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21 February 2006

First Glimpse of Athens Wireless Metropolitan Network

...and Wifi mucking around at home

In Athens there is an open wireless network. I knew as much and had visited the website of the Athens Wireless Metropolitan Network. Apparently they use directed antennas to build "backbones" that at some point connect to the greater Internet. It follows that you need some equipment to find out if you have any connectivity. They have a map where you can look up access points and "connectors" in your area, but this won't tell you if you really have a signal. This morning, due to mucking around with my own miserable wireless connection, I catched a glimpse of an AWMN signal myself.

With my own wifi access point I'm having a bit of an interrupted love affair at times. Or rather it's my Titanium PowerBook that has a problem due to the (known) problem of the case shielding the Airport card and antennas. It has happened to me before that I was sitting next to someone with an iBook and the other guy got a signal just fine, while I was out myself. At home the result is short bursts of misery, trips to the access point to wiggle the antenna, and starting KisMac to see if the signal is really that low.

This morning I woke up early, cuz I had an idea: What if my problems were due to the channel setup being on "automatic" on the AP. One symptom was that KisMac reported good enough signal strength usually, but dropping to 0 for a second or a half a lot. So I went and tried it out. At first I got kicked off the net after switching the setting to a fixed channel. But then it worked reasonable enough. We'll see how well it will work in the long run. But then I noticed my version of KisMac to be grossly outdated. So I went to download a new version of KisMac.

And funny enough, this new KisMac showed me a glimpse of a wifi access point with an ID starting with AWMN-... Hello Athens Wireless Metropolitan Network (site in Greek)! Unfortunately the reception wasn't good enough to actually try and connect: KisMac only gave it about 3-4 points, sometimes going back to 0. But with a proper antenna setup I likely would have gotten a useful connection out of it. So, "bummer, I could have gotten Internet for free"? Somehow yes, but on the other hand getting an antenna and hax0ring my PowerBook to use an external antenna would have cost money too. Having my own connection gives me another level of support and quality-of-service. Also we have telephone at home too now. But taking part in the wireless network is still an interesting option for the future, even if it is just for fun.

Posted by betabug at 11:10 | Comments (11) | Trackbacks (0)
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Spotted by AWMN

What a post on the AWMN forum writes about me:

Likely the guy did not understand something about me (I can't blame him because he can't read English).

It would be nice if they wrote a few words in my comments.


Posted by: betabug at February 22,2006 20:19
Re: First Glimpse of Athens Wireless Metropolitan Network

Hey there in Switzerland …
Your story is very intriguing thinking that AWMN has started from a handful of people…
Just to believe that somebody from Switzerland would write something up about our network, which is squashed in a small corner of this earth, would be unbelievable a few years back.
I am eager to hear the SSID that you got in your scans.

AWMN is a growing non-profit Wireless community network established back in 2002-2003 and its purpose is the total wireless coverage of Athens.
This wireless network operates in the 2.4GHz and 5GHz ISM bands and once connected you can find hundreds of services developed and maintained by amateurs. In general you will not get free Internet Access as a rule, but for sure you will find very interesting services at lightning fast speeds comparing to what Greek Broadband reality can offer you right now. The coverage at this point is beyond the dreams of any of its first few members. Visit and you will see what I mean

Apart from providing bandwidth for free and being an open community, AWMN has its own central offices situated in the heart of Athens (Sintagma Square) where various training sessions as well as events take place. We support and try to promote open source software, we teach people how to protect, care, and use the ISM bands, we teach and share ideas about routing protocols, OSes and we collaborate with varius institutions and companies towards a technologically aware and informed country.

In a small sentence… We are lovers of technology and with a lot voluntary work we share knowledge and network communication between all levels of our small society.

Next time you visit Athens… don’t hesitate … drop us a line … We will be eager and very happy to meet you up!


Posted by: Joseph (NetTraptor-awmn) at February 22,2006 20:28
Re: First Glimpse of Athens Wireless Metropolitan Network

Γεια σου Ιωσήφ!

