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Wireless Networking Hardware Technology

Minneapolis To Go Wireless 212

Posted by Zonk
from the wise-neighbors-to-the-north dept.
an_mo writes " According to a Minneapolis Star Tribune article, Wednesday will see the announcement of a request for bids on a citywide wireless access service The city will unveil a request for a proposal for a privately owned, $15 million to $20 million citywide wireless and fiber-optic network to improve government communications by linking every city building, police car and housing inspector. The network would also would be available to every individual in the city for $18 to $24 a month."
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Minneapolis To Go Wireless

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  • by aicrules (819392) on Tuesday April 12, 2005 @11:19AM (#12212049)
    That area is so flat one high gain antenna on top of a flag pole should be able to service everyone.
    • The higher the gain of the antenna, the smaller the arc of coverage is going to be. What you really need is one powerful omnidirectional antenna on top of a flag pole. You're going to have trouble finding someone to service it in the middle of winter though.
      • by CharlieHedlin (102121) on Tuesday April 12, 2005 @11:36AM (#12212275)
        Uh, a powerfull omni is high gain, it just has a very flat coverage pattern. Since you need to recieve signals, a powerfull transmitter won't do, you need a high gain antenna.

        All antenna gain comes from restricting the pattern. In your typical high gain directional antenna you have a conical pattern of anywhere from 3-45 degrees. There are 18dbi gain omni antennas, typically co-linear arrays. They will have a very flat pattern (typically 3 degrees vertically), but cover 360 degrees horizontally. The problem is that if it is on top of a flag pole you won't have any coverage below it, but that could be solved by using a standard antenna on a different channel closer to ground level.

        • I sugest you look at how they design TV tower antennas (assuming you aren't a broadcast engineer). They use multiple high gain patch pannel antenas to transmit in their coverage area. This also cuts down on the ammount of electricity they use as they do not broadcast up out of the atmosphere and only down to earth in their reception area.
    • Anyone wardriving this area? I'll post a link to an image if someone uploads their wardriving discoveries [wifimaps.com].
    • There's an FCC power restriction of about 20mW per channel for 802.11.

      You can crank up the power but you have to pay off the FCC first, see auctions [fcc.gov].

      To me the selling off of public airways to the highest bidder amounts to a totally corrupt system where cell phone providers, as one example, have to give the FCC millions and then stick it to the consumer in what is basically a tax on the electromagnetic spectrum.
    • It's really not that flat in Minneapolis / St. Paul. The Mississippi river flows through there which and seems to have caused the noticable changes in elevation. There are thousands of lakes, which logically need some hills around them in order to hold their water. All in all there's probably only 100 ft. of elevation change throughout the area, but it's not like Fargo or other cities further west in the plains.
    • We tend to put almost all of our antennae on top of the IDS tower, the tallest skyscraper in Minneapolis.

      In fact, over a dozen other towers have gone up in downtown Minnepolis over the last 20 years, all built to be a tiny bit shorter than the IDS, so they wouldn't have to put all the antennae on the newer structure.

      We also have a few broadcast towers over by the airport.

      TV reception around here is terrific.

      Steering back on topic:

      It's kind of cool, but there's a local coffee shop chain around here (Dun
      • We also have a few broadcast towers over by the airport.

        TV reception around here is terrific.

        The television (and some radio) broadcast towers for the Mpls/St. Paul area are in Shoreview, just north of 694 and a bit west of 35E.

    • This is just not the case.. We are in a river valley *ahem* the Mississippi *ahem* with lots of ups and downs just subtle enough to cause all sorts of problems for wireless providers.
      I've done long range wireless links in Minneapolis and St. Paul for years and I know personally it's just not that easy, I also know some of the wireless guys who worked for MCI when they had (maybe still have) antennas on top of the IDS tower -(Minneapolis's arguably tallest building next to Wells Fargo Tower (the mast on I
    • They should just put the antenna on top of the Watchtower (as opposed to All Around the Watchtower). It is the highest point in Minneapolis, and yes, it is the one Bob Dylan was talking about.
  • by byteCoder (205266) * on Tuesday April 12, 2005 @11:19AM (#12212054) Homepage
    As a resident of a suburb just outside of Minneapolis (Eden Prairie), I'm somewhat torn about this:

    On the positive side, this influx of competition in the broadband arena is good for me as a consumer, currently tithing about $45/month to Time-Warner Cable (which serves Minneapolis and the SW 'burbs). More competition in the broadband arena is a very good thing--especially when it shakes up entrenched local monopolies (Qwest DSL and Time-Warner Cable). Also, as a Hennepin County (which contains Minneapolis and my suburb) taxpayer, technologies that can streamline government operations (and either provide better services and/or lower taxes) is another good thing.

