Spring 1998 Trip Report
Independent Media Internet Server
Banja Luka Trip Report
Monday, March 16 through Friday, March 20, 1998
.........Project Bosnias objective in Republika Srpska
("RS") is to promote the free flow of unbiased information
by developing an Internet-based independent media information
infrastructure, which will enhance the rule of law in Bosnia and
Herzegovina. While this goal is distinct, it is related to Project
Bosnias work in the Federation, which connects the legal
community through the Internet. To that end, a delegation of Project
Bosnia successfully installed the Independent Media Internet Server
in the International Press Club ("IPC") in Banja Luka.
media server in Banja Luka is fundamental for returning Bosnia
to the rule of law. The free flow of information between legal
institutions, the press, and the people is crucial to the development
of democracy. The war in Bosnia destroyed much of the physical
infrastructure of the media, including libraries and printing
presses. Until these physical elements are rebuilt, an electronic
information infrastructure can accelerate the rule of law by serving
as a cheap printing press, virtual library, and global newsroom.
equipment of the equipment for the Independent Media Server was
arranged through Janet Garveys office at the United States
Information Service in Sarajevo. She worked with someone at the
US Embassy to arrange to have a Diplomatic Protocol completed
by the time we arrived on Sunday, March 15, 1998. The equipment
comprised of twelve boxes and was brought to Sarajevo as extra
luggage on the airplane.
Project Bosnia had arranged for the transportation of our equipment
to occur through Delta Cargo. It was given to Delta Cargo in Chicago
on Sunday, March 8, 1998 and was scheduled to arrive on Wednesday,
March 11, 1998 in Sarajevo. After a series of mishaps, we were
informed that the cargo would not arrive until two weeks after
we were scheduled to leave Sarajevo. To add to the problem, the
cargo was already in New York and two of the most expensive boxes
were missing. Although the boxes were never found, they were insured
Wednesday, March 11, 1998, IV Ashton spent numerous hours on the
phone with the various Delta Cargo representatives in Atlanta
and New York to resolve the problem. Delta Cargo terminated the
shipment in New York, and canceled the charges. The freight was
held in a secure location at JFK International Airport until Saturday,
March 14, 1998 when the student delegation arrived from Chicago.
A Delta Cargo supervisor, Joe Miranda met IV Ashton at the gate
and together they brought the boxes to the Austrian Airline baggage
claim. From there, Joe arranged to have the shipment sent free
of charge to Sarajevo.
of the twelve boxes arrived on Sunday with the students, and the
other two arrived on Monday. The problem, however, was getting
the equipment out of Bosnian customs. Luckily, AES Cargo assisted
us in this process. The boxes were held in a warehouse until the
Diplomatic Protocol was completed late Monday afternoon. AES Cargo
arranged to get the Protocol from the US Embassy and take it to
the airport customs office. AES Cargo transported the boxes to
Banja Luka on Tuesday morning.
Independent Media Internet Server is located at the International
Press Club in Banja Luka. The IPC was established by the Organization
for Security and Cooperation in Europe ("OSCE") before
the election. The IPC is centrally located in Banja Luka and is
easily accessible. All branches of the media are welcome at the
IPC, including the written press, television and radio journalists.
The Director of the IPC, Milos Solaja, openly supports a free
and independent press and assures us that zero tolerance for bias
exists. In fact, the Federation media and Turkish media have safely
worked at the IPC in the past.
server is located in a special room behind the main conference
room at the IPC. The location is ideal as is safe and is supplied
adequately with power and telephone connections.
Attachment A for a detailed list of equipment.
Attachment B for a detailed schematic of the network.
