NOTE (4/5/00): This page was designed as a way for other isp's to save time in getting broadband access to their customers.  If something doesn't seem complete it's because I assume a high level of technical expertise on the reader's part. I was caught by the slashdot post after being out of town for a couple of days.  I'll fill in a few things near the bottom to help out the none technical types reading (and talking) about this site.  I really REALLY recommend the Paradyne book noted at the bottom of this page.  It will help answer many other questions...

The SDSL Homebrew Home Page
Last updated 4/5/200 11:37pm (sigh)

This page is intended to describe in detail how I put SDSL services into my home town without a CLEC (Local Telco) providing the majority of the system.  Please do not make this out to be any more than my accumulated knowledge (such as it is) relating to my project.  I've used some of what I learned, and some of what I've learned over the last several months of researching this has been a complete waste of time.  Either way, I hope that this will save you some time and money!   Enough for the disclaimer...

     I live an a VERY rural area of eastern Washington.  There are about 500 phone numbers in my local phone book (judging by my bill I think that half of them must be mine!).  Many of my customers are out at extreme ranges and/or are on very old Telco equipment.  All of the testing that I've done shows that 56k v.90 will only work for a few of my customers thereby making the hardware/phone line costs a complete waste of money.

     I still wanted to be able to offer my customers a high speed solution.  Some of them are what I call power users (home users who really should get a new life) and some are business customers.   Some of the business customers have offices in a number of the surrounding towns and they will have to link them all together someday.

     So, having looked into wireless...  My POP is at a very low point of town and it is right beside a rock bluff.  Wireless would also cover the downtown corridor very nicely but it would also be limited in distance and would be much more expensive to get up and running.   Especially when you consider that I would probably have to put in a point-to-point system to feed a multipoint-to-point system on top of one of the local grain elevators (If the grain company would let me).

     That left me with a dsl solution.  I called the Telco sales rep that services my area and we had a number of long conversations (I'd have taken him to lunch if he wasn't so far away (I'll still do it anyway when I can)).  Tom at Century Tel was a great help.  We were able to determine that Century was going to roll out dsl services (in fact it should be out by now) just not in Odessa any time soon.  We also decided on what should work ok out here.  Which brings me to what you all want to know!!!

     Tom put me in touch with the local PairGain rep and arranged for me to borrow a pair of PairGain dsl modems for 1 month.  (You need TWO modems to make this work without a DSLAM (that's basically a pm3 for dsl lines)).  Also, Howard at Net to Net Technologies offered to let me try out a pair of his modems so that the two systems could be run side by side.

     I then ordered two circuits.  One to my house and one to our local hospital (they are stuck paying $1000.00 per month for a 348k connection that they need for video medicine and as a local tax payer who voted for the M & O levy.....).  I ordered 1 pair of dry, unloaded, unconditioned, copper pair from my office to each location.   (About $20.00 per month.)   I was also able to talk to the installing tech (purely by chance due to Century Tel's practice of checking with me before doing anything with my system (did I mention that Century Tel is a great local company?)) and I asked that all of the bridge taps be removed also.  (They were going to do that anyway.)

     It took about three weeks for the circuits to be installed.  Mostly the delay was due to the strangeness of this order and the fact that I still had no modems at the due date.

     After what seemed like forever, I got the circuits and one set of modems all at the same place at the same time.   It was a Saturday when I picked up the Net To Net modems from my main office.   I found out that I needed an RJ45 connector to hook them up to the dry pair (These are apparently called "Alarm Circuits" some times).  So I had one of my guys build me a standard phone cord with an RJ45 on the red and green wires of the other end.  I then raced the 40 miles (well under the posted speed limit mind you <G>) back to Odessa.  I then hooked one modem (the SNE1000P) into the hub at my POP and the SNE1000S into the newly installed hub at my house.  I also hooked them up to the dry pair circuit using my custom RJ11 to RJ45 cables.  And NOTHING happened!  No link to the hubs, no link to each other, nothing.  Well s*%t.

     Next I called Century Tel out to retest the lines (I used my meter to check for continuity on the wires after tying one end together).  I must have not gotten the lines together right because the telco tests showed all was very good.  This time I got the test readings from them: (distance (20,000 feet to me and 6300 feet to the hospital), ohms (about 800 and about 400), dB loss and whatever else they could/would give me).  Everything checked out good.  Upon closer inspection I found that the wires going into one of my RJ11 to RJ45 adapters didn't go all the way in.  I then tried things with a new adapter and shazam, the Net To Net modems saw each other!  (Egg on face moment)

     I still, however did not see the modems on either end of the system.  I called tech support (and got right through I might add (way to go guys!)) and made the determination that you must use a cross over cable to use them with a hub.  I didn't have one so I'm just using the X port on the two hubs.  As a side note:  I asked the tech why in the world they would do such a ridiculous thing and he said that they were designed to be used on a switch and that would require different cabling, does this sound right?  The one nice thing about this is that you won't have to use anything but a NIC card at the average SOHO office.

