The Personal Telco Handbook

The PersonalTelcoHandbook was initially assembled by TomHiggins using material written by himself and others. DanRasmussen is updating it (April 2012).

The handbook aims to be a printable and distributable resource for Node Hosts, Node Owners, and anybody who wants information on PersonalTelco.

It is composed of these Personal Telco wiki pages: PTPHandbookAbout, AboutThePTP, PotentialNodeOwner, PotentialNodeOwnerFaq, NodeOwnerHelp, CoreIdeas, and ContactUs. See also: PersonalTelcoHandbookTodo.

Table Of Contents


  1. The Personal Telco Handbook
    1. Table Of Contents
  2. About The Personal Telco Project Handbook
    1. License
    2. How To Use This Book
  3. What is the Personal Telco Project?
    1. The Personal Telco Project Mission
    2. History of the Personal Telco Project
    3. Who We Are
  4. So, you want to be a Node?
    1. Have/Get Internet
      1. Cable
      2. DSL
        1. Phone Line
      3. WiMax
    2. Wireless Hardware
      1. Indoor networks
      2. Outdoor networks
    3. Management Software
  5. I still want to be a Node, but I have more questions
    1. What does "node" mean? How does a "node" differ from an "access point" or a "wireless router"?
    2. Must I have a DSL Connection? What about going "all wireless"?
    3. What about liability? What if someone uses my node for bad things?
    4. How do I make sure people play fair with my internet connection?
  6. Node Owner Help
    1. Troubleshooting
      1. Step 1. Can you see the ESSID?
      2. Step 2. Contact the PTP
      3. Step 3. Make sure the Access Point has Power
      4. Step 4. Get an IP Address
      5. Step 5. Open a Webpage
      6. Step 6. Everything is Okay?
      7. Step 7. Investigate Wiring Problems
    2. Credits
  7. What Is Behind The Personal Telco Project?
    1. The Wireless Commons Manifesto
      1. Charter Signatories
      2. The Manifesto
      3. Community Wireless Definition
        1. Non-Discriminatory Routing
        2. Organic Growth
        3. Mesh Networking
        4. Distributed Ownership
        5. Best Effort
        6. End-to-End Connectivity
        7. Fully Routable Addresses
        8. Fault Isolation
        9. Anonymous Access
        10. Building Use and Generating Content
    2. Peering Agreement v1.1
      1. Preamble
      2. Agreement
        1. Article I. Free Transit
        2. Article II. Open Communication
        3. Article III. No Warranty
        4. Article IV. Terms of Use
        5. Article V. Local Amendments
      3. Definition of terms
      4. The FNPA in practice
  8. Contact Us
    1. Email
    2. Non-Profit Organization
    3. IRC
    4. Twitter
    5. In Person

About The Personal Telco Project Handbook

This document, like all of the documents created by the Personal Telco Project, is a work in progress. Time changes all things and so too the information in this document will change over time. All of the information presented here can be found on our website, the difference being the website will contain more current edits, refinements and updates. Your are invited to make any edits, refinements and updates as our documentation is not only a work in progress but open for all who are interested to take part in its growth. Please visit our web site ( for more information.


This Documentation is published under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 2.5 license. Under this license, you are free to copy, distribute and display the book, to make derivative books to make commercial use of the book under the conditions that you must attribute the work in the manner specified by the author or licensor. Any copies or derivative works must include a prominent link to our website If you alter, transform, or build upon this book, you may distribute the resulting book only under a license identical to this one. For any reuse or distribution, you must make clear to others the license terms of this book. Any of these conditions can be waived if you get permission from the copyright holder. Your fair use and other rights are in no way affected by the above. The full legal license can be found at

How To Use This Book

This book was made to help introduce you to the Personal Telco Project and answer the most commonly asked questions regarding becoming a node and how to keep a node running once created. It is not meant to be exhaustive - our web site is the place for that. Nor is it meant to be a primer on the world of Wireless Networking. There is a fantastic, and free, book on that subject that you can download from the Wireless Networking for Developing Worlds website: . In many ways that book is the nuts and bolts of any wireless network, not just the one we are building in the Personal Telco Project. We highly recommend it to all interested in the subject, regardless of your level of knowledge.