Sun Netra Internet server:
the core of the network is a $25,000 Sun Microsystems Internet
Server. It is a Sun Netra Internet server with Ultrasparc 167
Mhz processors and 192 megs of RAM. The server allows anyone connected
to it to browse the Internet, and likewise gives anyone using
the Internet access to documents stored on the server. A person
simply requests access to the server via one of the following
addresses: www.bl.project-bosnia.org, pbosnia.bl.project-bosnia.org,
mail.project-bosnia.org and proxy.bl.project-bosnia.org. Technically,
the server is also known by the IP address 184.108.40.206.
were no major problems in the configuration and set up of this
server other than changing the IP address and the Netmask so it
would run over the gateway. Afterwards, some small problems with
inconsistent entries in the tables for the domain name server
were found that caused mail to be infinitely looped.
Hewlett Packard Advanced-Stack 12 Port Ethernet Hub:
IBM computers are connected to the media server through a Local
Area Network ("LAN") by 10BaseT Ethernet cables (also
known as rj45), which plug-in to a Hewlett Packard Advance-stack
12 port hub. The hub, as the name suggests, serves as a way for
all of the computers (and other devices) to connect to one another.
It has twelve 10BaseT style ports, one AUI connector and one 10Base2
(thin coax) connector. A modem also attaches to the Ethernet hub
and connects the server to the Internet.
Cisco 3000 Router:
thin coax port on the Ethernet hub attaches to a Cisco 3000 router.
The router acts as the "gateway" to the Internet for
computers on the LAN by controlling the direction of the Transport
Control Protocol/Internet Protocol ("TCPIP") packets.
When the TCPIP packets are sent to the Internet from the LAN,
they first go through the router and are processed and forwarded
to INECCO.Net. This is accomplished through an attached Ascom
128k NTU, which will be described later.
obtained the Cisco 3000 router literally moments before we boarded
our plane to Sarajevo, and as such, were unable to configure it
before we left the United States. We were forced to configure
the router in Bosnia. Configuring the router proved to be most
challenging aspect of our trip.
first obstacle that we overcame was obtaining the security password.
Initially, we attempted to get the password from the company that
donated the router, but were unable to as the password was commonly
used on their routers, and thus was a security risk.
Sadler (Executive Director of Law and Computers, Chicago-Kent
College of Law) obtained instructions on how to bypass the password,
however, our attempts to do so were unsuccessful. Under normal
conditions, we would have accessed the console port of the router
to bypass the password but we did not have the proper connectors
to attach to the console port (these connectors are almost impossible
to find in Banja Luka). As such, we attempted to connect to the
router through the auxiliary port. But, as we quickly learned,
it is impossible to bypass the password using the auxiliary port.
Ashton telephoned the company that donated the router and talked
to an engineer. They reached an agreement that the engineer would
dial-in to the router to change the password (the router had a
modem connected to the console port). Initially, however, Igor
and Pat could not get the modem on the router to answer incoming
calls, but after playing around with it for about 10 minutes,
the router was answering incoming phone calls.
then called the person who was supposed to change the passwords
on the router and managed to get the passwords over the phone.
Pat changed the passwords on the router, and a technician from
Belgrade dialed into the router to configure it. However, before
we could proceed, we had to connect the router to the LAN. Both
the router and the Ethernet hub for the LAN had an AUI Ethernet
port on them. Since it would have been impossible to find an AUI
Ethernet cable in Banja Luka (they are hard enough to find in
Chicago), we were lucky that Igor had a MAU that converted AUI
problem then became finding a thin coax cable, which also proved
to be very difficult to do. Igor searched to find all of the parts
to make the connections, but was unable to find all of the parts.
Thus, we could not make the cable. Igor had to go to the Technical
Faculty at the University of Banja Luka to obtain them.
after all of these struggles, the largest problem still lay ahead.
The router still wasnt talking to the router at INECCO.
After numerous phone-calls to Belgrade we were able to get the
help we needed and around ten hours later, the router was working
and sending packets over the Internet.
Ascom 128 NTU Modems:
device connected to the router that sends the packets over the
Internet is an Ascom 128k NTU modem. It is essentially a modified
modem that is designed to run over a leased line.