    However, on the negative side, I'm nervous about governments getting into the broadband business--the potential for intrusion and abuse of the citizen's rights to privacy is certainly increased. The fact that this deployment is run by a private company helps a little--but it still concerns me, since the government is providing the funding for it.

    Technology itself is neutral and can be used for both good and evil purposes. Perhaps, what I'd like to see would be a citizen's oversight group that can provide the checks on government abuse of the network.

    Another smaller suburb to my southwest (Chaska [chaska.net]) has their own municipal deployment, which apparently is working out pretty well.

    As long as municipal broadband doesn't block other entities from providing broadband service to a community and foster competition, municipal broadband could be a very good thing. But, I'm still concerned about potential abuse of the network by the local governments.
    • What are you worried about? They have access to other utilities such as electric and you don't see them snooping in on your hairdrier usage.

      They could also snoop around your sewer usage as well, which for me would be a lot more embarassing than snooping my broadband connection!
    • by Ingolfke (515826) on Tuesday April 12, 2005 @11:25AM (#12212117) Journal
      I'm nervous about governments getting into the broadband business--the potential for intrusion and abuse of the citizen's rights to privacy is certainly increased. The fact that this deployment is run by a private company helps a little--but it still concerns me, since the government is providing the funding for it.

      Quit your whining. $24 and a set of 12 always-on govenrment monitored webcams in your house is small price to pay for broadband.
    • As long as municipal broadband doesn't block other entities from providing broadband service to a community and foster competition, municipal broadband could be a very good thing. But, I'm still concerned about potential abuse of the network by the local governments.

      I'm not concerned about it right now but I will begin to be curious once enough people switch over. With any municipality there is some financial ins and a lot of political ins.

      Will Hennepin County/Minneapolis make the right QoS choice when
    • by CharlieHedlin (102121) on Tuesday April 12, 2005 @11:31AM (#12212196)
      Many of my posts have been opposed to municipal wireless, but this Mineapolis project seems a little different.

      The city is proposing a private city wide network. Sure they will be using City provided facilities, but so does every phone and cable carrier (the right of way for the cables).

      The private carrier will also be allowed to sell their services to end users. It basically sounds like the government has invited the private industry to bid on the opertunity to setup the network, with the city as their largest customer.

      There is far less chance for the government to censor the network in this arangement. Sure, as the carriers largest customer the city will carry weight, but they already carry weight with the franchises offered to cable and phone carriers.
      • by SuperQ (431) * on Tuesday April 12, 2005 @12:07PM (#12212750) Homepage
        I attended a meeting with the people in charge of this project.

        The proposed RFP will be for "shared governance" where the city will have a say in how the network is run, but the service provider (qwest/comcast/timewarner _could_ in theory bid for this) will do all the build out.

        They will also provide city backed loans to help with the finantial burden. basicaly better financing terms, because the city is behind them.

        The city will pay a certin ammount to have priority access to the network for use with police/fire/municipal departments.

        It's a well thought out system, but is potentialy handing another monopoly over a big company. It is un-certin how badly they will step on local hotspots, educational institution wireless, and projects like the Twin Cities Wireless User Group.

        (we have a hotspot network covering a large park near downtown)
    • The horns of the dilemma: You get government wireless access and they spy on your activities or you get private wireless access and they spy on you for information they can sell.
    • Do the public, who ends up paying for all this later, get a chance to weigh such pros & cons ? There seems to be a rush of metros these days setting up such networks.
      I would not mind the facility but still .... who controls it...big brother? abuse, intrusion ...Not comfortable with it at all.
    • by Anonymous Coward
      currently tithing about $45/month to Time-Warner Cable

      Tithe actually means 1/10th (tenth) So if $45 is 1/10th your monthly income, I sincerely urge you to re-examine your priorities. However, if this was just a mixup and you used the wrong word, save tithe for things that really are 1/10th
    • by ImaLamer (260199) <john@lamar.gmail@com> on Tuesday April 12, 2005 @11:48AM (#12212445) Homepage Journal
      I'm nervous about governments getting into the broadband business--the potential for intrusion and abuse of the citizen's rights to privacy is certainly increased. The fact that this deployment is run by a private company helps a little--but it still concerns me, since the government is providing the funding for it.

