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Wireless Networking The Internet Hardware

Dayton, Ohio: Free City-Wide WiFi 350

Posted by timothy
from the approaching-normalcy dept.
_Bunny writes "The City of Dayton, Ohio announced a plan to make all of downtown a WiFi hotspot - and as of last week, the network is live. This makes Dayton the first Ohio city to offer free WiFi access. Approximately one square mile of downtown is now live, including Fifth Third Field, the Oregon District, Webster Station and RiverScape. The WiFi project is a public/private partnership not funded by taxpayers, and comes at no charge to the end user." (According to the linked story at WHIO-TV, the city is actually paying about $5,000 per year, with advertisers picking up the rest of the tab.)
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Dayton, Ohio: Free City-Wide WiFi

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  • City Wide? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Nasa Rosebuds (867909) on Monday April 04, 2005 @02:02PM (#12135681)
    I don't know what you mean by city-wide, but Dayton [google.com] is a big place and I doubt "within a 1-mile radius of downtown" really covers it all. Still, this is cool.
    • Re:City Wide? (Score:3, Insightful)

      by FortKnox (169099)
      Cincinnati is planning the same thing, and having a neighbor that already has it running will probably push this city into finishing up. Wish they had it today, cause its beautiful outside!
    • by EngrBohn (5364)
      Hmm... I could scrap my cable modem and set up a Yagi pointing toward downtown Dayton. You think 20 or so elements would get me enough gain from Xenia?
    • Re:City Wide? (Score:2, Informative)

      by Nos. (179609)
      Its interesting that they went with WiFi - and thus end up with a pretty limited area. Of course WiMax equipment is quite ready for the masses, though it is being rolled out in some areas.
    • Actually the city limits for Dayton are not all that large. For whatever reason, Dayton hasn't been able to, or hasn't tried to annex every block in their reach. Just a few blocks south of Downtown and you're in the town of Oakwood. 1-2 miles east of downtown and you're in Riverside (near WPAFB).

      I would imagine this is really just intended to cover downtown Dayton anyway. Most of the actual city of Dayton is low income enough that they probably don't have much of a use for WiFi anyway.
    • Unfortunately because Google maps still has no scale bar, your link means absolutely nothing to me. Is Dayton 5,000 square feet or 5,000 square miles? MapQuest should still be linked to when showing scale...
    • I was just in Dayton last weekend, and it is TINY. If the entire downtown area (i.e. the tall buildings, tall being quite relative in this case) was bigger than 1 square mile, it'd be news to me. The actual Dayton city limits are pretty big because there are no mountains in the way, like in other places. Dayton is a city, but it's still pretty much "the sticks"... now if Cincinnati, Cleveland, or Columbus (Ohio) got city-wide wifi, that would be a much bigger deal.
  • by Anita Coney (648748) on Monday April 04, 2005 @02:03PM (#12135700) Homepage
    This is a BIG event in history. Quite possibly the largest event ever. For the first time in history, there is actually a good reason to live in Ohio!
  • Hopefully... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by jessecurry (820286) <jesse@jessecurry.net> on Monday April 04, 2005 @02:04PM (#12135702) Homepage Journal
    ...this will become a model for other cities. I know how valuable my WiFi connection on campus and in my neighborhood has become. I would love to be able to sit downtown and know that I have internet access available.
    • Re:Hopefully... (Score:2, Interesting)

      by Cruithne (658153)
      I would too, in fact, I can definitely see making moving decisions in the future based on whether or not wifi is freely available in the municipality.

      I just hope this isnt something we look back on and say, "I really wish that ended up working."
    • Re:Hopefully... (Score:5, Insightful)

      by funk_doc (738861) on Monday April 04, 2005 @02:31PM (#12135998) Homepage
      I'm surprised that anyone here at /. would want municipal WiFi, other than the ever eluding Free Lunch. Lets take a look at some of the problems that will arise:

      Static IP and Port Forwarding. I'm sure that many of you forward ports through your router/firewall for certain applications (http, ftp...). I can guarantee that the municipality will not support this feature, and it would be impossible to get a static ip. Once the municipality monopolizes the market, there will be no competition from the private sector. You can't compete with free. While private companies in other areas offer new features, lower price and more bandwidth (they have to compete, remember) you will be stuck paying high prices (taxes) for a slow connection. While the idea of other people who don't use the internet paying for your BitTorrent downloads seems like a great idea, it will cost you more in the long run.

      Censorship. Once this municipality has the power to decide what you can and can't view on the internet, do you really think that it would never be abused. Some religious group will donate large amounts of money to a campaign, and the politician will have to repay that group with censorship legislation.

