4 weeks ago
It's the little things after Hurricane Michael
Used Products
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Location
Panama City Beach, FL, USA
Description

It's the little things. 

 

Any news story you see showing the devastation after Hurricane Michael probably isn't doing it justice. The damage is unreal, so much so you can see it from space:

 

44346294_10112599922750653_4885790371696607232_n.jpg

 

We live on the East end of Panama City Beach, where the red arrow is pointing. You can see we are right on the fringe of the extreme damage zone. I have neighbors that lost patches of their roof, but no one lost their roof or their house. 20 miles to our East, in the heart of Panama city, is a different story. Hospitals are closed. Power is out everywhere (still is 10 days later). Churches are just gone. There is even a freight train flipped over on it's tracks. 

 

After we returned from our evacuation ( I grew up in South Florida, I remember the damage of Andrew in Miami vividly. I don't take chances) I helped out in the city where I could. I brought and hooked up generators, brought chainsaws and helped clear driveways. 

I would come back to our house with a bit of survivors guilt, having faired much better. We had power and water restored within 5 days. But it's another resource I was lucky to have, Internet. With Verizon simply in blackout across the pan-handle and all cable based ISPs offline there was little connectivity to be had. Except for those of us with AT&T fiber....

Since their fiber Internet is simply a piggyback off their fiber backbone for POTS lines, it's buried throughout our area. So as the cable companies are still waiting for the power company to clear and replace the poles before they can come string aerial coax again, our fiber Internet never went down. 

 

So we had Gigabit Internet, in a sea of people with nothing. What's a geek to do?

 

So three of us sprung into action! 

 

DpznB-5U4AASSrD.jpg

 

Mike (right) was the first to setup a hotspot. Having stayed to ride out the storm, he borrowed power from a neighbor's generator and equipment from our friend Nick (left) from Branch Networks, to run his hotspot and modem. He started with two omni's and some spare Unifi outdoor AP+'s but switched to 90 deg sectors to extend the coverage.  

 

 

 

 

MVIMG_20181020_124415.jpg

 

He lives on the outer edge of a curve in the road, so each sector points down the street in opposite directions. IMG_20181020_124445.jpg

 

 

After I returned and finished delivering supplies, I joined the fun too. First was extending my existing UniFi system to my street by adding a Mesh AP to my mailbox. IMG_20181015_182046.jpg

 

But my neighbor across the street with a house of 6 kids needed a bit more bandwidth for their smart TVs to stream entertainment reliably. So I pulled out a PowerBeam, aimed it at their house and tweaked it for AP to consumer client mode.

 

IMG_20181018_170424.jpg

 

 

(That's me, Bill, btw, being goofy). This solved their connection issues, and I'm seeing about 12GB a day to their primary TV, so I know it's getting used well. 

 

So this gave our immediate neighbors some connectivity, but there's one street that never got the last mile of fiber installed, and they were hurting. And they happen to be behind my house, through 100m of forest that was conveniently just thinned out. And I happen to have some Nanobeams on hand....

 

IMG_20181020_110119.jpg

 

 

Steep roof and high ceiling means I can get it about 35' up with just a tripod.   

 

And on the other end:

 

MVIMG_20181020_105558.jpg

 

IMG_20181020_105613.jpg

 

My house is not shown. It's past the end of this street, over that last house and through a small forest. Link distance is about 450m and I'm getting about 100mbps rates without much time spent aiming. Love these!

 

 

A single UniFi mesh creates another hotspot for neighbors to use. Both powered by a Unifi POE 8 port switch, Plan for tomorrow is to cut some more cable to run 1 or 2 more mesh's a couple doors down each way on the street to increase coverage, or try to dig up some more 90 deg sectors. 

 

 

It's been 10 days since the third strongest hurricane devastated our area, but we are luckier than most. Please consider donating to many of the funds setup to help hurricane victims who are not fortunate enough to worry about streaming Internet to keep their children entertained. 

 

UPDATE:

We just rebuilt the remote site with sectors to boost signal. MVIMG_20181020_154335.jpg

 

 UPDATE 2:

One of the cable companies have restored service. So I've setup a few UniFi mesh's at houses with restored service to increase coverage of the free wifi for neighbors. They are simply connected to the consumer gateway for Internet and programmed to call home to my controller through L3 routing. 

 

It's the little things after Hurricane Michael

by 4 weeks ago - last edited 4 weeks ago

It's the little things. 

 

Any news story you see showing the devastation after Hurricane Michael probably isn't doing it justice. The damage is unreal, so much so you can see it from space:

 

44346294_10112599922750653_4885790371696607232_n.jpg

 

We live on the East end of Panama City Beach, where the red arrow is pointing. You can see we are right on the fringe of the extreme damage zone. I have neighbors that lost patches of their roof, but no one lost their roof or their house. 20 miles to our East, in the heart of Panama city, is a different story. Hospitals are closed. Power is out everywhere (still is 10 days later). Churches are just gone. There is even a freight train flipped over on it's tracks. 

