Village:CuTEL HQ

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CuTEL HQ

Village-CuTEL HQ.png

Description A village for doing telecoms over copper.
Contact User:Marrold
Activities Phones, BBSs, DialUp, ViewData, ISDN.
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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.

Tl;Dr

  • Bring a 50m Ethernet Cable and a Phone
  • Instructions on getting connected are here

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. Note We have ~10 80s phones we'll be selling (cheaply) at the event. A bit closer to the time we'll come up with a way of reserving one.

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.

Services

Analog Telephony / POTS

A traditional telephone network - in a field.

Notes

  • 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

IPv6

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

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 will be providing access to Telstar Viewdata service via a modem or dedicated terminal. It's also available over IP using a cross-platform client on any modern machine.

ISDN

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.


ADSL

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

Hardware

We're still after Cisco VG224 Analog Telephone gateways, or FXS cards.

Programming

  • 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.

BBSs

  • 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? )


Hardware Advice

Modems

  • 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

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