I had the opportunity to sit down for a chat with Aaron Kaplan, one of the principals of FunkFeuer, yesterday morning. FunkFeuer, which means “wireless fire” in Austrian, is a particularly interesting case of community networking. It’s always tough for open source community networking groups to split attention between serving customers and developing code, and FunkFeuer is similar in this regard. However, they have a twist: FunkFeuer owns a fiber optic link to one of Vienna’s carrier hotels.
By tying directly into a carrier hotel, FunkFeuer can purchase backhaul bandwidth at next to nothing. In addition, they are able to run an Asterisk server for wireless VoIP calls. This addition is another interesting twist to in the Wi-Fi game as most VoIP systems kill the throughput of Wi-Fi access points. To combat this problem, FunkFeuer has implemented a “Ready to Send” signal that reduces the empty signalling traffic that normally plagues VoIP networks, and Aaron reports that they have little to no throughput degradation on their network.
For more information on FunkFeuer check out: www.funkfeuer.at.