 

After we returned from our evacuation ( I grew up in South Florida, I remember the damage of Andrew in Miami vividly. I don't take chances) I helped out in the city where I could. I brought and hooked up generators, brought chainsaws and helped clear driveways. 

I would come back to our house with a bit of survivors guilt, having faired much better. We had power and water restored within 5 days. But it's another resource I was lucky to have, Internet. With Verizon simply in blackout across the pan-handle and all cable based ISPs offline there was little connectivity to be had. Except for those of us with AT&T fiber....

Since their fiber Internet is simply a piggyback off their fiber backbone for POTS lines, it's buried throughout our area. So as the cable companies are still waiting for the power company to clear and replace the poles before they can come string aerial coax again, our fiber Internet never went down. 

 

So we had Gigabit Internet, in a sea of people with nothing. What's a geek to do?

 

So three of us sprung into action! 

 

DpznB-5U4AASSrD.jpg

 

Mike (right) was the first to setup a hotspot. Having stayed to ride out the storm, he borrowed power from a neighbor's generator and equipment from our friend Nick (left) from Branch Networks, to run his hotspot and modem. He started with two omni's and some spare Unifi outdoor AP+'s but switched to 90 deg sectors to extend the coverage.  

 

 

 

 

MVIMG_20181020_124415.jpg

 

He lives on the outer edge of a curve in the road, so each sector points down the street in opposite directions. IMG_20181020_124445.jpg

 

 

After I returned and finished delivering supplies, I joined the fun too. First was extending my existing UniFi system to my street by adding a Mesh AP to my mailbox. IMG_20181015_182046.jpg

 

But my neighbor across the street with a house of 6 kids needed a bit more bandwidth for their smart TVs to stream entertainment reliably. So I pulled out a PowerBeam, aimed it at their house and tweaked it for AP to consumer client mode.

 

IMG_20181018_170424.jpg

 

 

(That's me, Bill, btw, being goofy). This solved their connection issues, and I'm seeing about 12GB a day to their primary TV, so I know it's getting used well. 

 

So this gave our immediate neighbors some connectivity, but there's one street that never got the last mile of fiber installed, and they were hurting. And they happen to be behind my house, through 100m of forest that was conveniently just thinned out. And I happen to have some Nanobeams on hand....

 

IMG_20181020_110119.jpg

 

 

Steep roof and high ceiling means I can get it about 35' up with just a tripod.   

 

And on the other end:

 

MVIMG_20181020_105558.jpg

 

IMG_20181020_105613.jpg

 

My house is not shown. It's past the end of this street, over that last house and through a small forest. Link distance is about 450m and I'm getting about 100mbps rates without much time spent aiming. Love these!

 

 

A single UniFi mesh creates another hotspot for neighbors to use. Both powered by a Unifi POE 8 port switch, Plan for tomorrow is to cut some more cable to run 1 or 2 more mesh's a couple doors down each way on the street to increase coverage, or try to dig up some more 90 deg sectors. 

 

 

It's been 10 days since the third strongest hurricane devastated our area, but we are luckier than most. Please consider donating to many of the funds setup to help hurricane victims who are not fortunate enough to worry about streaming Internet to keep their children entertained. 

 

UPDATE:

We just rebuilt the remote site with sectors to boost signal. MVIMG_20181020_154335.jpg

 

 UPDATE 2:

One of the cable companies have restored service. So I've setup a few UniFi mesh's at houses with restored service to increase coverage of the free wifi for neighbors. They are simply connected to the consumer gateway for Internet and programmed to call home to my controller through L3 routing. 

 

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Comments
by
4 weeks ago

Great to see people doing this kind of thing, and glad you made out as well as you did.   If you can get your hands on any try the UMA-D antennas on the UAP-M radios - they extend the distance a lot from the little whip antennas, but mostly in one direction.   But for shooting up streets they might work well.

 

Good luck getting everything back to normal

Jim

by
4 weeks ago

Oooo those look nice. I bet that would work well for their size! 

 

With mail service *just* starting again this is all built with things we had on hand. 

by
4 weeks ago

Good job on helping many people that couldn't get what you have. Not only internet but generators and such that you stated. I hope it all gets fixed as soon as it can. Glad to hear most homes are okay!

Maybe you can talk to your neighborhood "authorities" and try to put in place some type of emergancy internet network? I bet they would love for you to install something that everyone could tether too in emergencies. 

by
4 weeks ago

Such a cool story, I wish I could give you double kudos!!!

by
4 weeks ago

Very cool it's nice to see a community come together like this. 

by
4 weeks ago

Question: i see you use AM-2G15-120/90 whit a mesh-m is that posible whit the 5G of the mesh-m ?

 

 

by
4 weeks ago

This is an awesome way to help others, if i lived down there i would do the same thing. This is what its all about folks at the end of the day people matter most and helping others is just priceless

by
4 weeks ago

good job, I love that will to share!

by Ubiquiti Employee
4 weeks ago

Awesome. Good work guys.

by
4 weeks ago

@stekkerdoos I turned off the 5Ghz on those since the antennas are 2.4Ghz only.