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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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  • 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:Hopefully... (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Cruithne (658153) on Monday April 04, 2005 @02:07PM (#12135736)
    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."
  • 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.
  • 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 Anonymous Coward on Monday April 04, 2005 @02:10PM (#12135774)
    To get attention. There's no way the broadband industry will permit this. Check the massive campaign they've done (via Republican legislators) in Philadelphia [macworld.com] and Houston [chron.com] to prevent municipal WiFi there.
  • by ShaniaTwain (197446) on Monday April 04, 2005 @02:16PM (#12135842) Homepage
    Well, that and the free porn on TV [clevescene.com]
  • so easy (Score:2, Interesting)

    by rootedgimp (523254) on Monday April 04, 2005 @02:17PM (#12135849)
    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) @ 24Mbps
    184ft (56m) @ 18Mbps
    217ft (66m) @ 12Mbps
    259ft (79m) @ 9Mbps
    325ft (99m) @ 6Mbps
    Outdoors:
    367ft (112m) @ 54Mbps
    820ft (250m) @ 18Mbps
    1640ft (500m) @ 6Mbps


    I must say though, this is an awful idea. Wireless internet has to be the best ticket out of jail for criminals since lawyers.
  • 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) <{gro.htols} {ta} {geffoeg}> 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..
  • Re:Uhm.. ok (Score:1, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday April 04, 2005 @02:31PM (#12135995)
    Mendelsons rocks!! If you are ever cursed by the holy devil and forced to visit the state of Ohio and cross through Dayton, it is imperative that one stops at Mendelsons. The place is a 5 story warehouse full of geek 'junk.' Definately an awesome place.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday April 04, 2005 @02:32PM (#12136006)
    Make your mind up, are they so incompetent they can't run a park or are they smart enough to snoop your net access?

    Still, I agree you should encrypt everything whenever possible on principle.
  • Re:Advertising (Score:3, Interesting)

    by miyako (632510) <miyako.gmail@com> on Monday April 04, 2005 @02:48PM (#12136169) Homepage Journal
    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 economy in the area.
  • Dayton (Score:2, Interesting)

    by UDGags (756537) on Monday April 04, 2005 @02:49PM (#12136178)
    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.
  • Re:City Wide? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by INetUser (723076) on Monday April 04, 2005 @02:55PM (#12136247)
    blanketing regions with free internet and then seeing if a 'killer app' sprouts up that can take advantage of it

    OK, so it's still on the 'build it they will come' notion / gamble then. I still don't see the great need for being connected like that all the time. I see wide open, anonymous access for hackers, virus authors and identity thieves. Of course nearly any WiFi access point qualifies for that.

    I also see a viable network for distributed RFID readers to access their database back ends to make for greater ease in people tracking. I see web cameras, rather than the more costly dedicated units, all over the place, and the US becoming like the UK. I see the back end capability for the advertisement boards like in the Minority Report movie.

    All of these things are intrusive and to my mind not good. And I'm by no means a luddite. I can just see no good coming from this. Granted other than reasonable free Internet connectivity.

  • 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) on Monday April 04, 2005 @03:44PM (#12136741)
    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]

  • Re:City Wide? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by akad0nric0 (398141) on Monday April 04, 2005 @03:58PM (#12136909)
    This is a great idea.

    I couldn't agree more. Many midwestern cities like Dayton and Cincinnati are experiencing a major problem getting people into their downtown entertainment districts outside of the 8-5, M-F work-week due to explosions in the suburbs. Offering something like this is a great way to improve publicity of the struggling city-centres and attract more revenue downtown. Even if it isn't heavily-used, its mere presence will be a boon to the downtown merchants.

  • For all the gripers (Score:2, Interesting)

    by hanshotfirst (851936) on Monday April 04, 2005 @04:08PM (#12137020)
    Let this be a reply to multiple "why is the gov't involved?" threads.

    You are free to disagree with me, of course.

