Village:CuTEL HQ

From Electromagnetic Field 2022
Revision as of 18:50, 9 February 2022 by Marrold (talk | contribs) (→‎Modems)
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CuTEL are hoping to provide traditional copper telephone services ("POTS") to most of the site, as well as Dial Up internet, BBS access, Faxing and some limited ISDN and ADSL services.

If you're into retro telecoms or just want to hang out you're welcome to join us.

You will need

In order to connect to the network you'll need a couple of items. We've engineered things to make it as cheap and easy as possible.

  • ~50m Ethernet Cable, CCA is fine and can be purchased for as low as £11.99 Amazon Link - If you're desperate to get a connection it might be sensible to bring 2x 50m and return 1 if you don't use it.
  • An RJ45 Coupler - ideally not the really cheap beige coloured ones that fall apart. We'll have these available to buy.
  • An RJ45 to BT master adapter. We'll have these available to buy.
  • A phone, modem, fax machine, or some other retro device that interfaces with a phone line.

If you plan to bring your own BT master socket or other cabling you're welcome to but it must be terminated with RJ45 on the far end.


Analog Telephony / POTS

A traditional telephone network - in a field.


  • The gateways support pulse dialing used on older rotary style phones but don't support converting pulses to DTMF mid-call which will make navigating IVRs difficult. It might be worth converting an old pulse dial phone to use DTMF, or bringing a spare one with DTMF support.
  • We're aiming to integrate with other telephone networks on-site.
  • If you wish you can use a splitter to plug in a phone and a modem or some other combination. Lines are limited to 2 REN.

Dial Up Internet

We'll be providing good old fashioned dial-up internet. In theory the platform supports full v.92 56kb/s - In practise you're more likely to see 30-45k because the core network is VoIP based. Some Cisco proprietary magic makes it work fairly reliably despite running over VoIP.

If you need closer to 56k or a more reliable connection (like if you're demonstrating several retro computers or hosting a LAN party) please get in touch and we'll see what we can do.

You will need

  • A modem and a computer / OS that supports it. In theory the hardware supports 300b/s up to 56kb/s


We've tried desperately to support IPv6 over Dial Up but ran out of time. We were using a Mikrotik router to do prefix delegation with DHCPv6 and dhcpcd on the client side, however:

  • Router Solicitation messages over a PPP tunnel seemed unreliable. Sometimes it would work and sometimes it wouldn't. Restarting dhcpd after the ppp0 interface was up fixed the issue, but was a bit of a hack
  • I tried dibbler-client with inactive-mode but it was failing to start if ppp0 is missing
  • wide-dhcpv6 doesnt seem to start if ppp0 is missing either

If you're an IPv6 genius that's desperate to see IPv6 over Dial Up please get in touch.

Wholesale Services

We're running a full LAC / LNS setup with a FreeRADIUS back end so in theory other ISPs can offer their own Wholesale Dial Up services - please get in touch if this is of interest.


Faxing should just work

Bulletin Board Systems

We're hoping to run at least one Bulletin Board System (BBS) - See the "How to help" section

Videotex / Prestel / ViewData

We'd love to provide a Prestel / ViewData / Videotex service to connect to TELSTAR - This is somewhat dependent on creating a proxy (See the "How to help" section).


We have the hardware to do ISDN30e / PRI over RJ48 / RJ45. It's Cisco flavoured, so it doesn't support DASS. We can potentially support ISDN2e / BRI but currently only have a couple of line cards and so far its untested...

If you need an ISDN connection please get in touch.


We might be able to offer ADSL in a limited area around CuTEL HQ. It's likely we'll have to figure out and configure the DSLAM on-site so this might not happen on day one, or at all...

How to help

If you can help with one of the following please get in touch with Marrold


We're still after 3-4 Cisco VG224 Analog Telephone gateways for reasonable money.


  • We're looking for someone to make a simple "TCP proxy" - The modem hardware isn't capable of distinguishing between different telephone numbers so everything is bridged to the same Telnet server I.E a single BBS. To host multiple services like BBSs and Videotex we need something that will listen on multiple ports (One per "modem") accept the incoming TCP connection, query an API ( or possibly SNMP? ) to find out the dialled number, and then proxy it through to the desired service. If it comes to it we'll try and do this ourselves but its fairly low on the priorites list.
  • As it stands the modern internet is incredibly bloated and almost unusable over a dial up connection. If someone could create a couple of slimmed down web pages this would be helpful. Just some basics like news and weather.


  • If you're familiar with BBSs we'd love for someone to take the lead and create one for EMF - we're aiming for something simple that someone can use without prior BBS experience ( Just messaging, chat, an IRC gateway and some games? )


  • As well as connecting through to the TELSTAR network it'd be nice if someone created some EMF specific content available via Viewdata, stuff like the schedule, bar stock and prices, and arrivals / departures from the local train station. Again this is something we're aiming to do ourselves but might run out of time.

Host a gateway

We're aiming to provide service to most of the camping area so we'll need to distribute some voice gateways across the site, ideally in Villages. Details of the gateways are below. If you're interested in hosting a gateway get in touch with Marrold or add your details to the table.

  • 44 x 445 x 343mm in size
  • They produce a moderate amount of fan noise - probably not enough to upset your neighbours but you probably wouldn't want to sleep on top of one either.
  • They need to be kept dry and sheltered from the elements, either in a marquee, tent, or a substantial gazebo with sides.
  • Ideally you'll already have power and data nearby that we can borrow.
  • The patch panel is on the end of a ~3m cable enabling it to be placed outside the tent, so people shouldn't require access unless somethings gone wrong.
  • If you're hosting a Gateway we can lend you a phone - either a Tribune, Viscount, or Statesman. If you're lucky you might get a proper GPO 746 rotary phone but these are limited.
Name Contact Village Approx Location
(Update once confirmed)
Example Name See user profile Example Village East Side

How do I sign up to get services?

In theory the majority of services should be self-service and as simple as plugging an Ethernet cable in, however it would be helpful if we can gauge demand and have an idea of what cool stuff people are bringing. If you're bringing something, please fill in the form below (coming soon)

Name Contact Bringing Village / Location
Marrold See user profile Many Phones
Several IP Rated Phones
GPO CB935 2+4 Switchboard

Amateur Radio Village

Hardware Advice


  • Software Modems / "WinModems" are terrible. Avoid them.
  • Serial modems can be fussy when used with USB to Serial adapters and make use of additional pins like RTS and CTS. I've had the most luck with Genuine FTDI adapters.
  • If you're looking for a modern modem for use with something like a Pi I highly recommend the US Robotics 5637 USB Modem. I don't recommend paying £75 for one - They're £10-15 on EBay. Note they use an ACM driver so might not work with older operating systems. They work fine on Raspberry Pi OS. Note: I'm having some issues getting these working with v.23 1200/75 required by Viewdata so if you're desperate to use it you might need a serial modem.
  • If you want the retro aesthetic get a US Robotics Courier
  • Avoid paying too much, a lot of Buy it now listings on EBay are astronomically expensive. The average I've spent on a modem is £10
  • There's lots of Apple MA034 USB modems on EBay, avoid them. They don't work with modern versions of MacOS, let alone anything else.
  • Hoping to use an ancient 1200/75 viewdata modem with modern hardware? Don't. Very few serial adapters support the 75 baud speed. Even fewer (possibly none) support a split baud rate.
  • Doing something cool? We have a few spare US Robotics Modems with RS232 serial ports, get in touch

Contact Us

We've setup a #cutel IRC channel on Libera.Chat - You can access it via the web here

Alternatively contact Marrold

During the event you'll also be able to call us!