5-Nov-2002 (Tue)

In my last update, I didn't gush on at length about how great the Thrill Kill Kult show was, but man, it was incredible. I've seen them maybe half a dozen times, and they tend to play pretty different sets each time. The last time I saw them (about six months ago) they played mostly stuff from their latest album, but this time, they played almost entirely stuff from the first three albums (I See Good Spirits, Kooler than Jesus, and Confessions of a Knife) which are some of my favorite albums ever, so that was just fine with me... The show was loud and sleazy and evil, the way music is supposed to be.

Long before we opened, when we were still designing this place, I made a video tape containing all the cool nightclub clips from movies and music videos that I could find: I wanted this place to look as looming and industrial as clubs in the movies always do, so I put this tape together to show our architect and contractor what I had in mind.

The first two clips on that tape were the video for ``The Wild Boys'' by Duran Duran, and Thrill Kill Kult's performance in The Crow.

I had completely forgotten about this until halfway through TKK's show last week, when they played ``After The Flesh'' (also known as ``Nervous Xtians.'')

So there I am, in the middle of the floor watching the band on stage play this song, and I'm looking around the room and comparing it, in my head, to the clip from the movie: a clip that I've watched literally hundreds of times, often a frame at a time, picking apart every perceptible detail. And I'm thinking, aw, hell yeah. We did alright.


John and Tom re-aligned the dishes, and got really good, consistent signal strength out of them (around -45dB) but we still can't get any decent sustained bandwidth through them: not even enough for a single 128k MP3 stream to survive for more than a minute. Just after rebooting the routers, we get like 2% packet loss, but as soon as we start pushing a lot of bits through them, the loss goes up to around 50%, and if we keep it up, sometimes the routers wedge and need to be power-cycled.

The dishes we're using are Hyperlink 24dBi antennas, being driven by 100mW Linksys WAP11 2.2 boxes. We've determined that our cabling is fine, and that signal strength is good. So that leaves the WAPs themselves. (We tried them in both bridge and access point mode, and AP mode seemed somewhat better, though still sucky.) Our current best theory is that the Linksys boxes we're using are junk: they claim to do 11Mbps, and maybe they do, in a burst. But from all appearances, the best sustained throughput they can handle is on the order of 64k. We might as well be using a modem over a normal phone line to get that!

John's trying to talk someone into giving us some beefier WAPs to use, but the higher grade stuff is way more expensive. It's going to be at least two weeks until our T1 is installed, so that probably means no webcast for the Beyond the Pale festival, which sucks.

We've been making constant jokes about the following for the last two weeks:


ON THE LANDING PAD. BISHOP LOOKS WISTFULLY AT THE DISH ASSEMBLY.
Bishop:  We can't align the dish.
Ripley:  Someone's going to have to go out there. Take a portable terminal and patch in manually.
Bishop:  I'll go.
Hudson:  Oh yeah, sure, with those things running around? You can count me out.
Hicks:  Yeah, I guess we can just count you out of everything.
Bishop:  I'll go.
Hudson:  Yeah, that's right, you go man.
Bishop:  I'll go.
Ripley:  What?
Bishop:  I'll go. I mean, i'm the only one qualified to remote-pilot the ship anyway.
Hudson:  Yeah, right man! Bishop should go! Good idea!
Bishop:  Believe me, I'd prefer not to: I may be synthetic, but I'm not stupid.
INSIDE THE CONDUIT, LEADING TO THE UPLINK ASSEMBLY.
Ripley:  How long?
Bishop:  This conduit runs almost to the uplink facility, 180 meters. Say, 40 minutes to crawl down there, an hour to patch and align the antenna, 30 minutes to prep the ship, and about 50 minutes flight time.
Ripley:  It's gonna be close. Good luck.

5 Responses:

  1. Out of 10 people I know who tried them (myself included) only one person has had luck with those Linksys WAP11s. The really scary part is, everyone I know had different problems with them.

    Your problem sounds familiar though, nonexistent sustained speeds.

  2. omni_ferret says:

    I just re-read your October update; you upped the voltage to send power over some unused wires of the ethernet cable. Um. Forgive me if I'm utterly wrongheaded, but, that cable resistance would lower the amperage, not the voltage, wouldn't it? Also, for a run that long, wouldn't AC be more effective than DC?

    If it's underpowered, it would be plausible to get decent short bursts but nothing sustained.

    You probably already knew about Robert X. Cringely's efforts to get a long-distance wireless link going, but just in case...

    • baconmonkey says:

      AC would be bad in a POE situation. imagine the interference caused by the 60 hz power a mere milimeter from the data lines. plus then you'd need step-up and step-down transformers since you'd need to shoot the voltage up to several thousand in order to overcome the limited amperage-handling ability of the very very thin cables.

      • omni_ferret says:

        I was thinking of extension cords, not POE.

        If you want to check to see if power is a problem, you can use a multimeter to check voltage & amperage.

        If you want to know if it makes a difference, you could put a few batteries in series - that _might_ work for long enough to test the bandwidth for a few minutes.

        If you need thousands of volts to get enough AC current up, wouldn't the amount of DC be enough to either burn the cable or the electronics at the ends?

        Um. Look, this isn't my area of expertise, so I'd keep it simple, because it's harder to mess up.