A major component of any learning experience is conversation and mentoring. We welcome you to visit our regular meetings or to interact with us on our email lists and our collaborative website. Information on the mailing lists is here: Meeting information can be found on our main website:

If you picked up this book to find the locations of our network nodes, please visit our Node Map at . Everyone who uses the networks makes it stronger simply by using it.

Thank you for taking the time to learn about the Personal Telco Project.

What is the Personal Telco Project?

The Personal Telco Project Mission

"To promote and build public wireless networks through community support and education."

Personal Telco is a grass roots effort to build an Internet-connected wireless network in Portland, Oregon. By deploying our own wireless access points, and providing the tools and support for others to do so, we are fostering the global growth of city-wide networks which are open to -- and maintained by -- the public.

History of the Personal Telco Project

PTP was formed in August 2000 by a few friends interested in the budding wireless networking technologies and has since grown into one of the world's leading Wi-Fi community groups. In 2003 and again in 2004 Portland won the Intel-sponsored ‘Best Places To Use Free Wi-Fi’ award, mainly due to the efforts of PTP. We are a group of volunteers who use their free time to build and maintain the network for the benefit of Portland residents and visitors.

Our flagship node overlooking the Pioneer Courthouse Square area serves Internet users every day, and has been providing free Wi-Fi since March 2002 -- longer than the Starbucks/T-mobile in the Square. In fact, when Intel showcased Wi-Fi technology last summer (2005?), the PTP node had over three times as many users as the free-for-a-day T-Mobile node in Pioneer Courthouse Square area. Personal Telco nodes are easy to use and increasingly ubiquitous.

Who We Are

Personal Telco members are your neighbors, your customers and your friends. Our community is vast and all-inclusive. Our members range from computer experts who are proud to be called geeks, to business professionals who call IT every time they need to print. We are teenagers and grandparents. Anyone interested in free wireless access for the public is welcome in PTP. This is something we are passionate about, and we are always eager to share that passion.

So, you want to be a Node?

Personal Telco receives many emails from individuals and businesses containing the same question: "What does it take to 'become a node'? I think I want this, but how do I do it?". We're happy you asked -- read on!

These documents are part of a Wiki, a web-page that anyone can edit. If you think you can improve it, please do so! If you still have questions after reading this document, see the PotentialNodeOwnerFaq.

Have/Get Internet

First things first, Personal Telco does not provide you internet. When you are a node, you are providing internet to others. As such, in order to fulfill this act of generosity, you will need an internet connection with which to be generous.


In order to stay out of trouble with obnoxious terms of service, you should not use residential class cable internet service. If you are willing to get a business-class service, and specifically get 'this is for a hotspot' in writing, you should be in the clear. Otherwise, look for local DSL-based ISPs, which generally have much more liberal terms-of-service.


DSL (digital subscriber line) is a technology that uses the old copper wires that have historically provided telephone (voice) service to your house/business. There are a few DSL Internet Service Providers (ISPs) that we can recommend (they have at some point indicated that they are "sharing friendly").

Phone Line

In addition to an ISP, you will need to have a phone line to carry the DSL service. You don't necessarily need landline telephone service, but you need the wires to carry the DSL service to your building. Most likely you already know who your phone company is. CenturyLink (formerly Qwest) and Frontier (formerly Verizon) are the local "consumer" phone companies, and have seperate territories. In any one location, you can get service from one or the other, not both:


In the last few years, another internet service vehicle has appeared in the market, that being WiMax. Clear (and a few others reselling Clear infrastructure) now offers a wireless internet connection at somewhat lower cost. Unless you have a strong signal though, Clear can provide disappointing service. If there are too many subscribers in your area, you might also have problems getting a fast connection. However, we have a number of nodes running off of Clear and they work okay.

Stephouse Networks can also provide fixed-wireless service in some areas. They have been a generous supporter of Personal Telco over the years. They donate the internet connection that serves our Mississippi Avenue network.

3G/4G services might be usable, but due to bandwidth caps, this is probably not a viable route for a long-term node.

Wireless Hardware

This used to be more of a problem than it is now. Personal Telco has hardware that we can loan for new Personal Telco nodes. The primary choice is whether you want an outdoor network, or want to start with or stick with an indoor network. We are happy to build indoor networks, but we prefer setting up outdoor networks because they spread the network farther than an indoor network can: wireless signals reach more people unimpeded by walls and ceilings. Depending on the expected size of the network, we have a variety of hardware that might be suitable.

