Re: Internet Service
From: Dirk Herr-Hoyman (
Date: Sat, 30 Jun 2007 04:35:15 -0700 (PDT)
Hi Sharron-  I'll have to confess I have an alternate view of doing
an intranet within a cohousing community.  Given the costs of
buying DSL or Cable or Satellite internet ($20 or so a month),
the level of service you get from these, and the pace of technology
change, I am recommending our cohousing have individuals do their
own internet directly with these service providers.
I work in IT for a major university (University of Wisconsin)
and have done a lot of telecommunications and networking over the
years, plus I'm a doit-yourself kinda guy.  I just see where
we can provide our own service at a lower cost or at as high a
level, it's likely both will be worse.

In terms of getting our own "servers", oh like for video or
web or email, that too I would just as soon outsource to some
commercial provider.  For $10/month (or less) you can find
a hosting service that will give you all the server you are likely
to need.

If there are community members who really enjoy doing this sort of
thing and are willing to give their time freely, which is to say
it's like a hobby, you might consider doing it.  Even there I
would offer some caution that one's free time one year could disappear
the next.

What's hard to do is invest in equipment, which will be out of date
within 3 years (typically).  As you are seeing, many will peel off
and go for commercial providers who have more up to date equipment.
Leasing, which is what you are doing with these subscription services,
puts you more nearly at the leading edge of what's good.

These are my own opinions and of course others may have a different view.
Good luck and hope you can find some network bliss soon!  --Dirk

On Jun 29, 2007, at 9:39 AM, Sharon Villines wrote:

We wired our community so we could have an intranet and provide high-
speed internet service to all the units. It has been increasingly a
real problem for us. We  have several people internally who do
maintenance, one of whom is a professional and three of whom are semi-
professional serious geeks. We have a DSL line and a cable modem

It seems to be down much too often and very sloooooooow too much of
the time. Sometimes the problem is solved by someone going to the
basement to restart the modem or reboot something else. People are
tired of going to the basement and sometimes everyone who is able is
also out of town.

Many residents have switched to cable modems as a temporary solution
(including me), which I see as a bad thing because it erodes support
for the community network.

The questions are:

1. What level of service should we be striving for? Can we support
24/7 music and video downloads? Something called VPN that people need
to connect to their offices? Could these things be affecting service?
If so, how do we  limit service to a level that is sustainable.

2. What do we do to upgrade service? Basically most of us expect high
quality speed and reliability because we depend on this. I depend on
it much more than phone service, for example. My phone could be out
for a month and I might not even notice.

Sharon Villines
Takoma Village Cohousing

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Dirk Herr-Hoyman
Member of Arboretum Cohousing
Madison, WI

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