      Internet access may seem high right now, and it is. Competition is real, prices have and will continue to go down as features are being added. My Comcast connection used to cost $59/mo, now I have more bandwidth and it's only $20/mo. Government is never as efficient as the private sector, it will cost everyone much more to let the government supply WiFi rather than a private company. Also, when was the last time you heard of a government program living up to it's promise? Do you think that this would be any different?
      • I always wondered about the realities of these networks. They _have_ to employ traffic shaping of some sort, i figure. Whats to stop you from sitting in the park and downloading torrents all day. of linux isos of course. or what is to stop little jimmy from running iroffer or an fserve on his laptop ?
      • Re:Hopefully... (Score:2, Insightful)

        by baudilus (665036)
        While your arguments have merit, you would do well to take a look at who is using the internet these days. The majority of users do not care about port forwarding, static IPs, and censorship. They just want to be able to read the news and do a little browsing. This will appeal GREATLY to the casual internet user, who browses very little, but doesn't want to pay for such little usage.

        And by the way...

        ...many of you forward ports through your router/firewall for certain applications (http, ftp...). I ca

        • The problem is, there may not BE a pay service around. Are there enough users who would pay for the extra services (static IP, etc) to sustain an alternate company?

          How can they compete with free?

    • I live in Pittsburgh, and there has only been one (way botched) group to do this kind of thing here. In the meantime, we deal with unshielded and untwisted wired. I have had a hard time finding those interested in doing a city-wide wireless network. There are a total of 4 interested people, and nobody has any cash to do this sort of thing!

      I heard a statistic a while ago, that it costs less money to install a wireless network, than it does to supply the city with trashbags for the whole year.
  • Nice, but... (Score:2, Insightful)

    by jargoone (166102) *
    It's cool that they're doing this, but the problem is, there's not really much reason to go downtown in Dayton. They just built the new ballpark, but other than that, it's really a pretty crappy place.
    • maybe this is a step in the right direction. If they manage to attract professionals to this area for lunch or other free times they might be able to clean up their crappy image. I've never been to downtown Dayton, but if it's as bad as you say they need to do something.
  • by Cruithne (658153) on Monday April 04, 2005 @02:04PM (#12135711)
    Lets all do a parking lot lan party!

    Pay 4 bucks to park 24 hours, sit in your comfortable car with a laptop, and game it up on a free network... if only wireless didnt completely and totally suck for gaming :D
    • Yeah, but you can do this without free wi-fi, just make a well....LAN(LOCAL area network). You can easily make a laptop a router or just buy a router with a decent broadcast range. Going through the internet seems a bit wasteful to communicate with someone who is 4 feet from you...
  • Advertisers? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by crow (16139) on Monday April 04, 2005 @02:05PM (#12135718) Homepage Journal
    How do advertisers push their ads to the WiFi users?
    • Government spaces (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Shivetya (243324) on Monday April 04, 2005 @02:08PM (#12135752) Homepage Journal
      most likely they get to advertise through other means, like stuffing fliers into mailings or hanging their company name on official web pages related to the project. Of course you have lots of little antenna around and the support crews can be branded as well.

      Plus being government there are probably some under the table considerations like zoning issues, fees, and similar. Remember a government providing an incentive or discount is not spending any taxpayer money. That is similar to what Washington does by labeling as a program spending cut the simple fact of not increasing the allocation of funds to it.
  • Legal Issues... (Score:4, Interesting)

    by timtwobuck (833954) on Monday April 04, 2005 @02:06PM (#12135725)
    So what happens in any legal suit where there is unmonitored, illegal activity taking place over this network? Is the city liable?

    Is the city monitoring the traffic to prevent kids under the age of 18 from viewing illicit material?

    Will the RIAA come after them if someone uses this hardware to download illegal songs?

    • Re:Legal Issues... (Score:5, Insightful)

      by timeOday (582209) on Monday April 04, 2005 @02:13PM (#12135804)
      Is the city liable when drug dealers do business in a park?
      • Re:Legal Issues... (Score:2, Insightful)

        by timtwobuck (833954)
        The city is providing a service, something that doesn't exist freely.

        In your analogy to the park, if the town didn't provide the park, then they would go into the street, or if the street wasn't there then they would go into the woods. So them providing "space" is not something they can avoid.

