All posts by Chris Horne

Project work to the end of the year

We still have a long list of jobs to tackle, so there will be working parties most weekends. Please come and join us if you can spare a few hours:

18/19 November – Installing fibre all the way down Station Road
23-25 November – Station Lane – Completing preparations for fibre to be installed under the level crossing
1 December – TVEC – Preparing chamber for Network Rail fibre
7 December – Longmead Drive – Two chambers to install
+ various other jobs completing ducting to houses and general tidying up.
Preparing for fibre along Main Street, Fiskerton.

Future plans will then include trenching on The Village Green and Claypit Lane, as well as filling in around the above. Anyone fancy leading a working party to accelerate these sections of the project?

Thanks

The F4RN Team.

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Project Update – November 2017

The “October Half-Term Blitz” was very successful – hopefully you have seen the photos on the F4RN Facebook page?

Thanks to all the volunteers who helped dig and lay ducting right into the centre of Fiskerton as well as making sure that we have all the sections in place ready for when our fibre is installed under the railway (which Network Rail have scheduled for the beginning of December).

Once this is complete we can remove the two microwave links in our core network which is a big step in our goal to provide 100% fibre and it will also make it easier for us to maintain the network performance in the future.

Although we’ve achieved a lot, there’s still plenty to do and we continue to need the help of as many volunteers as possible to support the core team but also to look after local initiatives to build connect the main network to groups of properties.

The immediate priorities for the core team are:

Location Task Date
Longmead Drive / Alley to Gravelly Lane 1 garden to dig (~15m)  to connect 14mm from Gravelly Lane to chamber by footpath Mon 6th/Tues 7th November
Gravelly Lane to Green Drive Push fibre optic cable through duct Sat 11th/Sun 12th November
Station Road Push fibre optic cable through duct Sat 18th/Sun 19th November
Station Lane Reinstate tarmac on road crossing Thurs 23rd – Sat 25th November

If you can help on any of these days please give Gez Major a call on 07532-242792 or email info@f4rn.org.uk

 Where else can you help?

We’re looking at how to get the fibre along the river frontage, but there are several sections of the network where local teams could take responsibility to build out ducting.   Several of these are in the centre of Fiskerton:

  • Running ducting round the edge of the Village Green
  • Completing the work to join up Green Drive to Marlock Close
  • Running ducting from the new cabinet through to the houses between Longmead Drive and Marlock Close
  • Running ducting from the alley to the houses between Gravelly Lane and Longmead Drive

These sections are shown in red on the map below.  We also have an interactive map on the F4RN website at http://f4rn.org.uk/the-f4rn-network/

If you can help with any of these sections or would like to organise a local working party please contact info@f4rn.org.uk 

We will provide all equipment and explain what needs to be done.

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Important security message to all F4RN subscribers

In the last few days there have been a number of press articles relating to the ‘hacking/cracking’ of the WPA2 protocol.

https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2017/oct/16/wpa2-wifi-security-vulnerable-hacking-us-government-warns

WPA2 is the encryption used in the majority of WiFi connections so this hack affects every wireless network and hotspot – from large companies, public access points and hotels, down to the wireless network that you have at home – so it affects nearly every internet user around the world.

Although the encryption has been hacked, it is important to keep the problem in perspective and also to be aware that F4RN are taking the issue seriously and that we will be taking action over the next few days to ensure that the our equipment is protected.

Sorry to be too technical but there are some important issues here:

  • although the security of this protocol is vulnerable, your browsing is STILL secure if you use https on sites for shopping and banking as these use end-to-end security that is unaffected. Look for the little ‘key’ on the browser.
  • in this case it is the ‘protocol’ that is vulnerable and as such any equipment built by any manufacturer will be vulnerable, if you are using any WiFi equipment by any other manufacturer then please update it as appropriate.

Does this affect F4RN?

Yes, we still have customers that have internet delivered by WiFi, it  also affects the WiFi in your home, in addition there are some key infrastructure links in the F4RN network that uses this protocol.

What is F4RN doing about this? 

F4RN will be updating all of our main WiFi equipment over the next few days, this will also include your WiFi router in your home. If you have any additional WiFi equipment you may have had installed by F4RN (such as UniFi WiFi) this will need to be updated separately.

What does this mean?

During the upgrades there will be a short service disruption (usually not more than 2-3 minutes) but due to the configuration of our network you may suffer more than one of these interruptions during the process. We are hoping to minimise disruption by performing the upgrades overnight.

What else should I know?

All of your WiFi equipment will be affected and as such you should ensure that your perform the appropriate security patches for that equipment.  If you have any WiFI equipment (routers / access points) that were not supplied by F4RN you will need to look after the security fix.  There is a lot of information now being published on the internet on how to fix the problem – search online for “KRACK patch for WiFi” where xxx is the manufacturer of the device you need to upgrade.

