Jawug gets a mention on ZA Tech Show

Jawug got a mention in todays ZA Tech Show podcast.

At 45 minutes, they stray onto the topic of Wireless User Groups.

Just a note to people who listened to it, WUGs are legal, as long as they don’t provide internet access, and don’t make a profit. This has been acknowledged by ICASA (not just ICASA turning a blind eye to it)
The WUG guys actually went to ICASA for a hearing, and this was the outcome.

Duncan even mentions me by name around 50 minutes in! I’m famous! Heh
Justin and myself met with Duncan a few years back when he was doing an article for the Financial Mail.

We’re still growing! And fighting for spectrum space, between all the WISPs that ARE illegal.
You cannot use the ISM spectrum for a profit, even if you have a VANS. End of story.

So if you come across a WISP that blames their problems on interference all the time, you know they they’re using unlicensed spectrum, which makes them illegal.

Real Wireless ISP’s pay for Spectrum. It also means that ICASA has to listen to them when they complain about interference.

Civil Disobedience

I like the sound of that… Civil Disobedience.

Its not quite what the Jawug guys were going for, but it seems to describe it quite well.

Just a bunch of guys, building their own telecommunication network for fun. They’re not hurting anyone, they’re not causing any trouble, and they’re not stealing from anyone.

The Jawug network has grown alot since I left South Africa, and I’m incredibly proud of what its been up to in the past year.
Now, there’s a Wug.za.net, which covers the whole of South Africa, and even Namibia!

Keep it up guys!

All grown up

As IP Networking is one of my interests (infact, its my main passion, and now my job), Jawug was the perfect platform to learn.

Its one thing learning about the theory, and having a little lab with a few switches and routers sitting on your workbench to learn. Its another thing entirely having an ISP sized network that covers an entire city to play on.

Ofcourse, it wasn’t always that big. It started off with only 2 guys, an idea, and some second hand equipment.
Sadly, it didn’t work with just the 2 of us, so we grew it to a 3rd member, and then a 4th.

After a little while, and alot of interest from outsiders, we decided that we need to make it bigger.

I’d been watching the developments of SeattleWireless, and we decided that we would open our network.
We’d make it completely open to any who would want to join. The only condition was, they let us know who they were.

Our intention was never to provide access to the Internet. Its not an ISP. Its just a network of people interested in creating an even bigger network. Its almost like Amateur Radio, only we’re doing it with Data.

We put up a website, which was a Wiki, making it editable by all so we could share information freely.
We made a few posts on Forums, such as MyADSL
Slowly the interest started trickling in.

I was even contacted by the Financial Mail in 2004 for an interview.
We got tons of feedback from readers, asking how they could become involved, and how they could join.

Roelf from Neology even did a presentation on community networks at the first MyADSL Conference.

And now, I’m amazed at how large it’s grown.
The Network has actually outgrown most of the tools that were used to design it in its early stages.
NodeDB was a great tool, but it became too cluttered to use, so Xarion wrote our own version of it.

There are now Community Networks spotted all over South Africa, so Xarion also created a central site to bring all of these “Wugs” together. Wug.Za.Net was born to bring all of them together.

It really has become a community now, with friendships being formed, and regular “meetings” (Called “Koek en Tee”, but its really more of a Beer and Braai).

Its taken a while to get here. It took loads of hard work.

So Jawug… here’s to the next 5 years, and beyond.