Welcome new User!
So you would like to connect to the ctwug and start networking with other people all over Cape Town. Here are a few things to help you get started. Yes there is a lot of reading and things you have to learn before you get going but it will save you a lot of trouble and misunderstandings in the long run if you don't. Remember the users and admins do not use the ctwug as a full time job, they help out in their spare time so please be patient and considerate with conversing with people on the ctwug.
CTWUG is geared towards community based wireless networking as well as teaching people new concepts and ideas on wireless and current technologies used on the CTWUG. With that being said please do not go asking a admin: “What is wireless?” or “How do I register?”; don’t be afraid to do your own research, read wiki articles, google if you must, etc. before asking any admins those type of questions.
Your initial start up guide
Step 1 – Where to start
Well best place to start is on the wiki. Have a look at this page, http://wiki.ctwug.za.net/Getting_started, but don’t go do anything yet. Read through and understand what needs to be done. Once you have read through the article you can move onto the next step.
Step 2 – Wind Website
Wireless Nodes Database (a.k.a. wind) is a website specifically designed for saving nodes (locations) of CTWUG users as well as access points for new users to connect to. Website url, if you have found it yet, is here http://wind.ctwug.za.net/wind/. So this enables us to know who is connected, where they are connected to, where new users are and how the network runs.
So now you can register on wind. You will have noticed that you would have been redirected to an openID website. OpenID is a central location to give users access to ctwug websites, so instead of having many registrations and databases for users, openID creates a single location to store information. Once you have registered you should see you node page. This is your page to show you who you are connected to, who might be your clients and a map so give you a summary of what going on in your area.
Step 3 – Where to connect to?
So now that you have a node where to next? Some people will say to look at what wug kit you must buy but with the new SXT currently out it, does change a few things. I would suggest looking on wind to see if you can connect to someone first, check the distance and los (Line of Sight) and if all green nodes in the area then start looking at wug kits. Sounds a bit tricky? Let clear up a few things, firstly you being a new user we need to get you connected first and hence we need to look for someone to connect to. Ideally to start off we going to get you connected to an access point and that is all the green nodes. You can connect to the blue and yellow nodes but you will need to speak to the admin first of that node to see if you can connect to them and if they have right gear for you to create a link or connection.
If you click on the green node it will tell you details of that node, usually as CTWUG rules states that there should only be 6 clients per access point, so first check how many clients are on the node and how many access points; and if there space then it’s a good start. Next we need to see if the sector facing you, a good indication is to look at the clients in the area and from which direction they are linking to the node. It should give you a good indication in which direction it’s pointing to and if you on the same side then that is great. if you are still unsure you can ask an admin of the node or on the IRC. That moves us onto the next step.
Step 4 - Gear
Now we can start looking at gear, here is the link: http://wiki.ctwug.za.net/Kits. If the distance is less than 2 km away then the alternative and cheaper option is the SXT gear (http://www.scoopdistribution.co.za/product_info.php?cPath=100_119&products_id=1104).
One suggestion if you looking of upgrading your gear and expanding your kit in the near future then I would rather go with a wug kit than the SXT as the RB 433 allows for the expansion of three connections where the SXT only allows for one.
Do not buy any wug equipment before you have check the line of sight with a test kit.
Before anything is bought please do take the time to speak to one of the admins and borrow a test kit to test to see if you have line of sight. Yes the wind website does say you have line of sight but all it takes is a couple of trees that is not shown on the map or a large building to completely block your signal and ruin your line of sight. Here is the wiki page: http://wiki.ctwug.za.net/Testkit.
Step 5 – How to get in touch with admins or users
One way of getting hold of a node admin is to send a contact message off from wind website, but the alternative is using the IRC channel. Here the link http://wiki.ctwug.za.net/CTWUG_IRC, just make sure when you ask that you state straight away that you are a new user and that you would like to get more information.
Eg. Hi, new user wanting to join the CTWUG in Clarement area, and would like to find more information
Hopefully that admin in the area will be on to help you but any admin should be able to give you a good direction on where to go next.
Step 6 – Finalisation
This thread should have gotten you the basic start up steps to getting onto the ctwug, now you can continue to follow the “Getting started” guide and if there are any problems feel free to contact a admin on the IRC channel or post a message on the forum.
Tips for using the forums
A few things to consider when posting a message on the forums:
Remember the forums is not a chatroom, keep it simple and make sure you keep it to the point.
Before you post a message on the forum have you done enough research to validate the post? Did you check the steps more than once?, did you do some research?, should it be asked on the IRC?, should this post be in this category?, etc .
Always reread your posts to make sure you have spelt everything correctly and your sentences do make sense.
Remember to have fun and be polite to the other ctwug members. Here a final quote that I think is quite relevant:
“Anyone who stops learning is old, whether at twenty or eighty. Anyone who keeps learning stays young. The greatest thing in life is to keep your mind young.” - Henry Ford