You should always make sure that all your computers and other IT equipment (including printers, smart plugs, smart thermostats, etc) are running the latest firmware.  According to our research, Microsoft have already released a fix for Windows 10 PC’s so if you have a Windows PC that is set to automatically carry out system updates then you should already be protected.  Apple have announced that the latest version of iOS is secure and Linux has also been updated to deal with the problems.  Google will be releasing a fix in the November 6 security update.

Kind regards

The F4RN team

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TP-Link DECO M5 Whole Home Mesh Wifi Review

WiFi is a bit like black magic – sometimes it works but no one really knows why!

Before F4RN it didn’t matter if the WiFi performance was poor because the internet speed down the phone line was the limiting factor – but with F4RN delivering superfast speeds poor WiFi performance is suddenly very obvious.

The question we get asked almost every week is “Why is my WiFi speed sometimes brilliant and then suddenly poor?”

There are lots of factors – distance from router, other devices transmitting wireless signals, whether you are connected on the 2G or 5G network, is there an “R” in the month…

Several F4RN customers have invested in the TP-Link DECO M5 Whole Home Mesh Wifi system – it’s not cheap but they have all said it works well.   Other WiFi mesh networks are available, but we have a review of the M5 if you are interested:  http://f4rn.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2017/10/DECO-M5.pdf

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Repairs and Extensions

As we are getting an increasing number of requests to install additional Ethernet ports and extensions, we’re pleased to let you know that James (5* Aerials) has confirmed that he is happy to carry out this work.  James has done a terrific job putting up all the access points and WiFi dishes for the wireless network.  If you are interested in extra Ethernet extensions (or satellite dishes and aerial replacements) then please contact him directly on 07710-270980

We also need to confirm our policy on repairs.  F4RN relies a lot on volunteers and we a generally happy to provide support and advice, however if we need to carry out a repair then it will be necessary to charge for this work at a fixed rate of £40 an hour (+VAT).

I’m sure that you will understand why this is necessary – hopefully there won’t be that many repairs to do and it’s still a lot cheaper than the BT minimum charge of £99!

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Fibre Optic Broadband – Network Construction

During 2017 we hope to complete the construction of the F4RN fibre optic network in Fiskerton.

We’ve done the easy bit – moleploughing in fields – and we have tackled the major road crossings, so now most of the remaining work involves laying the ducting needs in the pavement.

During these ongoing works to bring the F4RN fibre optic network to the residents of the Parish it does mean that, from time to time, there may be small amounts of building materials or ducting left visible around the villages. Civic pride is a signifcant driver behind F4RN and, of course, the neat appearance of the villages is extremely important to the team. Currently there is a small amount of spoil at the corner of Station Road by the village green at Fiskerton. This is required for the second phase of the work which is planned for the weekend of 29th/30th July. Once the chambers and duct are fully installed, this material will be removed.

We absolutely pride ourselves on the quality of the work, and always leave an area in the best condition we that we can (many residents have taken the time to report how impressed they have been) but if you do have any concerns please raise them with us directly so was can take appropriate action.

Of course, all of this work is voluntary, and the quickest way to ensure that any impact is minimised is to help with the activities!

Please check http://f4rn.org.uk/ or our Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/F4RNottinghamshire/ to  see how you can be involved.

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Can we fix it? Yes we can!

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Congratulations to David and Gez on completing their City and Guilds qualifications under the New Roads and Streetworks Act.

This will make it much easier and cost effective to carry out road crossings as we bring the fibre into the middle of the villages.

Well done guys!  So who’s Bob and who’s Wendy?

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Front page!

Excellent coverage this week in our local paper, reporting on our progress and the visit by our MP, Robert Jenrick, who spent Saturday morning helping to dig the next section of the fibre backbone.

Mr Jenrick firmly endorsed our project – “This scheme has really started to pay dividends. It has been a good investment… This group did not complain when they were told that their villages would miss out from the scheme, they simply took it into their own hands and came up with this brilliant scheme”.

We will be digging and blowing fibre this weekend so there will soon be more local people enjoying superfast broadband!

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Prime TV News Coverage!

 

Robert Jenrick Visit 18th Feb 2017

A nice article today on ITV Central News giving an update on our progress and the visit from Robert Jenrick, our local MP, who dropped in to see how we are getting on as we break the 100 subscribers mark.
FIbre customers are now getting up to 300Mbps symmetrical – with plans to keep turning up the speed as we get more subscribers connected.  Focus now is on bringing the fibre into the more built up areas in the centre of the villages.  JFDI!

http://www.itv.com/…/rural-community-take-broadband-…/online.

 

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