Philly's citywide mesh Wi-Fi net will be challenge
The wireless network is expected to cost between $7M and $10M
IDG News Service - The idea sounds good on paper: Build a mesh network of wireless Wi-Fi base stations and let users roam around an entire city instead of providing limited connectivity in a handful of hot spots. But will it work? The city of Philadelphia hopes so.
"This is an interesting project because it entails building the world's largest mesh Wi-Fi network," said John Krzywicki, president of The Management Network Group Inc., speaking yesterday in an interview at the Broadband World Forum in Venice. But the consultant warned of challenges facing the venture.
"Even though a similar mesh network is operating in Chaska, Minn., that doesn't mean it will work in Philly," Krzywicki said. "The Chaska network is small. The one planned in Philadelphia is much larger, with all the complications of connecting hundreds of users in any given location at the same time."
Earlier this month, the city of Philadelphia announced its plans to invest in a new wireless mesh network based on the Wi-Fi 802.11b standard. By deploying Wi-Fi antennas on street lights and other traffic control devices, city officials hope they can turn all 135 square miles of Philadelphia into the world's largest wireless Internet hot spot, the city said on its Web site.
In comparison, the Chaska Wi-Fi network covers about 13 square miles.
Between eight and 16 Wi-Fi antennas will be needed per square mile in Philadelphia, depending on the topography and buildings in the area, the city said. The plan is to connect these units and create a self-organizing and self-healing wireless mesh network.
Once complete, the Wi-Fi network, estimated to cost between $7 million and $10 million, would deliver broadband Internet almost anywhere radio waves can travel, including neighborhoods where high-speed Internet access is currently rare.
City officials are aiming to complete their plan by early December and to invite bids from Internet service providers and equipment suppliers by February.
Krzywicki said he knew of one other large U.S. city planning the construction of a similar mesh Wi-Fi network, but he wouldn't identify it.
In June, New York City unveiled plans to build a public safety wireless network of unprecedented scale and scope, including the capacity to provide tens of thousands of mobile users with the ability to send and receive data while traveling at speeds of up to 70 mph citywide.
- Silicon Valley's 19 Coolest Places to Work
- Is Windows 8 Development Worth the Trouble?
- 8 Books Every IT Leader Should Read This Year
- 10 Hot Hadoop Startups to Watch
- Slideshow: 7 security mistakes people make with their mobile device
- iOS vs. Android: Which is more secure?
- 11 sure signs you've been hacked
This state transportation department uses computer science students from a local university as programming interns, and everyone is happy with the arrangement -- until one intern learns how to bring down the mainframe.
- IT Certification Study Tips
- Register for this Computerworld Insider Study Tip guide and gain access to hundreds of premium content articles, cheat sheets, product reviews and more.
- Changing the Way Government Works: Four Technology Trends that Drive Down Costs and Increase Productivity
- This paper discusses four technology-based approaches to improving processes and increasing
productivity while driving down department and agency costs.
- Logicalis eBook: SAP HANA: The Need for Speed
- Without timely business insights, organizations today can suffer logistical, manufacturing, and even financial disaster in a matter of minutes
- Neustar 2014 DDoS Attacks and Impact Report
- For the third consecutive year, Neustar surveyed hundreds of companies on distributed denial of service (DDoS) attacks. The survey reveals evidence that the...
- Acxiom Case Study
- This case study, which focuses on Acxiom, explores how the company was able to secure employee data, reduce migration costs and boost productivity...
- Windows® XP Migration: Protect and Secure Critical Data
- With the end of the Microsoft Windows XP operating system's lifecycle on April 8, 2014, businesses are faced with the decision to migrate... All Government IT White Papers
- Top 4 Digital Signage Fails Join RMG Networks for a look at four of the most common reasons digital signage fails in corporate businesses. Learn about strategies to...
- Building Tomorrow's Infrastructure Listen to this podcast to discover how Crider Foods worked with PC Connection to update their IT infrastructure, while maintaining compliance and control.
Enhance Your Virtualization Infrastructure With IBM and Vmware
Date: Wednesday, May 14, 2014, 1:00 PM EDT
Virtualization technology is now expanding beyond the server compute elements to encompass networking and storage...
Transforming Finance, Procurement and Supply Chain Effectiveness with Cross-Functional Analytics
Date: May 6th, 2014
Time: 1 PM EDT
Attend this Webcast to find out how Oracle's packaged analytic applications enable line-of-business managers to examine all...
- Cloud Knowledge Vault Learn how your organization can benefit from the scalability, flexibility, and performance that the cloud offers through the short videos and other resources...
- All Government IT Webcasts