     Once the links were all up and running (which with the cabling done right was truly a plug and play deal) all I had to do was set up the remote machine with a free IP address and I was off and running.  No username or anything as the remote system does not have to authenticate onto my network for any reason (it only goes through the router).

     The PairGain setup was setup at the Odessa Memorial Hospital and was a similarly brain dead install.

    I used hardware from www.nettonettech.com (the sne1000p and the sne1000s for my house) at a cost of about $700.00 for the PAIR of modems.  And www.pairgain.com (the Megabit Modem 768+ and 768) at a cost of about $1200.00 per PAIR.  The Net To Net can be set to 4 speeds from 272k to 1.16mbps and the PairGain are a flat 768k.  Seeing how I only have a Frame Relay T-1 (CIR of 768k) to the whole town I don't see a need for the higher speed and probably won't use it (unless I can talk some customers into using an off site backup location.....).

The final results:

     The Net To Net modems hooked up at 272k (I saw a maximum of about 30k/sec on Netscape) to my house at 20,000 feet and full speed at our local hospital at 6,300 feet.  I saw an occasional outage while they retained every once in a while (I saw this 3 or 4 times in the two weeks that I had them at my house, never at the hospital).  The PairGain Modems (actually HDSL not SDSL) worked perfectly at 768k (I did a big download from the server and it was at 87k/sec! and still climbing when I stopped it, how's 14megs in under 3 minutes grab ya!!!!) to both locations with no known outages (the Net To Net had more informative LED's).

     Is the PairGain worth the extra $500 or so?  Don't know, the only time that I really noticed the extra speed was with PC Anywhere.  It's almost like I'm sitting right at the server.  For Web pages I couldn't tell much.

     7/23/1999:  Just for kicks, I just downloaded a Radius log file from my server.  It was 41,272,729bytes (all text) and it took 2:55 minutes at 235,844 bytes/sec according to PC Anywhere's file transfer stats!  THAT is why DSL can be so over sold!  Who can use that much bandwidth for more than a few seconds at a time normally!

The Latest News:

January, 10  2000

     I tried some of the PairGain 300s's (about $900 per pair).  These units are great!  I got 2.1 meg at about 4000 feet and 1.2 meg at 20,000 feet!  They cost about the same as the Net to Net units but were much more stable and faster at the long ranges.  I got ftp downloads from my internet server of 240k/sec using the Internet Explorer download program.  I bought a pair of these!  I'm actually hosting a web site on it to see how well it works (www.craigsmithmotorsports.com).  No problems of any kind for the last month!!!

     April, 5  2000

I am now also the proud owner of a pair of Net to Net 2000SNE modems.  They are about $900 per pair also.  They are running at 1.6 meg on the 20k' circuit to my house.  Actual speeds have been about the same as the PairGain 300s and just as stable (good job both of you!).

     I've got to say that BOTH of these new products are much better than the first ones that I tried.  Neither one ever has to retrain.  They have had much better up time than my t-1!

     I found the Paradyne source book (it's free) a good read.  Although you really don't need all of the info in it.   http://www.paradyne.com/sourcebook_offer/index.html

     For those of you left with questions at this point....  I am the ISP.  The circuit must run from your locations THROUGH the Telco office then to then to the ISP.  I do pay about $20/month for the circuit (just the circuit, not the access (I already have lots of that ;-)), if your Telco is going to charge more than that then the only reason to do so is to screw you out of cheap service.  They had these cheap circuits for years!  The only reason they are charging more for them now is cause someone found a way to use them better than the Telco.  Time to hit the phone and call the PUC/UTC in your state.  Don't whine about it to the rest of use, we're in (or soon will be) the same boat.  Call your congressman.....  As for this being illegal: If your the ISP you can sell your bandwidth any way you want.  If you're an end user then you need to read your AUP/TOS, ours does not allow for resale of our residential services.  Much more help and expertise can be had by signing up for the dsl list at www.isp-lists.com.  Be forwarned though, this is a professional list!  Watch for a while and search the archives BEFORE you ask any questions as you might not like the answer if we JUST went over your topic.....

     Have fun, this is easy (that's why I can do it <VBG>) and it does work well.

Marlon

ooe@odessaoffice.com

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