  1. The OpenWrt Buyer Guide should help you find a suitable device.

  2. See if you want to replace the Antennas on that device.

  3. And finaly you may want a weather-proof outdoor enclosure: e.g. FreiFunk Outdoor Box

Indoor networks

For indoor networks, these days (late 2013) we are recommending the Buffalo WZR600DHP. In fact, we generally have some of these in stock and can flash our software on them and get one to you on short notice. The downside is that these cost us money and so we generally ask node hosts to re-imburse our costs (around $70) for them. They are a wonderful improvement to our earlier devices (below) with dual-band radios, with much faster processors and much more memory. There are a few other similar devices that can work, but we have standardized to some degree on these and have software ready to go for them. We can provide one or more of these, on indefinite loan:

  • Netgear WGT634U
    • a classic 802.11b/g router, with a WAN port and 4 LAN ports
  • Accton MR3201A
    • a single ethernet, 802.11b/g access point

however, these have been becoming less viable as gateway routers, due to gradual increases in the features we are deploying. They can still do reasonable duty as indoor mesh nodes.

If you'd like 802.11n capability, we would recommend a Ubiquiti AirRouter, which is inexpensive (~$39). We would need you to fund these, since we don't have an existing supply.

Outdoor networks

For outdoor networks, we have a supply of equipment salvaged from the old MetroFi network, the aborted municipal wireless network that once covered patches of Portland. MetroFi failed because the company's management was incompetent - their wireless devices, though large, heavy, and sometimes difficult to mount, seem to work reasonably well when deployed densely enough. We have one network so far (2012) of a few of them near Arbor Lodge Park in North Portland, and another network on the way. We'd love to restore this hardware to again serve the public. We might need help with funding the mounting hardware for these.

Four or five years ago, we recommended Soekris-based AccessPoints - $500 per device, complete with radios and antennas. In 2012, there are better cheaper options. These days, we would recommend a Ubiquiti Bullet M2HP (~$80), an 802.11n-capable device that can screw right onto an outdoor antenna. We would need the node host to fund these. However, they work well and are much easier to mount than a MetroFi SkyPilot device -- and less apt to pull your chimney down.

We have a limited supply of Alix 2D13 hardware that can be used for indoor "gateway" devices for outdoor networks. With funding, we can buy more (~$115).

Management Software

The Personal Telco Project develops and deploys its own custom firmware for its networks. This software allows us to manage the networks, to keep track of how heavily the networks are being used, and to identify and block "abusers". This is the primary "value-add" that Personal Telco can provide over self-managed networks.

In our experience, and open wifi networks become more and more rare, open networks will eventually be abused by one or more users. Typically the abuse will be in the form of BitTorrent or similar peer-to-peer software. The "abuser" typically doesn't understand that they are making the network difficult or even impossible for others to use. Our capacity to block them provides a feedback mechanism that helps them realize their activity is rude and inconveniences others. We've found that people are usually quite happy to have access to an open wifi network, and that withdrawing that access is a powerful corrective. Once network abusers learn the error of their ways, they can return to productive co-existence with their neighbors.

Our newer firmware deployments also provide IPv6 connectivity, a "splash page", and a "virtual mesh network" of participating Personal Telco nodes. The splash page provides a way of identifying the host of the network, so visitors on your node know who to thank!


I still want to be a Node, but I have more questions

After reading PotentialNodeOwner, some people still have questions. If you haven't read PotentialNodeOwner, please do so, then return here if necessary. If your question isn't answered here - ask us!

What does "node" mean? How does a "node" differ from an "access point" or a "wireless router"?

"Node" is simply a generic term for an individual component of a computer network. Access Points and Wireless Routers are network components, hence they are nodes on a network. In other words, they are types of nodes. For Personal Telco, "Node" has a specific meaning as defined in NodeStandards and NodeTypes.

Must I have a DSL Connection? What about going "all wireless"?

One exception to the "you need an internet connection to share" is if you happen to be close to an existing Personal Telco network. In that case, you might be able to piggyback off of that network. Extending a SkyPilot network is a good example of this scenario. If you are close to one of our existing SkyPilot networks (currently just NodeArborLodge, but perhaps near "restaurant row" along 28th on the eastside coming this Spring), then hosting a SkyPilot on your building could extend the signal. This is still unusual, so don't get your hopes too high.

