Citywide WiFi - Questions

Discussion in 'Community Discussion' started by hotwire132002, Apr 17, 2006.

  1. hotwire132002 macrumors 65816

    hotwire132002

    Joined:
    Jan 24, 2004
    Location:
    Cadillac, MI
    #1
    All I can say is... WOW!

    For a couple years, I've headed ConnectedCadillac, an organization dedicated to providing free WiFi hotspots around downtown Cadillac. My eventual goal was to provide free WiFi access to the entire downtown district.

    Today, I approached the city about putting a hotspot at the most central downtown park. They asked me to put together a proposal not just for wireless-ing (is that a word? ;)) the park, but the entire downtown district! :D

    I told them that although I haven't done such a large-scale hotspot, I'd see what I could put together. I haven't done much research on the issue yet (I'll hit Google right after I finish typing this post) but I figured that someone here might have some insight as to where to start.

    Our downtown district is well under a mile square (probably about a half mile long by a quarter mile wide) but it's certainly not going to be covered by a simple router and a few extenders.

    If anyone here has worked on a project similar to this, I'd love to hear any advice you could give! Mean time, I'm off to Google... and wish me luck! ;) :)
     
  2. Oryan macrumors 6502a

    Oryan

    Joined:
    Apr 1, 2005
    Location:
    Lincoln, NE
    #2
    I helped install wireless networking at a large retirement home. To cut down on the number of routers we needed we installed a custom firmware that allowed us to increase the broadcast signal strength. IIRC, we were using Linksys routers, but I can't remember the firmware name. Also, I'm not sure what the FCC would say about this.
     
  3. Stampyhead macrumors 68020

    Stampyhead

    Joined:
    Sep 3, 2004
    Location:
    London, UK
    #3
    Why? This has been done before. They have city-wide WiFi here in Tempe and it works well (except you have to pay for it, it isn't free). You might want to see if you can find out who was behind the Tempe install and see what they used.
     
  4. hotwire132002 thread starter macrumors 65816

    hotwire132002

    Joined:
    Jan 24, 2004
    Location:
    Cadillac, MI
    #4
    I think he's talking about the replacement firmware -- since it increases the signal strength, it may violate FCC limitations.

    Nice suggestion, though. I've been researching solutions as well, and it looks like we may go with a WiFi "mesh" -- Apparently, it's sort of a redundant network of WiFi routers. Howstuffworks.com has a better explanation - look up municipal WiFi. ;)
     
  5. Coolnat2004 macrumors 6502

    Coolnat2004

    Joined:
    Jan 12, 2005
    #5
    Aren't there like... outdoor access points meant for this type of thing?
     
  6. hotwire132002 thread starter macrumors 65816

    hotwire132002

    Joined:
    Jan 24, 2004
    Location:
    Cadillac, MI
    #6
    There are, but range is an issue.

    I just got off the phone with a company (Tropos) that manufacturers specialized routers for wide-range wireless networks (like our citywide hotspot situation). They were extremely helpful -- it looks like I'll be talking to my contact at the city Wednesday and working from there.
     
  7. Stampyhead macrumors 68020

    Stampyhead

    Joined:
    Sep 3, 2004
    Location:
    London, UK
    #7
    Ah. My apologies, Oryan, I misunderstood your statement.
     
  8. Stinkythe1 macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Mar 30, 2005
  9. Oryan macrumors 6502a

    Oryan

    Joined:
    Apr 1, 2005
    Location:
    Lincoln, NE
    #9
    No problem. I wasn't very clear in my writing.

    This sounds like a great project to me. I'd be very excited if my city decided to do this too. :)
     
  10. obeygiant macrumors 68040

    obeygiant

    Joined:
    Jan 14, 2002
    Location:
    totally cool
    #10
    I live in Oakland County, Michigan and they will have county wide free wifi by the end of this year. Its prolly at dsl speeds but if you want faster you will have to pay for it. It seems like a nice way to generate revenue for the city.
     

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