128k NTU modems are fairly hard to configure, and ours didnt
come with a manual. Thankfully for us, Andrej Andrejovic, the
head engineer from Telefonija in Belgrade was working that day
in Banja Luka and was incredibly helpful in configuring these
devices. He was able to work with his people in Belgrade to configure
an interesting aside, we also had to overcome some adversity in
obtaining the modems. We arrived in Banja Luka with two Motorola
FT100 T1 terminal adapters to use as our modems. T1, however,
is a standard specific to the United States and does not work
in Republika Srpska. Since they do not sell the particular modems
that are necessary for a leased line in Banja Luka, Assistant
Dean Charles Rudnick and ABA CEELI liaison Bill Hallock had to
drive to Belgrade at midnight that night to purchase them.
3Com/US Robotics Netserver Plus 8:
access to the network is obtained through a 3Com/US-Robotics Netserver
Plus 8. The Netserver connects to 6 phone lines at the IPC to
the media server.
our trip, we did a test configuration of the Netserver in Chicago.
However, when we set-up the Netserver in Banja Luka, we had problems
with the Netmask on the network. In Banja Luka, we only had 16
IP addresses on the network as opposed to the usual 255. This
produced a Netmask of 255.255.255.240 instead of 255.255.255.0
(which is standard). For a reason unknown to us the modems did
not acknowledge the IP addresses that we initially used, and we
were forced to hard code them into the dialup client software.
LAN Four IBM Desktop Computers:
connected four desktop computers to the Ethernet hub through 10BaseT
Ethernet cable (in addition to the two computers that we brought
with us, we networked two computers that were donated by USAID).
Each of the Ethernet cables runs about 45 feet in length and runs
along the ceiling of the IPC.
had to purchase some Ethernet cards to put in the computers as
the ones we brought actually required power conversion. Igor went
to a local computer store and purchased four Ethernet cards.
Other problems overcome
also had a small problem was the distribution of IP addresses
on our network. For some reason, only a few computers acknowledged
the DHCP for IP address assignments. As such, Pat had to switch
all of the computers to static IP addresses.
Independent Media Internet Server is connected through a 16K dedicated
leased line supplied by INECCO, a local Internet service provider
in Banja Luka. We have arranged for a special 50 percent discounted
rate on the cost of the leased line. The monthly cost of this
line is $555.00 (US dollars). (For more detailed information regarding
this agreement, see Attachment C the Memorandum of Understanding
between Project Bosnia and INECCO). In addition to this connection,
the server is connected to six dial-up lines. As such, the media
server makes email and Web information available to anyone with
a modem-equipped personal computer and an account on the server.
Hallock, the ABA CEELI representative in Banja Luka and Milos
Solaja are helping oversee the management of the media server.
Milos will watch the day to day operations of the server, and
Bill will be responsible for paying for the leased line and the
network administrator of the media server is Igor Loncarevic.
He was instrumental in setting-up the network and is very familiar
with how the system operates. Prior to his work with us, he has
worked on UNIX-based systems since 1992. He is also the network
administrator at the University.
agreed that we would pay him 500 DM for his work helping set-up
the server and for his services through March. We also left with
Bill Hallock, 810DM to pay him for the Month of April. We agreed
that he would work an average of 15 hours per month (.5 hours
per day) and for the first months would receive a set fee of $30.00
(US dollars) per hour. This equates to $450.00 or 810DM per month.
His rate will increase to a set fee of $40.00 after if the IPC
obtains a United States Information Service ("USIS")
Democracy Grant, which we applied for when we were there (see
below). (For more detailed information, see Attachment D).
journalists will be key to the success of our project. When we
were in Banja Luka, IV Ashton, Tomas Johanson, and John Warden
held a small training group of about four journalists.
Independent Media Server is comprised of the following equipment:
Netra Internet Serer
1 Processor (167 Mhz)
Megabytes of RAM
Gigabytes of Hard Disk
Inch Sun Color Display
2.6 Operating System
Lite 3000int UPS
AUI to 10Base2 MAU
Advancestack 12 Port Hub
10BaseT Ethernet ports
10Base2 (Thin Coax) Ethernet port
Netserver 8 Plus
incoming phone lines
unused (total of 8)