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MonkeyBrains Projects

Overview Wireless DSL Fiber Hosting


MonkeyBrains is researching and deploying new and old technologies as we find ways of using them. Hosting and colocation services are the backbone of MonkeyBrains. Our core network is located in the best connected Carrier Hotel of San Francisco: 200 Paul Ave. Within that building, we are have our gear in the 'brain' of the building -- the Meet Me Room -- which connects every network in the building to the outside Internet.

Leveraging this infrastructure, we have rolled out high speed access services in the past two years: fiber to buildings, high speed wireless links, and in-building DSL. Our current Year 2011 research and development is aimed at affordable fiber to homes and businesses in San Francisco. Our target access service areas are Districts 6, 9, and 10.


Microwave and FSO (infrared lasers!) are the two wireless technologies we have deployed. Primarily, we use Ubiquiti gear to provide high speed 20Mhz-wide microwave links. Residential and small businesses are placed on PtMP sectors while medium and larger business get PtP links. Backhauls (connections from towers to fiber links) are either FSO or dedicated microwave links -- in either the 5Ghz or 60Ghz specturm. Some higher end business get 100Mbps BridgeWave links or 1Gbps Athena Wireless links.

Our growth in 2010 was real exciting...


MonkeyBrains uses DSL technology to provide service to buildings with old wiring and more than 10 units. We put a a DSLAM in the telephone room and then add DSL service to people's phone lines right in the building. In building, ADSL easily does 20Mbps -- when ordering traditional DSL services, companies say things like "oh! You are 7,000 feet from the Central Office, you will only get 2Mbps". When we place the DSLAM in the building, we can easily provide 20Mbps with ADSL2 and higher speeds with VDSL. The uplink for in-building DSL is either a wireless link or a fiber optic link.


MonkeyBrains orders circuits from our data center (200 Paul Ave) back to buildings in San Francisco. Tenants in those buildings can get Gigabit speeds, and neighboring buildings can get connected via wireless to fiber lit buildings.

Ordering a circuit (from places like AboveNet) is reasonable for business customers, but not for residential customers. We want to bridge this gap and make fiber speeds available to residential units by dropping our own fiber in the streets of San Francisco. The method we wish to use is called microtrenching. Rudy was inspired by an article about Ni Q. Lai of Hong Kong -- he runs an ISP and provides 1Gbps speeds to residential customers for $26/month! For more information, read our letter to DPW requesting information on the permit process.


And of course, hosting! There are three types of ISPs: access (wireless, dsl), hosting (websites, colocation), and transit (connecting another ISP to the Internet). We do all three, although the transit side of MonkeyBrains is the smallest.

New for 2011 in hosting is our desire to drastically cut back on power consumption. Smaller customers are being placed on modern, lower wattage systems (Atom CPUs) with ample horsepower. We are more or less forcing people to do this, so we foot the bill for the hardware, they continue to pay the same monthly rate, and after a year, they get the 'lower power' colocation rate. Everybody is happy about this. Another thing we are doing is folding customer into virtual servers -- we can build a modern server which can host 10 customers, and then power off 10 older, power-wasting boxes.