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Documentation of the Technology used by Basic Internet

BasicInternet infrastructure

The BasicInternet infrastructure consists of a central core network, being located at UNIK. The main functionality is the accounting and the provision of access rights for the various networks.

BasicInternet core infrastructure

The picture below shows an example of the local core infrastructure, here with a split of voucher traffic and BasicInternet traffic, each being served by one Mikrotik device.

BasicInternet client infrastructure

Selection of Mikrotik devices

Comparing the RB1100AHx2 and the RB960PGS-PB (by Iñaki May2017). Aspects to consider

  • power consumption
  • the amount of traffic/users we want to cover on a specific area and
  • costs, considering CAPEX and OPEX.
  • I'm not considering whether the equipment needs to be indoor or outdoor.

When considering the amount of traffic/users, RB1100AHx2 model is the winner.

  • First, because of the license level, which in this case is 6 (the highest one) compared to license level 4 in case of RB960PGS-PB. In the following page there is a table comparing different license numbers:
  • Second, because of the hardware capacity. RB1100AHx2 model is able to handle between 2 to 4 times more traffic than the RB960PGS-PB.
  • If we are thinking on a installation where the idea is to place a server with content such as videos... then I would go for a RB1100AHx2, otherwise the RB960PGS-PB is a good option.
  • Regarding the power consumption and outdoor enclosure the RB960PGS-PB (max 9W) model is more convenient than RB1100AHx2 (max. does not specify but have to be quite high due to the fans).
  • If the main driver is the energy consumption and/or cost, then definitely RB960PGS-PB model is the winner.

Server for both routing and content

see discussion on DigI_talk:TI1.2

Extending the Basic Internet Network

note on use of ASA: each simple router will do the job, need to be adapted based on the capacity to handle

Option 1: DHCP for each sub-network

BasicInternet ExtA.png

Provide each University (or even parts of a University) with an own sub-network.

  • Requires a path from Mikrotik to one ASA

ASA providing different DHCP, f. eks. 172.16.x.x for University A, and 172.16.x.x for University B

  • class B: 172.16.x.x (16 bit for networks, 16 bits for end network - max 65000 users per network)
    • example: need for 5.000 IP addresses = 13 bits for end users, rest for network (20.000 students, 5.000 every day)
  • class A: 10.x.y.z/8 - 8 bit for the network, 24 bits for the end users (> 2million end users)
  • class C: 192.168.1.x/24 - 24 bits for network, and 8 bits for end devices (255 devices)
  • new: supports also classless...

Option 2: Tunnel from each ASA

BasicInternet ExtB.png

Central infrastructure with one ASA

  • each site has an own ASA providing DHCP
  • on-site ASA has a VPN back to the central ASA

Satellite provision

We have two basic forms for distribution of the Basic Internet

i) Satellite Modem includes Router Board
e) Satellite Modem has an exteral Router Board

The Router Boards are preconfigured with an IP address, and thus only need to be connected to the satellite to be connected automatically to the billing centre at Kjeller.

Si1 configuration

Configuration Si1, converting the satellite link into a local Wifi link

The Si1 configuration includes

  • a satellite dish (1.2 or 1.8 m diameter)
  • a satellite modem including the router board, e.g. RouterBOARD 951Ui-2HnD
  • a wifi unit, transmitting the 2.4 GHz, e.g.

The receive antenna can typically be set up on the ground, at a wall or whatever other place is suitable.

Si5 configuration

Configuration Si5, converting the satellite link into a local distribution to 5 or more customer equipments

The Si5 configuration includes

  • a satellite dish
  • a satellite modem including the router board, e.g. xxx
  • a distribution network, consisting of directional links from a main antenna to smaller antennas at the customer site. The link is typically operating at 5 GHz, e.g. SXT Sixpack
  • a wifi unit, transmitting the 2.4 GHz, e.g. xxx

In the Si5 configuration we need to ensure free sight (no obstacles, no trees) between the main distribution antenna and the antennas at the customer site. This might require mounting the 5 GHz distribution networks on poles. Typical maximum ranges are 5-8 km for each of the distribution links.

Si20 configuration

same as Si20, but with 4 x 90 deg antennas for distribution to a total of 20 or more customer receive stations covering the whole area. The kit is SXT Sixpack- WISP Starter Kit, cost $445


  • need to identify the satellite modem with integrated Router OS
  • functionality of Router Board 4 SHPn

Power consumption of the Satellite Installations

Power consumption of Configuration Si1 [W] Si5 [W] Si20 [W]
Satellite modem (1 Mbit/s link)
5GHz distribution network
Customer equipment


The radio link configuration is similar to the satellite configuration, where the satellite link is replaced by a radio link.

Configuration R1...20

Radio link configuration, either as single point or as a distributed network

The configurations R1...20 can make use of whatever carrier providing the access to our feeding network, being it an 802.16d WiMAX link, a 5GHz Wifi link or a 24 Ghz directive link.

Mobile Networks

BRCK, the converter of Mobile networks to Wifi

We intend to use the BRCK - your backup generator for the internet, founded by Ushahidi as part of the Internet for Africa initiative.

The BRCK comes with a backup battery, and has a range of options to adopt to the application areas:

  • an external omnidirectional antenna for better reception
  • a solar panel for operating in areas without power

We are working on the BasicInternet software extension to adapt the BRCK to our needs.

MikroTik + USB modem

Another option to have Internet access through mobile networks is by combining a USB capable MikroTik router together with a USB modem.

In the following link several MikroTik compatible USB modems are listed:

Selection criteria:

  1. If available and compatible 4G modem
    • The only modem without any problem and supported by MikroTik v5.25 is BandRich C501. <-- Unfortunately is out of stock everywhere.
  2. Else 3G modem
    • There are not many 3G modems available in Norway and fully supported by MikroTik
    • Not any 21Mbps modems at all
    • The only available modem is the Huawei E173 (7.2Mbps)

Power over Ethernet (PoE)

Power over Ethernet (PoE) is defined by two standards:

  • IEEE 802.3af
  • IEEE 802.3at

The first one, 802.3af, is the first published standard, and the second one, 802.3at, also known as PoE+ or PoE plus, is an evolution of the first which provides more power.

On the other hand, MikroTik does not follow those standards even if it says its devices are PoE capable. The input voltage range is different and thus, it offers some additional products to transform any standard PoE source into a compatible input.

The following table describes the two IEEE standards and some MikroTik PoE speficifations:








mAP 2n

IEEE 802.3at IEEE 802.3af
Voltage range

at end device

8-30V 8-30V 8-30V 10-57V 42.5-57V 37-57V
Voltage range at

powering device

- 24V power


24V power


- 50-57V 44-57V
Power at end


7W 7W 11W - 25.5W 12.95W
Power at

powering device

- 19.2W 19.2W - 30W 15.4W
Requirements RBPOE

PoE injector






PoE injector

Cat5 cable Cat3 or Cat5
Notes Passive PoE Passive PoE Passive PoE

Solar Power

MikroTik has a well explained wiki page with a complete description about Solar Power.

Solar Power

Evolution from current networks

I have/My organisation has an own infrastructure and would like to help.

When you would like to help us in providing your own Basic Internet Wifi link, do as follows:

  • If you just want to provide free Basic Internet, create an SSID "BasicInternet" and redirect all traffic to our IP address: Note: We will then filter the Opera Mini traffic, and ignore all other traffic.
  • If you would like to include the voucher-based access, please get in contact with us and we will provide you with a router OS board.
  • Note: we consider to open up for third party access to our infrastructure, but have not yet established the procedures.