Kibbutz Reshafim, 10905, Israel -

Computers

Back in the year 2000 there were about 180 households on the kibbutz, about 90 of them had at least one computer. Of these, 80 were connected to the internet, most by modem, a few lucky ones (I was green with envy) through our local area network. Our router was connected to our ISP (Mishkei) by a 128kb framerelay connection.

Ruth and her late husband, Zion The private ownership of computers by the over-sixties was still relatively rare, though quite a few used them at work. Ruth (on the picture here with her late husband, Zion) was one of the pioneers among the elderly, writing plays and essays. Arie R. used the computer for composing music. Shammai wrote his dissertation on Husserl which he finished in 2001, getting his PhD, Yoav L. was into programming. There were about 50 households of people over sixty, only about ten of them had computers.

LAN 2001 Among the younger kibbutzniks, 60% had computers and practically all of these had an internet connection.

 

By May 2002 the number of private dial-up internet users was almost 100, one member had a broadband cable connection which did not work properly, and about a dozen were hooked to our 10-Mb LAN. The framerelay had been expanded to 256 kb and we installed 10 mb-VDSL connections to the neighbourhoods.

In February 2003 more than 50 members had been connected to the local area network via the VDSL connections and the bandwidth of our internet connection was expanded to 1Mb. We had also changed our ISP (Bezeq international).

We upgraded our Internet connection to a bandwith of 2 Mb download and ½ Mb upload in August 2004, bought a new firewall and a bandwidth monitor. About 110 private users were connected to the LAN, more than two thirds of all households.

LAN 2006

Another bandwidth upgrade to 4 Mb by 1 Mb in November 2005 wasn't as successful as the previous one, and we were having a few teething problems.

Our 4 by 4 Mb bandwidth served us quite well for about two years. But with the summer holidays looming we needed to expand. We ordered at the beginning of summer of 2008, but with the telephone company dragging its feet for two months ("Sorry, we've mislaid the order"), it was September when we got our upgrade to 8Mb up and 8Mb down. A small step for mankind.

In October 2010 we expanded our bandwidth to 16 by 16 Mb Metro.

By this time our VDSL connections to the neighbourhoods had grown a bit unreliable. We experimented with connections over cable which proved unusable. So we had fibre cables layed to the neighbourhoods which still had only a VDSL connection in the spring of 2011 and everybody had a 100 Mb LAN connection. For the offices of the agricultural branches where installing fibre cables would have been too expensive, we purchased a modern VDSL bridge which improved things no end.

In early 2012 we enlarged the bandwidth of our internet connection to 24 by 24 Mb.

In the spring of 2012 we started an interactive kibbutz website at kehilanet which we abandoned the follwing year because of a lack of interest on behalf of our members.

In March 2013 Terraflex cut its connection to the kibbutz LAN and went its separate ways. We changed our ISP (012 instead of Bezeq International) and raised the bandwidth to 40 Mb. About 170 households, the kibbutz administration, the fisheries, the dairy, the orchards and a few others were connected to the Internet via our local area network. For all but the remotest users who are connected by VDSL over telephone lines, we offer fibre to the neighbourhood (FTTN), partly over multimode fibres, the newer ones are single mode. A new neighbourhood which is about to be built in the northwest corner of the kibbutz, will have fibre to the home (FTTH), which will carry internet and telephone and (if we can afford it) cable tv.
Terraflex going it alone did not work, so two months later they reconnected to the kibbutz network and internet connection.

2014: Our LAN is definitely showing signs of having gone beyond maturity and reaching senility. There simply are too many of us for this kind of infrastructure. Private routers proliferate and every now and then somebody manages not to understand instructions and connects his router in the wrong way, which causes mayhem all over the LAN. Then there are short power breaks which cause transmission hardware to malfunction and some people apparently can't help playing around with the switches in the cabinets.
LAN 2016 We have therefore started planning a Gigabit fibre-to-the-home network which will cost anything up to 2 Million Shekels.
Ok. Two million Shekels, that's what we thought in January it would cost. We got an expert in to keep expenses down and now, in June, they've grown to three millions. A contract has been signed with Rotal, a major Israeli communications company. That happened quite quickly, perhaps, as some have suggested - honni soit qui mal y pense - to prevent further "cost cuts" by the expert. So, what will we get for our hard earned doubloons? Every user will be connected via his private optical fibre to the central switch with a bandwidth of 1 Gb. We should get an Internet bandwith of 100 Mb, growing 30% every year. The telephone will use optical fibre as well and we'll have an additional pair of fibres for TV.

March 2016: After three or four Completion-of-the-Project-parties we are not quite there yet, but we are still full of hope. At any rate it won't be my personal problem anymore as I am now officially retired and an outside company with some forty technicians is supposed to do what I did singlehanded. I may have been undervalued.

LAN 2017 December 2016: Things are improving slowly. The far-off branch computers at the dairy, the fisheries and the orchard office have been connected to our fibre-optic LAN. People have accepted by now that, as an old age pensioner, i'm no longer responsible for our LAN and computers and they phone the call centre instead of bothering me. Our internet bandwidth was boosted up to 200 Mb.

In January 2017 a local domain for the computers at the kibbutz main office was introduced with centralized data storage and backup to the cloud. The central communications equipment for computers and telephony is no longer backed up just by our trusted 6 kVA UPS, but additionally by a generator, which starts automatically in case of power cuts.

 

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