        Now if the city was providing a large dome, under which there was no surveillance, no police, and nobody checking who goes in and out, and crimes are committed there, then yes, I would say they are liable for be
    • by fm6 (162816) on Monday April 04, 2005 @02:19PM (#12135868) Homepage Journal
      That's a good question. Answering it should help one or two lawyers put their kids through college.
    • "Users will connect to the Internet after acknowledging a disclaimer page that automatically appears from HarborLink."

      Also, you can have free access, but still require a login for tracking of usage.

      There are a number of wireless hotspots that offer free, or free for some ammount of time access, that still require a login.

    • Is the city monitoring the traffic to prevent kids under the age of 18 from viewing illicit material?

      Given that its not the city providing the wifi, I'd say no. Probably "no" to all of your other questions. I'd also say that its not "unmonitored", or at the least not "uncontrolled". It probably strictly consists of a http proxy which adds whatever ads the advertising money that is paying for this service wants you to see.
      • But the city is spending $5000 a year for the wi-fi services, so yes, the city is in fact funding the project. Jesus, you'd think you could have atleast read the summary before commenting, but for your viewing here's the relevant parts:

        "The city will pay about $5,000 a year for it, but most of the cost is paid for by the advertisers."
    • That and the why factor.

      It never ceases to amaze me that computers (at least at the hardware level) are very logical things, but people seem to have their IQ reduced by about 1/2 in front of them and think very illogically.

      I'm not complaining about free wireless access, but aside from roads and parks, what other freebies do city governments provide? How long do you think this will really last? What about the security/privacy issues?

      I guess I can applaud the thought, but this makes no sense that I have
  • by XxtraLarGe (551297) on Monday April 04, 2005 @02:07PM (#12135740) Journal
    For $5000, it sounds like a real bargain. The question is, how do advertisers make money on this to pick up the rest of the cost? I'll bet its not too long before the advertisers bail, and the city ends up picking up the tab. Any bets?
  • This is cool as Next Month is the Dayton Hamvention. I bet there will be alot of MOBILE Echolinkers! :D
  • I don't know if you've ever been to dayton (i went to UD), but I'm not sure I'd use the word "city" to describe it. I went to school there, and if I remember the Oregon district was tough to find because if you blinked at the wrong time you may miss it. Don't get me wrong, this is definately cool, but just keep in mind that Dayton isn't exactly a thriving metropolis.
  • Advertising (Score:4, Interesting)

    by The Amazing Fish Boy (863897) on Monday April 04, 2005 @02:09PM (#12135754) Homepage Journal
    I don't use hotspots, really, but anyone know how the advertising works? Is it like the old free-dialup schemes where you would always have an ad on screen? You would have to install a program to get access. If so, this probably wouldn't be compatible with Mac or Linux?

    Can't find this in TFA, all I can get is:

    "HarborLink will basically offer some advertising to the end user to offset the cost that would normally have been passed on to the user. This allows the service to be offered at no cost.
    • Re:Advertising (Score:3, Interesting)

      by miyako (632510)
      Just a guess, but I would imagine that access goes through a proxy, and the advertisers pay for ads on the proxy. Either they replace banner ads (not sure if this is even legal or not), or they just have it so that whenever you go to a site, you get a page with an ad that then redirects you to your site.
      This might not even be that bad of a thing if the majority of the ads came from stores in the area, people would get (semi) relevant ads for stores in their immediate location, and could even help the econ
  • Mirrored links (Score:4, Informative)

    by winkydink (650484) * <sv.dude@gmail.com> on Monday April 04, 2005 @02:09PM (#12135755) Homepage Journal

    _Bunny [networkmirror.com] writes "The City of Dayton, Ohio [networkmirror.com] announced a plan to make all of downtown a WiFi hotspot [networkmirror.com] - and as of last week, the network is live [networkmirror.com]. This makes Dayton the first Ohio city to offer free WiFi access. Approximately one square mile of downtown is now live, including Firth Third Field [networkmirror.com], the Oregon District [networkmirror.com], Webster Station [networkmirror.com] and RiverScape [networkmirror.com]. The WiFi project is a public/private partnership not funded by taxpayers, and comes at no charge to the end user." (According to the linked story at WHIO-TV, the city is actually paying about $5,000 per year, with advertisers picking up the rest of the tab.)

  • For the randroids that will start bitching about this new network and how it prevents private companies from creating viable, competing WiFi networks in Dayton.
  • by the_rajah (749499) * on Monday April 04, 2005 @02:10PM (#12135769) Homepage
    I'd think they be all over this like a duck on a Junebug as they in some of the other cities where the municipality tried to provide this service and got stomped all over. Perhaps Dayton is more on the ball and managed to present a fait accompli. Good for them!