What about liability? What if someone uses my node for bad things?

The Electronic Frontier Foundation has written about this, and concluded that you are not liable for the bad actions of others. Does that mean that the cops won't wrongly kick down your door? No. However, if they do and you are innocent, then you might have cause to sue them. We aren't lawyers, so this isn't legal advice. The good news is that the local police seem slightly more clued than others. A child-porn case in Milwaukie, Oregon led investigators to a home, but they checked the wireless and discovered the illegal activity was not from the service address of the internet connection, but a neighboring home. The police knocked on that door instead.

Our experience is that, across 60-odd networks we manage, we see a DMCA takedown letter a few times a year. We check the indicated network for the indicated abuse, and write back. Usually, the delay between the alleged infringement and the arrival of the letter means that the infringing activity is no longer occurring. We report what we found (usually nothing), and reiterate our willingness to block infringing activity, given timely notice, and then never hear another thing about it.

We are not aware of any cops-breaking-down-the-door incidents at any Personal Telco nodes, ever.

Personal Telco members do attempt to keep abreast of technology-related legal issues.

How do I make sure people play fair with my internet connection?

This is a common concern, but in our experience there is little trouble with this. If you notice a problem on your network at all, it is likely to be BitTorrent or another peer-to-peer networking application soaking up all your upstream bandwidth. We try to dissuade people from using BitTorrent on Personal Telco networks for this reason, both using automated means (by detecting and auto-blocking them, temporarily), but also manually, by monitoring network usage and logging in remotely, identifying the user and blocking them more permanently (at least until we can have a discussion about why they were blocked, and ask them to stop).

It is possible to limit the bandwidth available to the wireless network, but for obscure technical reasons it can be difficult to make it work well. Firstly, you can really only effectively shape outbound traffic. You have essentially no control over whose traffic gets sent to you by your ISP. In order to prioritize your traffic, it is usually necessary to know the total capacity of your network connection, so that you can cause queuing to occur under your control. We are often installing our equipment in a place that doesn't know the capacity of the network, because the node host's private traffic is outside its vision. So, it *is* possible, but in practical terms, we've found that there are easier solutions (outlined above) to reach an acceptable compromise.

The "BitTorrent problem" has been recently identified by some as a problem of "buffer bloat". Mitigating the buffer bloat problem might also make this problem largely go away. (-- DanRasmussen 2012-03-10 11:53:11 "Recently" like when? Any updates, experts?)

If it is essential your network stays zippy but you still like the idea of donating bandwidth, consider a separate internet connection for the Personal Telco node. This does entail an added expense, but your two connections will be completely isolated.

Node Owner Help

An accessible and concise guide to basic troubleshooting internet connection problems with a Personal Telco node.

The most recent version of this document will always live here: The version you are viewing is current as of 2023-09-23.


This section assumes you have a wireless-enabled device, and that you're unable to connect to a Personal Telco node. This is a flowchart: start at the first step and work your way through until you solve the problem.

Step 1. Can you see the ESSID?

Each wireless network your computer can see is identified by its ESSID (or Network Name). A Personal Telco node, by definition, has an ESSID of "". If you can see "" in your computer's list of available wireless networks, go to Step 4, otherwise, go to Step 3.

Step 2. Contact the PTP

If you've arrived at Step 2, the solution to your technical issues isn't covered in this troubleshooting guide. Please contact us at, describing the problem and the steps you've taken to solve it.

Please let us know if this document was (or wasn't) helpful.

Step 3. Make sure the Access Point has Power

Your access point is most likely a small device with an antenna connected to it. Find it, and make sure it is powered on. If it is, go to Step 2, otherwise, plug it in and go to Step 1.

Step 4. Get an IP Address

Your device should get an IP address from the Node. If you use Windows, try this:

  • go to Start -> Run

  • type "cmd", Enter
  • in the black box, type "ipconfig", Enter

Do you see an IP address? Most likely it looks something like: "" (TODO: add screen shot)

If not, try this:

  • in the black box, type "ipconfig /release", Enter
  • then type, "ipconfig /renew", Enter
  • finally type, "ipconfig", Enter

Do you see an IP address now? If not, go to Step 7, otherwise go to Step 5.