Thank you for the feedback! I actually live in Athens all the time, except for the summers which I spend on Limnos, as you can see in other posts of my weblog. I do read and sometimes even write some Greek.

Unfortunately I did not save the log from KisMac and did not write the SSID down. At the moment my wireless card has a problem, so I can't try to "catch" the signal again. I have already had a look at and saw that there are two nodes close to my home. Likely I got a stray signal from one of their access points.


Posted by: betabug at February 23,2006 23:24
Re: First Glimpse of Athens Wireless Metropolitan Network

Hi, Grützi, Yassos, Salam

Sascha, You have a nice site here.. plenty of info about Greece especially for a first-time visitor. Thanks.

Actually I came accross your site by Googling for Wifi access in Athens where I'll be spending the month of July in the Felothei area together with my family, and my laptop :-D.

I had a look at the AWMN site and seen all the nodes in Athens but couldn't make heads or tales out of it, I even subscribes to the site. Does this realy work? Could you just take your laptop within a node's limits and get hooked to the net? do you need any software like a P2P or similar? Unfortunately the forum site is only in Greek otherwise I could have asked for help there.

Thanks again for all info you could give me.

Posted by: hamshary at June 20,2006 12:13
Re: First Glimpse of Athens Wireless Metropolitan Network

hamshary: I assume that you don't need any special software to connect to AWMN *as a client*. If you would want to take part as a real "node", then you need software.

Appart from the software I think you might need an external antenna, because the signal is distributed from rooftops, so strength is pretty low.

My suggestion: Contact someone from the AWMN project. When you do a post in English, someone will likely point you in the right direction.

Posted by: betabug at June 22,2006 16:02
Re: First Glimpse of Athens Wireless Metropolitan Network

"Likely the guy did not understand something about me (I can't blame him because he can't read English)."

ROFL dude, we are not a 3rd world country. Just because you can't understand greek doesn't mean we can't understard english. Get over yourself.

Posted by: Babis at June 30,2006 23:25
Re: First Glimpse of Athens Wireless Metropolitan Network

Sorry, didn't mean to sound bad. But anyway, we can speak english :).

Posted by: Babis at June 30,2006 23:31
Re: First Glimpse of Athens Wireless Metropolitan Network

"Just because you can't understand greek doesn't mean we can't understard english."

Ρε Μπάμπη, σου πιστεύω ότι ξέρεις αγγλικά, μάλλον το πρόβλημα είναι αλλού: Ή κάποιος δεν έχει χιούμορ ή κάποιος δεν διάβαζε... διάλεξε εσύ, γιατί εγώ δεν ξέρω ελληνικά όπως μου λες εσύ :-)

Posted by: betabug at July 01,2006 00:20
Re: First Glimpse of Athens Wireless Metropolitan Network

LOL καλά το'πες φιλε betabug

what everybody else failed to point out is that as a *greek* amateur network, it's a place to learn and to help, to meet many fellow geeks - radio-amateurs and even she-geeks ;)
There are many meetings going on, including links-talk, tech-talk, football-talk, women-talk, and of course beer and greek food :D you should consider coming to one..

as for the language part, i could undestand a few swiss words some time back (my german teacher was swiss) but now "it sounds all Greek to me" :P

Posted by: panoz at July 02,2006 14:43
Wonder How AWMN is doing w/ Greek Economic Reset

"dude, we are not a 3rd world country."
Funny, recent reports in the Western media would seem to indicate otherwise.

Greece is precisely a 3rd world basket case.

Wonder how that AWMN is doing now-a-days?

Posted by: LOS ZETAS at March 30,2014 07:03
Re: First Glimpse of Athens Wireless Metropolitan Network

"There are many meetings going on, including links-talk, tech-talk, football-talk, women-talk,"

If your not 3rd world country, but rub shoulders w/ Scandinavian nations, do you have meetings where women can enjoy men-talk?

Posted by: LOS ZETAS at March 30,2014 07:08
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