Re: Latest on Community-wide data systems
From: Perry_rg (
Date: Wed, 16 Mar 2005 10:13:12 -0800 (PST)
If I might make a suggestion.  I would recommend that your community consider 
implementing what is known as "structured wiring".  One way this might be 
implemented would be for each home to have a house distribution center, where 
all the data (network and cable TV) cabling and phone cabling from each 
connection point or wall jack in the house is terminated in a patch panel in 
the house distribution center.  Then, each home's distribution center is 
connected by the appropriate cabling (probably underground) back to a central 
distribution center, perhaps in the common house.  The contracted service 
(Internet access, cable TV, phone) would come into the central distribution 
center and then be distributed as agreed upon to each home.
As I see it, there are a number of advantages to a system such as this.  
Everyone's home in the community could have access to a common data network, 
allowing resources such as laser printers and network data storage to be 
shared.  The community cable TV network could include closed-circuit TV and 
shared satellite TV service, in addition to cable TV service.  There could be a 
common multi-line phone system, allowing features such as paging and voice mail 
between community homes.
The idea is that implementing structured wiring would provide sufficient 
capability to accommodate future technology and be flexible in configuration 
(by virtue of the cross-connection patch panels in each distribution center).  
Most companies are wired this way, and some higher-end homes are also wired in 
a similar fashion.  There are several companies that make home distribution 
center systems, Leviton being one of them.  But, if you can work with a 
contractor that knows what they are doing, or if you have someone in the 
cohousing community that is knowledgeable about networking, telephone systems, 
and cable TV distribution, it would be possible to assemble distribution 
systems and run or specify the cabling yourselves.
If people are interested in pursuing this sort of project, I am available for 
consultation.  I will also do what I can to answer questions on this forum, 
hopefully without overwhelming people with the technical details.
Perry Godwin
Thelema Networks
P.O. Box 25005
Lansing, MI 48909-5005
Phone: (517)485-2544 x3
Email: peregryn2356 [at]

Joel Plotkin <joel [at]> wrote:

Dear folks:

I've checked the archives on community data systems (cable TV and Internet 
access) and found the 1997 technical data very helpful, as well as the 2002 
information. Are there any list members who have more recent information in 
this fast-moving field? 

Hundredfold Farm in Cashtown PA is a rural cohousing project with 14 planned 
homes. We'd like to find a way to get our data and TV without being reliant on 
the big communication companies. Does anyone have experience with community-
owned satellite access? We have heard one opinion that direct satellite links 
are undesirable for Internet access because they do not come with adequate 
firewalls (but this is from someone who subcontracts with the Pentagon). What 
about the big dishes that were popular fifteen years ago for TV? They required 
decoders, but not monthly maintenance fees. We hope to WiFi our system, since 
we're all located close together.

Reply on or off list.
Joel Plotkin

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