    Municipal Wi-Fi is no different (in my mind) than any other municipal service:
    Street Lights. ("I never drive on 3rd avenue, why should I have to pay to light it?")
    Police and Fire Service ("I've never been mugged, why pay for police?")
    "Gov't should stay out of utilities!" Then stop taking showers, flushing your toilet, and take your garbage to the dump in your tiny little hybrid.

    Now, some city services are paid for out of general taxe revenue (Police, Fire, Gargbage, in my area). Other services are paid based on usage (Water & Sewer in my area). Either way money goes to the local gov't for the service, and the city or county pays the utility provider.

    Municipal Wi-Fi would work no differently. Which payment model it should use is certainly open for debate, but as a concept, why shouldn't my city provide connectivity for the masses?

    Security - yeah, there will be problems and challenges. But these can be dealt with. Do you just squat down on any old public toilet in the park without checking the seat first? No different here. Alternatively, I can drink city water out of the tap, with a certain amount of particulate and distate, or I can install a water softener and Brita filter if I want cleaner water than the city provides.

  • Re:Dayton (Score:2, Interesting)

    by lovswr (633015) on Monday April 04, 2005 @04:11PM (#12137058)
    Actually it was not WPAB (which was SAC Command) but the Monsanto Mound works. Of the few companies in the US that made detonators for our nuclear arsenal that was one of them. I can't rembmer the street name but it was near the Fischer body plant & the closed DP&L Hutchinson power station. They had some model airplane parks right across the street that my Dad took me to back in the early 70's.
  • Re:City Wide? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by kwerle (39371) <kurt@CircleW.org> on Monday April 04, 2005 @04:32PM (#12137351) Homepage Journal
    I still don't see the great need for being connected like that all the time.

    There isn't. But it is fantastic to have it available anytime and anywhere you want it.

    I see wide open, anonymous access for hackers, virus authors and identity thieves. Of course nearly any WiFi access point qualifies for that.

    For that you can just go to your local library. Nothing new here - just easier access.

    I also see a viable network for distributed RFID readers to access their database back ends to make for greater ease in people tracking. I see web cameras, rather than the more costly dedicated units, all over the place, and the US becoming like the UK.

    Do you also see aliens? Seriously, you're just FUDing here.

    I see the back end capability for the advertisement boards like in the Minority Report movie.

    Specifically: when he walked into a store, he was greeted by name and asked whether or not he like the last thing he purchased. ie: he entered someone's personal property (the store), and the security/customer system identified him. Which is no different than having a guard/service rep at the entrance asking for your id and greeting you, except that it is automated. You don't like it, don't go in the store. It is private property.

    All of these things are intrusive and to my mind not good. And I'm by no means a luddite.

    All of those things are ONLY in your mind. All that is being offered here is city-wide WIFI. If that make you nervous, GET OUT NOW. There is already city-wide cellphone access. There is nearly Nationwide cellphone access. There is no difference between cellphone access and wifi access in terms of what they can do (allow you to connect to a network and send/receive data).

    Get over your luddite self.

    I can just see no good coming from this. Granted other than reasonable free Internet connectivity.

    And there you've just explained it. The only thing coming from this is reasonable free Internet connectivity. So you have nothing to worry about.
  • by reallocate (142797) on Monday April 04, 2005 @05:07PM (#12137792)
    Wright-Patt's SAC sqaudron (B-52's) was dispersed to Minot AFB and elsewhere well before the Cold War concluded (although doubt that had much of an impact on the Soviet's targetting plans). The SAC squadron was always a relatively small part of the base's function. You could work there for years and the only B-52 you might see would be flying overhead. It was, and is, a large logistics and research management facility. The Materiel (or is Logistics these days?) Command is headquarted there, as well as Systems Command. The front offices of many USAF weapons and research systems are also located there. (I.e., a lot of the stuff that flies at Edwards is managed at WPAFB.)

    Monsanto's Mound Lab was located south of Dayton along the Miami River in Miamisburg on Mound Avenue (the "Mound" is an ancient Moundbuilder burial cite). I know the plutonium cells that powered some satellites and space probes were constructed there.

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