Step 5. Open a Webpage

Open your web browser -- we recommend Mozilla Firefox, if available for your device, and recommend not using Internet Explorer.

Open any webpage, e.g. Can you see it? If you have a captive portal, you should see the splash page (with the Personal Telco logo) - if so, click "Accept", then visit

At this point, you should see the website you wanted (e.g. Google) If so, go to Step 6. Otherwise:

  • Go to Step 7 if it says something like " cannot be found"

  • Go to Step 7 if it says something like "... is not responding" or "... cannot be contacted

Step 6. Everything is Okay?

If you reached here, it seems like all is well. If not, perhaps you have a problem not covered in this document: go to Step 2.

Step 7. Investigate Wiring Problems

Your setup might look something like the above diagram. You will have a DSL modem, a Access Point, and often, a Captive Portal. Make sure these are connected to each other as shown. Also, at each connection check for a little green light - this is the "Link Light." If it isn't lit, then either the other end is disconnected or the wire is damaged. If you think everything is connected properly, go to Step 2. If not, do your best to connect the devices as shown in the diagram, if it still doesn't work - go to Step 2.


Created by DonPark and CalebPhillips over beers at NodeLuckyLab. Updated by DanRasmussen.

What Is Behind The Personal Telco Project?

Often we are asked, “What are you folks really trying to do?” There is no simple answer as each PTP volunteer brings to the group their own slant and predilection on what they want PTP to be/become. However, there a few documents, not created by our group, that most of us would agree establish what can be termed the “core elements” of the PTP.

The Wireless Commons Manifesto was drafted by several key players in community networking, among them PTP's first president Adam Shand. The document set forth goals and definitions for what community network could become. Many years have passed since its writing but it still rings true.

The FreeNetworks Peering Agreement was created by the members of, an organization the PTP is proud to be a part of. is a volunteer cooperative association dedicated to education, collaboration, and advocacy for the creation of FreeNetworks. Participating groups show solidarity and support the cause by building a network that follows the FreeNetworks Peering Agreement.

The Wireless Commons Manifesto

"We can't create a culture of freedom and innovation, but we can build a network which fosters its growth."

Charter Signatories

  • Adam Shand (Personal Telco)
  • Bruce Potter (CAWNet)
  • Paul Holman (Shmoo Group)
  • Cory Doctorow (EFF)
  • Ben Laurie (Apache-SSL)
  • David P. Reed (Open Spectrum)
  • Schuyler Erle (NoCat)

  • Matthew Asham (BC Wireless)
  • Lawrence Lessig (Creative Commons)
  • Jon Lebkowsky (EFF-Austin)
  • James Stevens (Consume)
  • Steven Byrnes (Houston Wireless)
  • Richard MacKinnon (Rocksteady)

  • Duane Groth (Sydney Wireless)

The Manifesto

We have formed the Wireless Commons because a global wireless network is within our grasp. We will work to define and achieve a wireless commons built using open spectrum, and able to connect people everywhere. We believe there is value to an independent and global network which is open to the public. We will break down commercial, technical, social and political barriers to the commons. The wireless commons bridges one of the few remaining gaps in universal communication without interference from middlemen and meddlers.

Humanity is on the verge of a turning point because the Internet has transformed the way humans relate with one another. All communication can be traced to a human relationship, whether it's lovers exchanging instant messages or teenagers sharing music. The Internet has given us the ability to communicate faster and more cheaply than ever before in history.

The Internet's value increases exponentially with the number of people who are able to participate. In today's world, communication can take place without the use of antiquated telecommunications networks. The organizations that control these networks are limping anachronisms that are constrained by the expense and physical necessity of using wires to build their networks. Because of this, they cannot serve the great mass of people who stand to benefit from a wireless commons. Their interests diverge from ours, and their control over the network strangles our ability to communicate.

Low-cost wireless networking equipment which can operate in unlicensed bands of the spectrum has started another revolution. Suddenly, ordinary people have the means to create a network independent of any physical constraint except distance. Wireless can travel through walls, across property boundaries and through a community. Many communities have formed worldwide to help organize these networks. They are forming the basis for the removal of the traditional telecommunication networks as an intermediary in human communication.