    "Do the Right Thing. It will gratify some people and astound the rest." - Mark Twain
    • by pavon (30274)
      The telcoms have no problems with WiFi hotspots because the city pays for the connection that is feeding the WAP. As far as they are concerned, the city is just another customer. Where they have a problem is when the city tries to compete with them by providing the broadband connections themselves.
    • Let the advertisers fight it out with isps.

      Man government is awsome!
  • by alispguru (72689) <baneNO@SPAMgst.com> on Monday April 04, 2005 @02:11PM (#12135780) Journal
    See "a herf="http://www.downtowncorpuschristi.com/wiki/DM D/WiFiCity">here. It's free for now and covers the whole downtown area.
    • alispguru wrote...

      "See "a herf="http://www.downtowncorpuschristi.com/wiki/DM D/WiFiCity">..."

      Ya know, I've looked all over the place for a HERF [psycom.net] device so I can do something about those pesky thump-mobiles. Haven't found one that I like just yet...

  • by suitepotato (863945) on Monday April 04, 2005 @02:13PM (#12135807)
    ...letting the government provide your electronic information access is like letting the tax authorities be your bank and accountant. What was that phrase I was looking for..? Oh yes, It's the fox guarding the henhouse.

    AFAIC, it's for nothing unless you use secure tunnels and proxies to keep them from snooping on you. No, this isn't tinfoil hate time. This is plain old reality. I love my country, but I fear my government as I should. I can't see the same dingbats who can't get water fountains in the parks fixed within five years as being trustworthy with a cordless phone never mind my Internet access. No thanks.
    • Yeah, right.
      Just like it is so stupid to let the government defend you, make laws, build streets, educate children...
      its the FUCKING job of a government to provide basic sevices to the people. And now internet access is one of those
      • What Americans have never understood is that corperations are given a charter by the government to do a task for them.

        So when you are able to buy a new TV that comes from the government. But it cuts both ways. The government you elected is responsible for child labour the rising price of oil and allowing you to be ripped off at best buy.

  • so easy (Score:2, Interesting)

    by rootedgimp (523254)
    Yay! Yet another unsecure wifi point to pwn people from... Too bad I dont live in Ohio. Err wtf am I saying?

    Anyway. I dont see what the big deal about this is, talk about simple shit to set up. Installed a dlink dwl7200 at a golf course the other day that will reach a lil over 5 football fields long that was only like 820$... Hrm yeah I was right:
    802.11a/g (Full Power with 5dBi gain diversity dualband dipole antenna)
    Indoors:
    98ft (30m) @ 54Mbps
    112ft (34m) @ 48Mbps
    128ft (39m) @ 36Mbps
    154ft (47m
  • Too bad they forgot to mention the efforts by Intense Custom Computing [iccomputing.com] and OceanLAN - Wireless Innovations [oceanlan.com] in Troy, Ohio (just north of Dayton).
  • Woot! It's not every day that my hometown is on the front page of Slashdot.

    Although I wish my submission would've been the one that was accepted. Oh well, I can hope for the dupe :-p

    ~aj~
  • Similar Idea (Score:2, Informative)

    by ziploclogic (765424)
    I'm working with local business in Downtown Parkersburg, WV to do the same thing. However, a few local business are already doing this for-fee. Anyone have any input regarding our stepping on the toes of these companies?

    http://www.ezwv.com/ [ezwv.com]
    http://www.wirefire.com/ [wirefire.com]
    http://www.sequelle.net/ [sequelle.net]

    I've never done anything like this so I'm curious if anyone has an opinion what precautions I should take to protect myself. We're trying to roll this out as quickly as possible as a movie begins filming in out humbl
  • by fm6 (162816) on Monday April 04, 2005 @02:22PM (#12135899) Homepage Journal
    How many users can a free public WiFi network handle before it's saturated and becomes unusable?
  • Uhm.. ok (Score:4, Interesting)

    by geoffeg (15786) <geoffeg@TEAsloth.org minus caffeine> on Monday April 04, 2005 @02:25PM (#12135924) Homepage
    Have you ever been to downtown Dayton? It's not exactly a hot bed of internet users. There's very little residential and most of the businesses are most likely not of the internet-based variety. I think a different city would have benefited more.

    Although there *is* Mendelsons. Where old stuff from the Wright Patt air force base goes to die.. a huge warehouse..
  • The city's been shrinking over the past umpteen years because of loss of jobs.

