No speed limits. No caps.

Strong growth for community networks offering users free, unlimited access to 'online' services and resources

By - June 21, 2009
No speed limits. No caps.

Community networks, better known as Wireless User Groups (WUGs), are continuing their strong growth across South Africa.  These community networks are typically built using standard Wi-Fi equipment, are entirely community funded and carry no monthly costs.

These wireless networks offer their members free access to a variety of resources and online services, including file sharing services, online gaming and Voice-over-IP (VoIP) services.

Previously it was the domain of the more seasoned networking professional, but these days joining a wireless user group has become much easier and more affordable.  “The price of equipment to connect to a WUG is affordable and is very easy to setup, anyone can participate,” the SA Wireless User Group says.

All major cities in South Africa have well established community networks, including the Johannesburg Area Wireless User Group (JAWUG), Durban Wireless Community, Cape Town Wireless User Group (CTWUG), Port Elizabeth Wireless User Group, Bloemfontein Wireless User Group (BFNWUG), Stellenbosch Wireless User Group, Potchefstroom Community Network and the Somerset West Wireless User Group.

PTAWUG growing network

The Pretoria Wireless User Group (PTAWUG) is one of the fastest growing community networks in the country.  The PTAWUG grew from just 4 members in January 2007 to over 400 members in May this year.

The PTAWUG’s Dawie Joubert, aka Protzkrog, says that there are currently 427 users connected on the Pretoria network and this number is growing at between between 20 and 30 new members per month.  This network, served by 46 highsites, covers most of the Tshwane metropolitan area, from Hammanskraal in the north to Heuweloord in the south.

Apart from the standard resource sharing and other advantages of being connected to other members on a large wireless network, the PTAWUG offers its members free dedicated gaming servers to for their online gaming needs. 

MyBroadband Sponsorship

After the success of the sponsorship of the PTAWUG’s Lyttleton highsite – which has become an important resource to link Centurion to Pretoria East – MyBroadband offered to sponsor two more high sites on the PTAWUG network. 

The new sites will support a link between Wierda Mall and Heuweloord providing additional backhaul capacity to grow the Pretoria wireless network and allow additional people to join the PTAWUG.

A full list of Wireless User Groups in South Africa and how to join these networks is provided on the South African Wireless User Groups website (http://www.wug.za.net/).

Wireless User Group (WUG) discussion

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