Internet @ Burning Man 2019

Version 1.1. Check this page or the mailing list brc-wifi-list@burningman.org for updates.


Burning Man provides an Internet backbone for Black Rock City participants. While we try our best to provide great service, we cannot guarantee a specific level of service in terms of bandwidth, latency ot uptime. Nor can we offer any support. Participants themselves organize "Doctors Hours" most days of the event for mutual help.

To participate, you need to have a specific kind of microwave radio, mount it in your camp, aim it and keep it powered. This radio acts as a router and DHCP server and has a wired ethernet port. To get WiFi, you'll need one or more WiFi access points. To keep our backbone working well, it's best to configure access points to use 2.4 GHz only (and disable 5 GHz). In the spirit of Radical Inclusion, we encourage you to share the Internet not just with your campmates, but all burners.

The radio we recommend is the Ubiquiti NanoBeam AC Gen2 NBE-5AC-Gen2-US. It's available for about $100 from the manufacturer, Amazon and other places.

Also supported are other Ubiquiti 802.11ac radios, e.g. NanoBeam AC 19 NBE-5AC-19. The older M-series radios, e.g. NanoBridges, are no longer recommended, but will work at a slower speed.

Different zones of Black Rock City are covered by different antennas. Each zone requires a different configuration file. The map below is a rough guideline. You can try different configurations to find the strongest signal. Mutant Vehicles should use the Deep Playa sector.


Instructions:

  1. Reset your NanoBeam to factory defaults. There are several ways to do that; the easiest is to power up the radio, wait one minute to ensure it is fully booted, then hold down the reset button on the PoE injector for 10 seconds. The reset button on the NanoBeam itself can break off if too much force is used, so it is safer to use the reset button on the PoE injector.
  2. Plug your laptop into the LAN port of the PoE injector. Give the laptop the static IP address 192.168.1.21, netmask 255.255.255.0. Open a web brower and go to http://192.168.1.20/ . If it's a device with old firmware, login as user ubnt, password ubnt. Devices with newer firmware will prompt you to create a username and password. Do so. You'll need to remember both for about 10 minutes. Go to the System tab. The first two letters of the Firmware Version field show the board version. Click on Upload Firmware and upload the firmware version recommended below. Do not disrupt power or cables during firmware upgrades; otherwise your device could be bricked.
  3. After the login page refeshes, login again, click on System, scroll to the bottom and click on Upload Configuration. Upload one of the configuration files below, depending on your location.
  4. Aim the radio visually toward the tallest tower in Center Camp, near the Cafe. The sector antennas are mounted at about 40 ft (2/3 up the 60 ft tower). For finer aiming, connect to https://172.21.0.1 , user name guest, password radicalinclusion . Click on the Tool logo in the upper right and select Alignment. Numbers closer to 0 are better.
  5. Connect switches and access points to the ethernet port of the radio. The radio acts as a router and gives out DHCP leases out of a pool of 4000 per radio.


Firmware

WA board, e.g. NBE-5AC-Gen2-USWA v8.6.1
XC board, e.g. NBE-5AC-19-USXC v8.6.1
XM board, e.g. NanoBridge MXM v6.2.0


Configuration Files

The latest production run of the Ubiquiti NanoBeam AC Gen2 NBE-5AC-Gen2-US has a secondary ethernet port for which 24V PoE passthrough can enabled. Below are config versions with PoE passthrough disabled and enabled. NanoBeams with just one ethernet port work with either version.

NanoBeam with PoE passthrough disabledNanoBeam with PoE passthrough enabledNanoBridge
3 o'clock3 o'clock3 o'clock
6 o'clock6 o'clock6 o'clock
9 o'clock9 o'clock9 o'clock
deep playa and art carsdeep playa and art carsNope!