      Just wait a few years when the religious zealots in town decide that "their" tax money isn't going to go to pr0n and that there should be filters in place. Hasn't this been the argument when it comes to filtering any other publicly funded access?
    • can we really expect privacy on the internet?

      Essentially government is intruding on our privacy to combat terrorism at every turn they can. they want your information and are attempting every legislative effort to get it.

      Whether or not your line is municipal is a moot point. they can get your info if they want it by enforcing gag rules on laws, such as a ISP being forced to divulge your information AND not being able to telll the target of the "ivestigation"

      Given that assumption, I think MUNI is
    • Technology itself is neutral and can be used for both good and evil purposes. Perhaps, what I'd like to see would be a citizen's oversight group that can provide the checks on government abuse of the network.

      I've said it before I'll say it again, even if it is a little off-topic. Technology is not neutral. It has shaped our brains themselves at least since our ancestors started making stone tools and decisively affected the course of language development.

      Nobody's sure how pervasive high speed Interne

  • by Dzimas (547818) on Tuesday April 12, 2005 @11:22AM (#12212076)
    I'm impressed that so many cities seem to get the idea of blanketing the metro area with wireless, but it also concerns me because the technology changes so quickly. Telephone and cable took decades to pervade the nation, and the technology progressed at a relatively slow rate compare to the proliferation of wireless 801.xxx standards that flood the market year after year.

    Spending $20 Million to install wireless is great, but it'll reflect poorly if the system isn't completely overhauled every few years.

    • by Timesprout (579035) on Tuesday April 12, 2005 @11:25AM (#12212123)
      But this is the attraction of wireless, it requires far less infrastructure than previous networking technology so its cheaper and easier to implement and will be easier to replace.
    • The key thing about wireless is that it doesn't require anything like the investment in infrastructure that cable-bound telecoms do. Fewer streets dug up means it's both quicker and cheaper to set up; no reason for it to not spread like wildfire...
      • But fiber is faster. What people do not seem to get is that you do not have to "Dig" up streets to put in fiber. You can run fiber on poles just like phone, power, and catv. Where they are moving to under ground utilities they should be laying fiber since they have the place dug up.
        I am all for WiFi but fiber is how you get REAL high speed to people.
    • WiFi started with 801.11b 801.11a isn't WiFi. 801.11g is WiFi and backwards compatable with "b" There is work for a new WiFi standard 801.11n which will be backwards compatable with "b" and "g" devices. As long as IEEE sticks with WiFi compatability (and considering the huge infrastucture already inplace for WiFi networks, they will), then backwards compatability will be along for a very, very long time.
      Will a city with 801.11g WiFi be considered inferior to a city with 801.11n WiFi? I don't think so
      • They'll both be better than no WiFi, but even people who don't need the extra speed will consider the newer/faster one better. I already hear people complain at universities and airports that only have b rather than geven people who don't need the speed or know what an 801.11 is notice in their connection properties that the speed it's connected at is lower than they're used to seeing.
    • I'm impressed that so many cities seem to get the idea of blanketing the metro area with wireless, but it also concerns me because the technology changes so quickly.

      If Cringely [pbs.org] is to be trusted, all these cities are making a huge mistake. 802.11g absolutely sucks for what these cities are trying to do. When WiMax starts being deployed, the citizens of these WiFi cities are going to be mighty angry that these companies are providing a service that is far better than what their legislators are pushing thro
      • I don't know is Cringely is ever to be "trusted", but I happen to think he's 100% correct in this case.

        Out in Bloomington (a Minneapolis suburb), I've already got 2.4 GHz noise fouling things up to the point that my 802.11g hub has to be located almost dead-center in the middle of my house to reach every room. I would hate to think what would happen if the city started spraying competing signals all over town.