The challenge facing community networks is the one limiting factor of wireless communication: distance. The relationships that can be formed across a community wireless network are limited by their physical reach. Typically these networks are growing to the size of a city, and growth beyond that point requires coordination and a strategic vision for community wireless networks as a whole. Without this coordination, it is hard to see how the worldwide community of wireless networking groups will ever merge their systems and create a true alternative to existing telecommunication networks.

There are many barriers to the creation of a global network. So far, the focus has been on identifying the technical barriers and developing methods to overcome them. But technical problems are the least of our worries, the business, political and social issues are the real challenges facing community networks. Hardware and software vendors need to understand the business rationale for implementing our technical solutions. Politicians need to understand our requirements for universal access to open spectrum. The public needs to understand that the network exists and how to get access. Unless these problems are identified and addressed, the community wireless movement will never have influence beyond a local level.

Most importantly, the network needs to be accessible to all and provisioned by everyone who can provide. By adding enough providers to the network, we can bridge the physical gaps imposed by the range of our equipment. The network is a finite resource which is owned and used by the public, and as such it needs to be nurtured by the public. This, by its very nature, is a commons.

Becoming a part of the commons means being more than a consumer. By signing your name below, you become an active participant in a network that is far more than the sum of its users. You will strive to solve the social, political and technical challenges we face. You will provide the resources your community consumes by co-operating with total strangers to build the network that we all dream of.

Community Wireless Definition

The definition of what defines a community wireless network is still in flux. Many different people and groups are trying to solve the problems in different ways. Approaches range from sharing out no-cost Internet access with stand-alone wireless hotspots to building city-wide wireless networks which are entirely separate from the Internet. Only time will tell what is the most effective approach to building a community wireless network.

Eventually we aim to create a concise definition of what the crucial characteristics of a community network are, in the mean time here is an outline of those that we feel are important to consider.

Non-Discriminatory Routing

In order for the network to remain open to all it's important to build agreements which allow traffic to pass freely over the network. Nodes in the network must pass all traffic regardless of origin, destination or content. It will be important to allow node owners to deal with abusive activity but whenever possible routing agreements should be as open as possible.

Organic Growth

The barriers to gaining access must be kept as low as possible. In order to allow the network to grow where it's needed bureaucratic and administrative requirements to join the network must be kept to a minimum. In general all that should be required to join is to find someone that is already connected and make arrangements directly with them. This is very similar to the way the Internet originally grew.

Mesh Networking

Because volunteer labor will continue to be the core of these networks it's important that require as little maintenance as possible. They should adapt to damage and restructuring as efficiently possible. Mesh networking has to potential to allow new nodes to be automatically be detected and integrated into the network, allow broken nodes to be automatically culled as well as routes through the network to be optimized on the fly.

Distributed Ownership

As the network grows and begins to provide compelling value there will be efforts to control the network for personal gain. By making sure that ownership of the network is distributed across the community as a whole we can make it as difficult as possible for the network to be commandeered.

Best Effort

It's important that we don't get bogged down in discussions of how to make the network as reliable as possible. Adopting the principle of "best effort", one of the principles that the Internet was built upon, means that the network is less encumbered and can grow more freely. It's also important that we restrict how traffic can flow across the network as little as possible so we don't fall into the trap of trying to control it ourselves.

End-to-End Connectivity

In order to maximize the potential of the network it is vital that there is true connectivity throughout the network. This means that any two hosts on the network should be able to directly contact each other without the help of a third party. This allows any device which is capable of joining the network to be capable of also acting as a server.

Fully Routable Addresses

It is true that a city-wide community network would have tremendous value without Internet connectivity, it's value can only be enhanced by adding two way connectivity to the Internet. Not only should wireless clients be able to get to the Internet, but the Internet should be able to get to the wireless clients. This opens up the new possibilities of being able to offer services world wide from a device hosted on a community network.

Fault Isolation

It is inevitable that an open network will eventually experience abuse. The network should be architected in a way that limits the amount of damage that a single attack can cause. Due to the nature of wireless networks there are some types of abuse that are impossible to protect against, but abuse in my neighborhood shouldn't affect traffic in yours.

