Wireless Community Networks at their best

I am back in my hometown, Thessaloniki, for about a week and I carried with me the old laptop that I had tried installing the rule project
I had nothing to do tonight..so I plugged in my wireless card, booted Damn Small Linux CD and went out to the balcony. Why not try to check if there are any wireless networks around ? In fact there was one:

root@ttyp2[root]# iwlist ath0 scan
ath0 Scan completed :
Cell 01 - Address: 00:30:4F:4B:66:6C
Encryption key:off
Quality:17/94 Signal level:-78 dBm Noise level:-95 dBm
Bit Rate:1Mb/s
Bit Rate:2Mb/s
Bit Rate:5Mb/s
Bit Rate:11Mb/s

I connected there..and ran the dhcp client…

root@ttyp2[root]# iwconfig ath0 essid nkoumle
root@ttyp2[root]# pump -i ath0

Drums rolling….ta ta!!

root@ttyp2[root]# ifconfig ath0
ath0 Link encap:Ethernet HWaddr 00:20:A6:4C:BD:7F
inet addr: Bcast: Mask:

The IP seemed quite weird to be from a home…and looked like it was from the range that Thessaloniki Wireless Metropolitan Network (TWMN) was given a few years ago, when each greek major city was given an IP range for their Wireless Networks inside the range. Pinging the router/AP gave me results of 10-100ms. I tried finding a spot in the balcony where I could get more stable ping times but I couldn’t find one. It didn’t really matter though…I was so excited that a few msecs wouldn’t stop me!
Even though I could resolve internet hostnames and addresses I couldn’t ping or browse any internet hosts. Then I tried surfing around TWMN. I opened up http://www.twmn and I looked around. I tried to register with their forums but I couldn’t because they require a confirmation email. Since I can’t access any of my email accounts without internet access I can’t register in their wireless forum either. The bad thing is that it’s not even readable as a wireless guest.
I knew that TWMN and Athens Wireless Metropolitan Network (AWMN) are linked together, so I tried surfing http://www.awmn. Success!! Everything worked quite smoothly there. I even sent a pm to a TWMN user that I know, orion, from AWMN’s forum.
Then it was time for IRC. Damn Small Linux features a tiny irc client named “naim”. I tried to connect to irc.twmn…but there was no luck. Then I tried irc.awmn and I got instantly connected.
I had also heard about AWMN’s proxy mesh network. It’s an effort by many awmn users that share their dsl bandwith by creating a squid proxy mesh network with lots siblings, so there is some kind of load balancing. I started reading the last pages of the thread but I couldn’t find any working proxies. Then I remembered that it was koki that started it all…and looked for her website inside awmn. I came up to http://koko.awmn and there she had information about how to connect to her proxy.
So I entered port 3128 at my firefox preferences…and that was it!!! SUCCESS! I had full access to websites through koki’s proxy server. I am in Thessaloniki and my “internet provider” is 500km away…in Athens!
Here’s the traceroute to her proxy server:

root@ttyp0[root]# traceroute
traceroute to (, 30 hops max, 40 byte packets
1 ap.nkoumle.twmn ( 526.158 ms 151.747 ms *
2 doom2nkoumle.bb.twmn ( 143.23 ms 368.749 ms 130.249 ms
3 taz2doom.bb.twmn ( 13.83 ms 60.137 ms 317.052 ms
4 uom2taz.bb.twmn ( 32.055 ms 14.761 ms 64.038 ms
5 volto2uom.bb.twmn ( 82.341 ms 78.228 ms 49.779 ms
6 sourdos2volto.bb.twmn ( 83.058 ms 61.406 ms 72.943 ms
7 dfragos2sourdos.bb.twmn ( 81.377 ms 41.603 ms 101.131 ms
8 thmmy2dfragos.bb.twmn ( 200.073 ms 105.749 ms *
9 thmmy.swn ( 65.299 ms 132.49 ms 361.869 ms
10 ( 529.931 ms 368.65 ms 313.583 ms
11 ( 417.191 ms 74.76 ms 48.881 ms
12 ( 64.119 ms 84.001 ms 79.828 ms
13 ( 82.863 ms 41.323 ms 93.686 ms
14 ( 87.61 ms 68.538 ms 90.206 ms
15 ( 132.605 ms 343.975 ms 120.142 ms
16 ( 134.826 ms 105.009 ms 128.925 ms
17 ( 79.456 ms 89.032 ms 196.706 ms
18 ( 144.206 ms 150.446 ms 103.555 ms

I am actually posting this entry for this insane connection!

This is really inspiring. Community networks at their best. Thanks a lot to everyone that contributed in order for this to happen. Thanks a lot to nkoumle (whom I don’t know) and to koki (that I only know her though IRC and forums)…