        Fortunately, it doesn't look (yet) like Bloomington is jumping on the bandwagon with Minneapolis
  • I'm surprised there's not some government regulation against government competing against business for the betterment of everyone that's stopping this.
  • I look forward to the time in the not so distant future where wireless internet access is considered an inherent right. Even now, driving around Boston with macstumbler, I can find dozens of open non-WEP protected networks ripe for the taking and so I delude myself these unprotected networks are a purposeful open sharing of bandwidth. Am I the only one who finds the idea of forcing your citizens to pay to join such a network to be a little silly? I guess I think this sort of thing should be a public right
    • Quite possibly the most asinine comment I've seen in quite awhile. For god sakes take a moment to touch down in the real world. There is no inalienable right to wi-fi Internet access, or to Internet access at all. There are costs to such matters and they will be paid in one fashion or another by someone. Far better that they are paid for by the individuals making use of the service than to contribute to the overall tax burden.
      I fully support the development of such networks, and as a resident of the minneap
      • I personally find your comment to be distressing and pessimistic. I feel that the overall goal of having open internet capabilities for all people (and the hardware to do so) has the potential to help people live more productive lives, by aiding in information acquisition and use. By forcing people to pay for a city wide tool such as this, it becomes just another perk for the rich and wealthy to maintain the status quo. Obviously the money for such a project must come from somewhere, and making it a sub
        • Lets replace a word here shall we?

          I personally find your comment to be distressing and pessimistic. I feel that the overall goal of having open Cable TV capabilities for all people (and the hardware to do so) has the potential to help people live more productive lives, by aiding in information acquisition and use.

          I personally find your comment to be distressing and pessimistic. I feel that the overall goal of having open Longdistance Telephone capabilities for all people (and the hardware to do so) has
        • Everyone already has an internet pipe into their house. The phone line. Not good for sucking down your distro of the week, but millions of people get by just fine with dial-up.

          (and the hardware to do so)

          Free hardware as well? Well, hell....why not just do away with personal income, and just give it all to the govt. They can then distribute everything we need to us.

    • by Ingolfke (515826) on Tuesday April 12, 2005 @11:33AM (#12212229) Journal
      I look forward to the time in the not so distant future where wireless internet access is considered an inherent right.

      Yes and free food, and free homes, and free clothing, and free TV, and free video rentals, and free pot (like what you've been smoking) and free computers and free cars... yippee this is fun.
  • Every cop car? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by imbroken3a (862091) on Tuesday April 12, 2005 @11:27AM (#12212141)
    So if every cop car is linked, couldn't you find a way to track the location of each car and then use that to plan a crime? Or see that there are no cars on the road, so you can speed as fast as you want.
    • Re:Every cop car? (Score:2, Insightful)

      by brontus3927 (865730)

      Or see that there are no cars on the road, so you can speed as fast as you want.

      You mean like what people use RADAR detectors for?

      I'm sure there will be patrol cars "running silent" every so often to shake things up. Most criminals aren't that tech-saavy. The ones that are, are already tracking cars through means of scanners and taking note of when cops go by usually.

      In fact, if data communicated to and from patrol cars in encrypted, you might know if a cop is coming, but, unlike radio and a scanner,

    • So if every cop car is linked, couldn't you find a way to track the location of each car and then use that to plan a crime? Or see that there are no cars on the road, so you can speed as fast as you want.

      Sounds like somebody has some inside information about Google's next new service. Now there is absolutely no doubt they're evil (smirk).
    • You can already plan the location for your crimes to ensure no police presence simply by making sure the target has no donut shops within a 5 block radius.
    • ... ... ...

      you think they are not "connected" right now?
    • Re:Every cop car? (Score:5, Informative)

      by giantsfan89 (536448) <[moc.liamg] [ta] [yugbewxunil]> on Tuesday April 12, 2005 @11:54AM (#12212539) Homepage Journal
      Lots of cop cars are already linked via wireless. They just don't use 802.x. The one's I've seen use wireless modems, which connect at a LOT lower frequency, and also have a greater range. I used to repair laptops used in this capacity, and I was given a little demo by an officer I know (no, I wasn't being hauled off in handcuffs). The radios combined with GPS make for a very efficient tracking system of cars, especially for dispatch.
      • The system is called Dataradio. [dataradio.com]

        The specific system that I'm familiar with operates at ~900MHz, using two extremely long (like, 9 feet long) omni antennas atop a tall building.

        The patrol cars have a pair of rather small (a few inches), low-gain omnis mounted on their trunk lid.

        Speed is low, and maxes at 19.2kbps (system-wide), but:

        Range is intense. Something like 25 miles, varying considerably near the edges along with the landscape (which is predominantly flat). One central location covers the entire
    • So if every cop car is linked, couldn't you find a way to track the location of each car..

