APANA PRESENTATION AT APRIL MEETING
Steve Fraser from the Australian Public Access Network Association, or APANA, gave a detailed description of his organization's history, its activities, members' services, and its affiliations.
Around 1990 networking and communications' enthusiasts in Adelaide with close Wireless Institute and amateur radio connections got together with a few others to form the Public Network group, or Pubnet.
In the early days Pubnet provided a dial-up Bulletin Board Service, or BBS, to members. Their BBS dialed up other similar organizations for email and data exchanges several times a day . To equip the BBS the group purchased computer equipment, MODEMs and arranged telephone line access for operation at one of the member's private homes before moving to rented premises in a more central location on North Terrace Adelaide where they operate today.
After successfully running Pubnet for a few years in Adelaide, the group agreed to join a newly formed Australia-wide organization, APANA, to gain additional advantages. So in 1995 Pubnet transmogrified into the Adelaide Branch of APANA.
The various branches of APANA operate autonomously throughout Australia with a total membership somewhere near 500 nationally all benefitting from the central management of their affairs in such matters as collecting fees, paying GST, etc. Their original charter to provide networking experimenters and enthusiasts with a means to experiment or otherwise enjoy the benefits of a low-cost, not-for-profit, "reasonable use", largely unrestricted, non-commercial environment remains the same.
The Adelaide Branch have meetings at the Brecknock Hotel each month as well as keep in touch via email to discuss various changes to the equipment and services that APANA provide within the financial constraints of the group.
If you wish to attend an APANA monthly meeting go to the Brecknock Hotel, King William St Adelaide on the last Friday of the month and ask at the bar - visitors are always welcome.
Steve went on to describe the equipment and services provided by APANA.
The Adelaide Branch of APANA have a somewhat underutilized 2 MB stream connection to Internode for their Internet access.
Membersí services range from simple email through to permanent WiFi connections via Air Stream. Permanent broadband access is also possible at APANA, but only via another ISP.
Dial-up access is the most popular service. Dial-up is offered in a Standard 56K 4 hours/day $165/year service or in the Gold version of 12 hours/day at $205/year. The 10 phone lines used for dial-up access are more than enough to presently provide "never busy" lines at a full 56K. Compare that with most other dial-up services!
Air-Stream access is via an antenna on top of APANA's North Terrace rented premises. If you choose to use Air-Stream to access APANA you will need to join that group as well as APANA for an additional $50/year.
Other services include a VoIP PABX using Asterisk software (Andrew demonstrated this software at the February meeting), web page mastering, and Virtual Private Networking, or VPN, to allow high security connections to other private networks using Internet tunneling. Some members are experimenting with IP version 6.
Steve said that APANA would like to be able to offer ADSL directly to members, but presently the cost of providing DSLAMS with access to the Internet backbone in the various telephone exchanges around Adelaide is, unfortunately, prohibitive. However, recent statements made within the telecommunications industry concerning better broadband access could make this possible in the not-too-distant future. It is certainly hoped APANA can offer ADSL soon.
You can see more about the APANA group and the services they provide at