Anonymous Access

Anonymous speech is one of the requirements of a free society. An open wireless network provides a perfect platform for us support this. It is important that we don't allow the ability to speak anonymously to become marginalized as we build the network.

Building Use and Generating Content

The more people that use the network, the more people that have a vested interest in our continued existence. The generation of content which lives on the wireless network may be the key to building usage. The more useful we make the network and the more services that are available over the network the more resources we will have at our disposal to build the network. Peering Agreement v1.1

(Note: This document is based on the Pico Peering Agreement v1.0, with minor changes)

A network is defined as any computer network that identifies itself as affiliated with, and must also follow this agreement.


There are now many community networks, but they are seperated geographically and socially and do not form a coherent network. This document is an attempt to connect those network islands by providing the minimum baseline template for a peering agreement between owners of individual network nodes - the Peering Agreement (FNPA). The FNPA is a way of formalizing the interaction between two peers. Owners of network nodes assert their right of ownership by declaring their willingness to donate the free exchange of data across their networks. The FNPA is maintained at by a group of volunteers from around the world. It is intended to be used as a template for other small-scale peering documents and licenses.


Article I. Free Transit

  1. The owner agrees to provide free transit across their free network.
  2. The owner agrees not to modify or interfere with data as it passes through their free network, except when filtering or rate limiting is necessary in order to protect the network.

Article II. Open Communication

  1. The owner agrees to publish the information necessary for peering to take place.
  2. This information shall be published under a free licence.

Article III. No Warranty

  1. There is no guaranteed level of service.
  2. The service is provided "as is", with no warranty or liability whatsoever of any kind.
  3. The service can be scaled back or withdrawn at any time with no notice.

Article IV. Terms of Use

  1. The owner is entitled to formulate an 'acceptable use policy' (AUP).
  2. This AUP may or may not contain information about additional services provided (apart from basic access).
  3. The owner is free to formulate this policy as long as it does not contradict articles I and II of this agreement (see Article V).

Article V. Local Amendments

(to be filled in ad-hoc by the node owner as this document is implemented)

Definition of terms

  • Owner: The owner of the node is the entity operating the network equipment or donating functionality to the FreeNetwork.

  • Transit: Transit is the exchange of data into, out of, or across a network.
  • Free Transit: Free transit means that the owner will neither charge for the transit of data nor modify the data.
  • Free Network: The Free Network is the sum of interconnected hardware and software resources, whose FreeTransit has been donated by the owners of those resources.

  • The Service: The Service is made up of Free transit and Additional Services.
  • Additional Services: In terms of the FNPA, an additional service is anything over and above Free Transit. For example, provision of a DHCP server, a web server, or a mail server.

The FNPA in practice

The FNPA shall be implemented in data readable form following agreed standards in community network node databases to facilitate automatic interconnection of nodes.

Contact Us


The Nature of Personal Telco

The PTP is an all-volunteer organization: many of us have neck beards. Therefore, please be patient if you do not get an immediate reply! But don't worry. We have a good track record, we care about what we do, and we will respond to your communications as soon as possible.

Subject Matter


General Questions / Help

Tech Support

<ops AT personaltelco DOT net>

Personal Telco's Website*

<webmaster AT personaltelco DOT net>

Get Involved

MailingList / IRC

* Our website is a wiki. That means you can edit it yourself! Learn how, then try it out!

You can send letters to our PostalAddress. If you need a physical address for non-postal shipments or deliveries, please contact us and we'll provide instructions.

Non-Profit Organization

Personal Telco Project is a Federal Tax Exempt 501(c)(3) and an Oregon Non-profit Corporation.

Officers of the corporation (as of AnnualBoardMeeting2019) are:


The Personal Telco Project runs channel #ptp on the server. You can find PTP members on our IrcChannel night and day, though the activity level varies with time zones and mental gestalt of the group.


The Personal Telco Project is on Twitter: we are @personaltelco. We try to respond to any tweets our way in a timely fashion, and you may use it to report node outages, though we prefer a more detailed report.

In Person

We hold weekly meetings to we can share ideas, go over problems, get new members up to speed, discuss PTP projects, and enjoy the experience of face-to-face communication. All are welcome. Please see the PersonalTelco homepage for meeting information.

PersonalTelcoHandbook (last edited 2012-04-06 13:45:18 by DanRasmussen)