      Yes, and I've already done it. My local county copshop uses a wireless package from Motorola called Airmobile, which was designed for deploying updates/patches/whatever remotely to the police vehicles. Access points are setup at the police departments or other areas of frequented police traffic, which allow the synchronization to take place. Regardless, whenever the vehicle's computer is on, the airmobile client
    • What sort of crime? Seriously, the sorts of crimes I can think of that are going to be aided by knowing where all the cop cars are are going to be where you do something obvious, but then get away before the cops show up. Liquor-store holdup for example. Doesn't seem like the sort of crime that's going to appeal to someone who can set up a system to track the locations of all the cop cars.
      Besides, "linked" doesn't really equate to identifiable and trackable. I suppose you could not speed if there is a w
  • Tech orientated schemes like this are often privately funded, which is odd considering the supposedly vast benefits. It suggests to me a skepticism regarding new technology among local councils, but then they have only a limited amount of butter to spread around as it were.

    On the other hand, when does a police car radio ever cease working in densely populated areas for example? Officials might just view wireless as a "it isn't broke, we won't fix it, but you can" scheme.
  • a Personal Telco (Score:5, Interesting)

    by tomwhore (10233) on Tuesday April 12, 2005 @11:29AM (#12212162) Homepage Journal
    Want to empower your citizens or simply want to sell them to the highest bidder?

    Sure this simplifies the question, but some solutions ( http://www.personaltelco.net ) work with all the parts of a community ( citizens, biz owners, etc) to create the power to empower, not simply the muni blessed right to make more montly bill paying consumers.

    The real question is , what works for your community. In places where there is not a grass roots DIY mindset then the AOLization method might indeed be the way to go, for communities that can raise the populace to action though....oh thereis so much more to be done.

    Come to Portland, see the results in progress.

    -tom
  • I know Chaska Minnesota [chaska.net] does this with wireless gear from Tropos Networks [tropos.com]. Are they supplying Minneapolis too?
  • by Anonymous Coward
    Great, and when all of the cities have municipal wi-fi, the Fed will step in and give them 20 percent federal grants provided they pipe their data direct to the NSA. After all, we all want city inspectors to be able to access all our files from their laptops when they come over for an inspection. With e-filing, imagine the ability they are going to have to instantly file tickets, etc. Webcams on every corner, with facial recognition and full databasing, and no wires to cut. Muni Wi-Fi? Yeech! Someone
    • Why would you think that the cities will do this and currently AT&T,MCI,Level3, etc. wouldn't or don't do this? Do you think that they value your privacy so much they wouldn't comply with such an order?

      If the NSA wants your data, they're going to get it. A network such as this makes that no more or less likely.

      Take your tinfoil hat off at the door.
  • the stupid one in which a private company runs "San Angeles", where Taco Bell is the only approved restaurant?
  • Nice pricing (Score:2, Interesting)

    by tyates (869064)
    This is the phone & cable companies worst nightmare - they spend billions building their networks and somebody can now undercut their costs with $99 wireless access points and antennae. I think Qwest DSL costs $40-50 in Minneapolis - 2x as much. Still, competition is good - maybe phone & cable companies will step up and we'll see the type of residential speeds that they already have in Korea and Japan here in the US in a few years.
    • More than likely this wireless will be more equivalent to Dial-up accounts. Mainly due to pingtimes and low transfer speeds at week signal strengths. You aren't going to game or download massive ammounts off of this system.
  • With all these cities going wireless, I wouldn't be surprised if we start seeing cases of the black shakes.
  • Is it really necessary to post a story on the front page everytime a new city thinks about going "wireless"? Must be a slow news day or something.

    colorado [slashdot.org]
    New Mexico [slashdot.org]
    Chicago [slashdot.org]
    Texas [slashdot.org]
    Oakland County [slashdot.org]
    philly [slashdot.org]
    Dayton [slashdot.org]

  • I can foresee signal strength problems due to:
    * snow
    * swarming hordes of rampaging mosquitoes

    Ever hear the joke: "Perhaps there's a reason the wind is always blowing north in Iowa... Minnesota sucks!"

    BTW: I'm a former Edina MN and St. Anthony MN resident; It's a GREAT place to live! But, you've got to wear a durable environment suit in the summer early evening due to the large mosquitoe population (Land of 10,000 lakes makes for lots of stagnant breeding grounds).