    If you've been to Downtown Dayton, there's really not much left. One square mile is covered so far? There's not much more then that :(
    • by Anonymous Coward
      You haven't been downtown lately it would seem. Afte r the completion of Fifth Third Field,the new Performing Arts Center, and Riverside downtown Dayton has definetly been on an upswing the last couple of years. Back in 1999 when I first started going to school there it was trashy and sketchy, but by the time I graduated it was a pleasure to go down there. It's easy to take a shot at an old midwestern city of industry, but your lack of recent experience and stereotyping is disgusting.
  • How free is it? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by wlvdc (842653)
    "... The WiFi project is a public/private partnership not funded by taxpayers, and comes at no charge to the end user."

    How can something be publicly funded without tax payers money? And than the cost of the decision making process of the council, admin, p.r. etc.

    "(According to the linked story at WHIO-TV, the city is actually paying about $5,000 per year, with advertisers picking up the rest of the tab.)"

    How do advertisers make money? Do users have to accept ads to enjoy a 'free' service? How free is it?
  • Here in Edmonton, the major metropolitan areas have WiFi access by nature of business density.

    Thanks to comments on /. , I bought a Palm T3 with WiFi Card and loaded on NetChaser.
    The unit goes off, (beeps and vibrates to show an access point), every step I take in any major business area.
    More so in places like the University of Alberta.

    I'm thinking this would be the case anywhere in the world.
    Although, some places like coffee shops do this on purpose, I don't think other open access points are as intentio
  • Dayton (Score:2, Interesting)

    by UDGags (756537)
    I went to UD (University of Dayton) and now currently work at UDRI. This is cool but as people has mentioned Dayton is not that big of a place but if you go away from the places listed you can hit up Starbucks, Panera and then UD all have wireless access. So a good portion of business area is covered.
  • The City of Dayton, Ohio announced a plan to make all of downtown a WiFi hotspot - and as of last week, the network is live. This makes Dayton the first Ohio city to offer free WiFi access. Approximately one square mile of downtown is now live, including Fifth Third Field, the Oregon District, Webster Station and RiverScape. The WiFi project is a public/private partnership not funded by taxpayers, and comes at no charge to the end user." (According to the linked story at WHIO-TV, the city is actually paying
  • by thomasa (17495) on Monday April 04, 2005 @02:54PM (#12136240)
    Edgar Cayce once said that Dayton, Ohio was the center of the universe. Maybe it was at one time. It was the home of 5 fortune 500 companies, it was the home of the (generally accepted) inventors of the first powered flight machine called the aeroplane. It was important to the computer industry - NCR is still here and U.S. Navy Bombe used in code breaking was built here. But the automobile which was very connected to Dayton Ohio through General Motors and its divisions helped depopulate the city. The surrounding county is doing fairly well however. Montgomery county which contains Dayton, Ohio has a population of 550,000. Dayton, Ohio has a population of 166,000. Dayton proper used to have a population over 200,000.
  • not sure (Score:3, Interesting)

    by jafac (1449) on Monday April 04, 2005 @03:32PM (#12136626) Homepage
    I'm all for making wi-fi highly and widely available, but what happens when someone comes along and uses this as a way to censor content, or worse, gather private information? What happens when some Free Market Fundamentalist gets elected in Dayton, and hands over the whole shebang, built at public expense, to a private operator?

    Build it, sure, but when you add-in controls to prevent these kinds of abuses, it's going to make the whole operation look less efficient (thus validating the claims of the Free Market Fundamentalists).
  • Try Athens GA (Score:2, Interesting)

    by olcrazypete (592916)
    Athens Ga has one of the best downtowns I've ever experienced, wireless or not, drunk or not. About a year or two ago, the University of Georgia expanded its wireless cloud over the downtown area of the city. Sitting outside of a coffee shop with a powerbook getting schoolwork done rocks bigtime. No, the city of athens didn't pay for it, but its there and is worth a good look.

    http://www.nmi.uga.edu/mmc/inside.php?s=environmen t&p=3/ [uga.edu]

  • Sweet. Now the downtown masses will be able to easily order these nice Dayton, OH t-shirts with the free WI-FI.

    [cafepress.com]
  • Downtown Dayton is having a huge problem with crime. In Mid-February, there was a huge (50+ people) fight with people injured and thrown in jail. Right in the center of Downtown is a bus hub, where there is a huge gathering of somewhat questionable folk.. that's how the fight got started. Drug deals go on down there frequently. We're talking a four or five block range... it's not a huge area, yet it's saturated with problems. I don't know about you, but I have no desire to leave my suburbian apartment
  • by Aetrix (258562) on Monday April 04, 2005 @07:45PM (#12139261) Homepage
    Maybe I will go visit my grandfather in Dayton now...

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