OLPCorps Tulane University & UC Davis – Sierra Leone


Routers, and adapters, and transformers oh my! by jamesko
June 15, 2009, 2:00 am
Filed under: Technology

Ok, so what equipment will we need to bring to make this whole thing work?

That was the question that was placed before us. In the chats and the seemingly hundreds of e-mails that were sent amongst the group, we were told that the equipment we would need to bring consisted of routers (2, maybe 3?), CAT5 cabling (site specific), USB sticks (number up to us),  power strips, and maybe a switch/hub (what is that anyways?)…

Alrighty, not too bad, some ambiguity understandably but we can handle that.

And after much debate, and conversations with people who actually know something about setting up computer networks, and questions still going unanswered, our equipment list now consists of the following.

1) 3 Linksys wireless routers, model WRT54G, loaded with custom firmware (specifics undetermined). We are not planning on using a switch, but instead using one of the routers as the “mama” router, and then setting the other two as access points. The newer WRT54G model that you buy today is more energy efficient than its previous releases and comes with a power cord that accepts universal voltages, which is great, and will only need UK plug adapters. For the one older router that we already have, we will also be bringing with us a 50-watt transformer (specifics below)

2) CAT5 cable (or networking wire, or ethernet wire, all pretty much one and the same). We still haven’t determined the exact amount. But, since I will be joining the rest of the team a week or two into the project, we actually have the advantage of being able to have me bring last minute items. We would have our organization on the other end do some measurements, but our internet setup is at this point undetermined and communication difficult.

3) 5 UK plug adapters with built in surge protection. These nifty little guys will serve our personal computers, the server, and the “mama” router.

4) 10 UK plug adapters with no surge protection. These are for our personal XO laptops and tools etc…

5) 2 50-Watt voltage converts. These voltage converters can handle up to 50 watts, but should only be used continuously with a power draw of 25 watts or less. We ran into an issue of deciding whether or not our access points will draw more than that. Our most recent calculations say they can’t handle it, but Reuben (our technical leader) assures us that they are sufficient (because when voltage goes up – as it will for us going from 110V to 220V – the current, or amps, goes down), which is something we did not consider. I guess we’ll just have to wait and see…

6)2 1875-watt voltage converts. For bigger items.

7) We are currently bringing 8 USB drives – probably gonna get more.

8) Fun stuff like t-shirts, certificates, buttons, gold stars, Sharpies to decorate the laptops with, etc…

9) Stuff for a tool kit. In one of the documents that was provided to us there was a long list of tool kit items that we should bring. We will be bringing what we can of the following items, but most of it can probably be bought over there as well, (anti-static wrist strap, #0 & #1 phillips head screwdrivers, flathead screwdrivers, headphones,  microphone, scre holders/sorters, multimeter, side cutters, needle-nose pliers, tweezers, tape measure, soldering station, a recorder, component storage, USB/TTL-Serial adapter, hot glue gun, loupe (magnifying glass), Anti-static bags, printable shipping labels for shipping parts, packing tape, cushioning packing material

So there it is. From 5 items to many, many more.

We have to give a special shout out to Fry’s electronics where we spent the better part of a day but got a lot of great stuff. Also, to Yes Press for donating our awesome t-shirts, and the Davis Computer Doctor for donating a router.

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