    Living there, I quickly learned that mos
    • Ever hear the joke: "Perhaps there's a reason the wind is always blowing north in Iowa... Minnesota sucks!"

      So since the wind blows south constantly in Minnesota, there's some kind of wind black hole on the border?!?!?
    • Ever hear the joke: "Perhaps there's a reason the wind is always blowing north in Iowa... Minnesota sucks!"

      I've heard that, but I have also observed that the wind tends to blow towards the south in southern Minnesota, so go figure.
  • zerg (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Lord Omlette (124579) on Tuesday April 12, 2005 @11:37AM (#12212295) Homepage
    Didn't Popular Science just claim that Minneapolis [popsci.com] is America's most technologically advanced city? Seems like citywide wireless access would be a piece of cake for these guys...
    • Re:zerg (Score:2, Funny)

      by e2ka (708498)
      Yes, but unlike conventional cities which just have to cover a 2D area with wireless, our new service will also have to reach our flying cars.
      • Re:zerg (Score:3, Funny)

        by Lord Omlette (124579)
        Yes, but unlike conventional cities which just have to cover a 2D area with wireless, our new service will also have to reach our flying cars.
        Well, duh, just put pringles cans on your antennas @ the Lunar Base....
  • If government is going to proved a service (roads, parks, network, etc...) to the people, I think it should be available to everyone and paid for by taxes. Charging individuals for use is like going into business. Governments should not be in business. In a case like this, I can see the anti-competetive arguments from broadband providers making a lot of sense.

    Provide it free and open with our tax dollars or not at all.

    • RTFA, this is a RFP for a company to build out an infrastructure, similar to ricochet, but with no proprietary spectrum.
  • I wonder how they're planning on securing this. Methinks it's just a matter of time before someone finds a way to use the network for free. I mean, we've heard [slashdot.org] that its not too hard to crack WEP, so how are they going to make sure people don't freeload on this service?
  • I bet if they link every police car, we now have a perfect police-car detector. Cheap, fast, reliable. Just rename Netstumbler as Copstumbler ?
  • by gone.fishing (213219) on Tuesday April 12, 2005 @11:49AM (#12212456) Journal
    I live in Minneapolis and have to say that I believe that they will find a way to royally mess this up.

    On one hand, I see the benefits of it - I even think it may have far reaching benefits (like raising property values). On the other hand, we are Murderopolis and the money should go to fighting crime.

    In a strange way, wireless may actually help with things like crime rates. No, I am not kidding! The city needs to attract business and people back into the city. Offering this inexpensive, quality service is one way of doing just that. More jobs = less despair = less crime.

    I live in the North side of Minneapolis which is where much of the crime exists. It is in parts very bad, the gangs have control. When the gas company goes on service calls into these areas, they frequently hire off-duty police officers for security! There are quite a few empty or underutilized commercial buildings and several large areas where commercial businesses were tore down and are now just empty lots. Still businesses would be crazy to relocate here. They would be robbed, their employees harrassed and their property vandalized.

    If wireless comes to Minneapolis, I would hope that it would hit the North side first. It would be an incentive to bring people and business in.

    But the city won't work that way. North will be last.

    Meanwhile, the cable company will slowly quit providing amazing broadband service since the few remaining subscribers won't justify the cost of upgrading equipment. Here, North Minneapolis will be the first to be cut back.

    I'm screwed.
    • by SuperQ (431) * on Tuesday April 12, 2005 @12:14PM (#12212863) Homepage
      Actualy, I have met with the people in charge of this project. They want the whole system rolled out at once, as fast as possible to cover all areas, without gaps.

      This isn't municipal broadband either, it's commercial wireless, but the city wants "shared governance" to keep the wireless company in check, and so they have a say in the coverage (to prevent the problems you talk about) Basicaly they are trying to avoid another ricochet, network hardware all over town rusting because they went under.

      I live in Saint Paul, and we're trying to do something similar, although we're about 6 months behind minneapolis.
  • This will absolutely destroy the small wireless ISPs in that area. Governments should not be involved in providing NONESENTIAL services when the private sector can provide them.

    This is all starting to sound very familiar. What kind of economic policies are we supposed to be creating: capitalist or communist?

    -Nick
  • $15-$20 million AND you have to pay monthly?

    Let's suppose you buy 400 top of the line $500 access points from some wf-fi company [demarctech.com]. That's only $200,0000.

