back to article How do you solve a problem like Willowra?

One of the things we've had to consider as we plot our return to Willowra, and our mission to improve the performance of the network in the Wirliyajarrayi Learning Centre, is what kind of hardware to use. If you're coming in late to this tale, the learning centre offers the first publicly-acessible, internet-connected PCs in …

  1. chivo243 Silver badge

    Central source of Windows updates.

    WSUS, built in the system in 2008r2. Just make sure you only allow updates for their systems/applications. Set it do downloads in the off hours when bandwidth is available. Or someone at Vulture Central can download them every month and burn a DVD and send it off in the post?

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Don't Use Windows


    Better security.

    Lighter hardware requirements.

    More tuning options.

    More reliable.

    Easier to administer remotely.



    People won't be learning the most common desktop operating system (although the principles will remain the same).

    1. Mystic Megabyte

      Re: Don't Use Windows

      I agree with AC, you should have gone with FOSS.

      It could be argued that hunter gatherers were the original freetards. In that spirit FOSS makes the most sense.Microsoft licences do not grow on trees.

    2. P. Lee

      Re: Don't Use Windows

      It depends if the apps they need only run on Windows.

      I seem to think an earlier article said Windows was mandatory - or was that for something else? Otherwise yes, if there's no onsite technical expertise, OS choice probably depends on who wants to support it, though an ssh session might be lower bandwidth than RDP. If FLOSS is on the cards, LTSP anyone?

    3. chivo243 Silver badge

      Re: Don't Use Windows


      Did you read the story? YOU can use what you like, but their project requirement states:

      "Our thinking is that improving network performance will require a central source of Windows updates."

      Just giving advice that fits the question.

  3. BeStRaFe

    Open Source for

    If you have the intel NUC's for free you can throw on PFSense + SQUID to get what you need

    Squid supports caching of Windows Updates with a little hacking -

    Caching can be done to the SSD to conserve bandwidth for general http traffic

    If you want to do filtering there are some options but a DNS Based solution via OpenDNS would work well, filtering rules on the firewall to block outbound UDP 53 to anything apart from the PFSense box would also stop somewhat IT persons from changing their DNS and bypassing the filter

    You would need to also include a vlan capable switch to bypass the single ethernet port limitation of the NUC

    There are also Hardware based PFSense appliances that support USB and multiple interfaces, the trade off here is the cache would need to be an SSD or Mechanical drive in a USB Case and the CPU power of these boxes is minimal compared to a NUC especially when caching is involved.

    Depending on the hardware, you would also have the ability to have the config file on SDCards that can be posted in case of failure or have a cold spare there waiting in case of failure.

  4. This post has been deleted by its author

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Community closures

    Wouldn't it be easier to just wait for the Liberals to deem this community (like so many others) unviable and cut off services (water, electricity, Medicare, Centre link and so on) until only the truly hardy can manage to survive there.

    Then just pull out the internet connection.

    Job done.

    Or, alternatively, wait for the NBN to deliver FTTC to this 'suburb' as promised.

    Or wait for a Google balloon or similar to drift by.

  6. Forty Two

    +1 for WSUS- if windows updates are what you want. Learning Center - hopefully nice discount from MS for educational use if you don't have a copy of 2008R2 or 2012 laying about.

    Had never messed with it until last week needing to retire old server 2003 machine. Spun up a 2012vm, installed the WSUS role/feature, fired up the management snap-in and in 30 minutes flat had it configured. Very easy and intuitive interface. Checked on it 2 hours later and it had found all the machines on the subnet I had specified along with their update status and was happily waiting for 6:30pm to synchronize with Windows update to download the files to local disk for distribution. You don't have to touch the client machines. Next morning - 3am updates all done on over 700 PCs with one or two that I do need to have one of the techs go look at, the point being the reporting and status features are more than sufficient. All in all easier than smelling the stink of a four day dead dingo at five paces.

    Would not use Windows to update *nix nor use *nix to update Windows. Just begging for admin headache and I hear its a very long drive.

  7. Andrew van der Stock

    If you decide to go the WSUS route, get it fully populated before sending it out. Updating via slow satellite versus city network connection would kill the satellite connection for weeks.

    If you're not planning on managing the rest of the computers at the remote location, pfSense + squid hack to handle Windows Update (and iOS updates and MacOS updates) is a better choice that can be remotely managed and you don't need to pre-populate the cache on the off chance that someone is still running 64 bit Vista.

    I think pfSense (which is web based) + squid as a local web cache is a much better remote managed solution that will give you the local caching and DNS caching that will make the Internet connection work better than trying to do tricks like compressing or optimising the satellite link a la Riverbeds. Obviously if you have Riverbeds as well, it might be even better.

  8. JamesTQuirk

    2 parter, maybe, Solar Panel Car Battery Charger + a Card based PC capable of replacing desktop .....

    OS: Android 4.4.2 or linux3.4.39 with 80 Cores (16 CPU+64 GPU) 2gb rom 8gb ram, all the bits ...

    $169 ...

    and stick another with FreeNAS + 64GB SD as web/email server, with a router with Wifi, to collect updates etc ...

    Those Card based PC have low power req, and Gigabit lan, WIFI, Bluetooth, & probably will fit in a small AussiePost Express Post Bag/Envelope ....

    PS.. I boot WIN7 partition on this PC as a VM, If I am desperate to die of update boredom .....

    1. JamesTQuirk

      Part2 ? Maybe ...

      Do you have phone lines, a trick in dialup days was to combine multiple lines to increase speed, I could ramble on but, here's the pretty version,

      It works on more than 2 lines, as well .... but u need a PC with a "FEW" modems in it 0r USB, RS232 Connected, Let me Know, I may have the odd 20-30 56k modems laying around in NSW ....

      but this should work with better connections (adsl/adsl2), not just dialup ....

  9. JamesTQuirk

    And 1 of those Card PC's, A Car Battery, A Solar Battery recharger, A 12V Car/Caravan USB WIFI extender with a big aerial, in Large Plastic box in tree top, may be close to a repeater station, Do you have Tree's ?

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