless service. That fee is paid out of the condominium 
budget, like our common house's utilities. 

The fixed wireless service has been quite reliable.  There are momentary 
glitches during some major storms, but those are barely noticeable.  An 
explosion and fire in a group of underground cable vaults across town knocked 
us (and some other Netblazr customers) offline for about a week, but we patched 
together minimal service by sharing some residents' cable modem connections.

-- 
Bob Leigh       bobleigh [at] twomeeps.com
Cornerstone Village Cohousing, Cambridge, Massachusetts

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