    They should hold back on the fiber and use the access points to relay to a few key wired points like sflan [sflan.org] does. Cuts down on the cost.
  • by handy_vandal (606174) on Tuesday April 12, 2005 @12:17PM (#12212903) Homepage Journal
    I've lived in Minneapolis all my life, and I'm here to tell you that free wireless is a natural outcome of our longstanding populist/socialist traditions.

    Free market, my ass. If you want to live in a better world, instruct your government to tax you and your neighbors -- then spend that tax money on a better world.

    -kgj
    • Oh, for f**k's sake...

      How did you ever get your head that far up your ass while your knee was jerking so hard?! RTFA, ya moron...

      Quoting: No tax money would be used for the Minneapolis wireless network, which would be paid for, built, owned and operated by the winning bidder on the city's proposal.

      You may now return to AM1500 for more brainwashing...

      • You're quite right -- I screwed the pooch. Dammit.

        -kgj
      • Governments love to claim that projects like this aren't going to cost any money, that somehow, the bill is going to be picked up by somebody else. This may be a special instance, but 9 times out of 10, it's the other way around.
        • Governments love to claim that projects like this aren't going to cost any money

          The strawman tests his legs...

          9 times out of 10, it's the other way around.

          And collapses under his own weight. Show me some, nay any, supporting data and I'll believe this claim.

  • by webhead04 (821037) on Tuesday April 12, 2005 @12:58PM (#12213516)
    ...to RTFA, here are some key points.

    * The citywide wireless network is necessary to improve government communications by linking every city building, police car and housing inspector to the city's databases, city officials say.


    * No tax money would be used for the Minneapolis wireless network, which would be paid for, built, owned and operated by the winning bidder on the city's proposal.

    * Minneapolis officials decided not to build their own wireless network because of high construction and administrative costs, Beck said. In addition, city officials were concerned that cities offering high-speed Internet service have been accused by large telephone companies of competing with the private sector, he said.

    * the city also needed an improved network that could speed up data traffic in its 47 main buildings and extend high-speed access to 300 other buildings

    * The city also wanted to replace expensive cellular radio communications used by police cars with a cheaper and faster wireless data network. There also was a desire to provide broadband to an estimated 10 to 15 percent of the city's population that either isn't served by high-speed Internet access or can't afford it.


    So, there's a little bit more going on here than the city slapping an antenna on top of the IDS tower and charging people for internet access, which a lot of these posts seem to think is what is happening.
  • There are a lot of communities working on wide area wireless projects and free municipal hot spots. But the biggest problem with a lot of them is that the PR just isn't that good. You can put up all the WiFi and WiMax sigs you want all over the city, but "joe average" is not going to understand. My proof? Just the other day I was talking to a very intelligent professional and I told him about the free hotspot that is located in the "Reading Garden" of the Cleveland Public Library. He was VERY intrigued
  • by radarsat1 (786772) on Tuesday April 12, 2005 @01:17PM (#12213733) Homepage
    just read through the comments, didn't see anything about this...

    how are they going to enforce log-in? That is, when I have my 802.11b network setup at home, i simply use WEP and MAC filtering to ensure that no one but me can connect to my router. But if it's open to everyone, how do they make sure that only people who paid can use it?

    There's a local free service in my city (Montreal) that has wireless for cafes, and it's pretty cool, but kind of annoying at the same time. When you connect, the first time you try to access a page, it directs you to a log-in page. Then you can browse as much as you want, but every 10 minutes or so it'll direct you back to the log-in page. It's okay, but I wouldn't trust it not to interrupt me during.. i dunno.. online banking or something.

    Also, if they do use WEP or something, they can't very well give each user their own key. Besides, it's pretty well known that WEP can be cracked. Couldn't you listen in on conversations around you can grab people's passwords? Forget paying $24 a month, I'll just figure out someone's log-in and use their access...

    I remember back when everyone was using dial-up it was always possible to get lists of people's log in names and passwords, which i guess were leaked from local ISPs, and people would use them instead of buying their own accounts. I can see this happening even more easily with wireless.
  • What do you guys think will be the method for authenticating users who have payed to use this? The article states that you can enter "one password" to get on the Internet anywhere within the city, however it appears that method is more of a thing for business people or other folks who are visiting for a short time; the password would probably expire in a few days.
    Do you guys think that a simple password will be what residents have to provide to be authenticated, or do you think it'll be something more alon

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