SOWN(at)HOME Node FAQ

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What is a SOWN[at]HOME node?

A SOWN[at]HOME node is one of a variety of access points typically a GL.iNet AR150 flashed with SOWN's bespoke version of OpenWRT Dedicated Driver. These units are distributed to those living around the city (of Southampton) and use the internet connection they are connected to to expand the SOWN wireless coverage.

How do I get a SOWN[at]HOME node?

You can make a request for a SOWN[at]HOME node by going to our node request page. To qualify to host a node you must live within Southampton and at least 100 metres away from a University of Southampton / Southampton Solent University campus or halls of residence and be a student or staff member at the University of Southampton. Preference will be given to areas with denser student populations.

How does a SOWN[at]HOME node work? (Simple answer)

A SOWN[at]HOME node must be plugged into an Ethernet port on your home network. Once switched on the node will connect back to the SOWN network using a tunnel through your home network's Internet connection (e.g. ADSL, Cable, etc,). This will then allow any SOWN user to connect to the SOWN network through this tunnel. It will also allow users to connect directly to Internet directly through your home network's router.

How does a SOWN[at]HOME node work? (Supplementary)

  • The node requires access to the internet via an "always on" Internet connection, such as ADSL, Cable etc.
  • The node requires an Ethernet connection to your network via a switch, hub, or router port.
  • The node requires the following outgoing ports open:
    • 80 (TCP): http
    • 443 (TCP): https
    • 5000-5110 inclusive (TCP and UDP): The VPN tunnel to SOWN. (Each node will only use one of these ports but each node is different).
    • N.B. A normal home network router's configuration will allow outgoing connections to any port number (TCP and UDP) will be allowed but incoming ports will be blocked to stop people accessing computers on your network. SOWN requires no incoming ports.
  • The node gives out SOWN IP addresses in the 10.13.0.0/16 (i.e. 10.13.0.0 to 10.13.255.255) range.
    • If your home network uses the 10.13.0.0/16 range, SOWN will need to reconfigure our node to use a different range. This may affect access to some resources/applications on the SOWN network.
  • The node by default blocks access to your internal network for those users connecting to it to gain Internet access.
  • If you wish, a SOWN[at]HOME node can put it on its own VLAN.
  • If you have a DMZ, SOWN recommends putting your SOWN[at]HOME node in there. However, if you do not have a DMZ you do not need to set one up just for the node.

How does a SOWN[at]HOME node restrict data usage?

Each SOWN[at]HOME node monitors the usage of users over the last 30 days, if this exceeds a preset usage cap, the eduroam SSID will deiappear and no further usage will be possible until last 30 day usage drops below this cap. By default this is set to 5 GB but can be adjusted to suit any usage cap you have with your Internet provider.

How much are the monthly downloads of the SOWN[at]HOME node going to be?

This will depend on your location but will probably less than 10 GB a month, (if no usage cap is set).

I have connected the node, how can I check it is working correctly?

Firstly Connect to your SOWN[at]HOME node over Wi-Fi. It will have the SSID: eduroam. When you connect to this. if you already have eduroam, you should just connect and immediately have Internet access. If not, you will be prompted for a username (e.g. abc123@some-uni.ac.uk) and password, which you use to log into systems at your university of other educational institution.

If you see no eduroam SSID, then one of the two things may have gone wrong. First, you node is over its usage cap, this is unlikely to be the case if you have just connected the node for the first time. As a node admin, you can login to SOWN's admin system and up the node's usage cap. Unfortunately, you can currently only do this when you are on the University of Southampton ECS network, (as you cannot connect via the node's eduroam SSID, which is the recommended route). We are working at providing a different means for accessing the admin site for node admins when nodes are over their usage cap.

Second, the node has not come up. If this is the first time you have connected your node, it will need to call back to the SOWN network to obtain its configuration. For this configuration to be sent back the request for it must be approved by a SOWN administrator. This may take up to 24 hours but usually will be done within a few hours depending on the time of day the request is received. If it has been over 24 hours or the node has being working previously, check the network and power cables are properly connected. If this is the case, you should expect to see at least one light on the device that periodically flashes, which indicates it is sending and receiving network data. If the node is a GL.iNet AR150, then you can check the error based on which LEDs it has on here. If after 30 minutes you still cannot see an eduroam SSID try unplugging and plugging back in the power lead. If after a further 30 minutes you still do not see an eduroam SSID, contact SOWN and report in as much detail as possible the issues you are having and we will see if we can provide some further advice, if not offer you a replacement node.