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Wireless Networking Hardware

Oakland County to go Wireless 119

y00nix writes "Oakland County, MI has plans to roll out a wireless Internet access program dubbed "Wireless Oakland" covering all 910 square miles inside the county. County Executive L. Brooks Patterson unveiled the plans at last night's State of the County address. Additional press coverage via the Oakland Press, and the The Detroit News." Similar in concept to Philadelphia's plans covered yesterday.
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Oakland County to go Wireless

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  • big whoop. (Score:5, Informative)

    by Lumpy ( 12016 ) on Saturday February 12, 2005 @05:55PM (#11654382) Homepage
    Grand Haven, MI has had this for months now.

    Their service has expanded quite a bit and they are planning on covering a 3 county area within 2 years.

    works great, and is not a government run operation as proposed in many other places.
    • In mid-2003, St. Louis turned its downtown into a giant municipal Wi-Fi hotspot. Why is Philly considered to be the archetype, anyway? Oh yeah, St. Louis didn't have to fight a legal battle with Big Telco. And they didn't highly publicize theirs, because in that same week, they announced the closing of sixteen elementary schools.
    • What do you mean "Big whoop"? Comparing Grand Haven to Oakland County? You can put a hotspot in a starbucks in Grand Haven and the entire town will have WiFi. Grand Haven is TINY. Oakland County, on the other hand, is very large, with well over a million people... which equates to a lot more users than the users in Grand Haven. That would be like me saying that I have some sand in my back yard... there's nothing that Grand Haven has to offer... B
  • by mg2 ( 823681 ) on Saturday February 12, 2005 @05:55PM (#11654385)
    Anyone in Oakland right now is encouraged to help beta test the network. All you need is an 802.11 enabled card, and the SSID is 'linksys.'

    If you're having any trouble, just go ahead and access Leave the username box blank and the password is 'admin.'

    • Are they using technology that a regular 802.11b card could get on? Or are they using something that frequency hops like Alvarion gear?
    • I've done most of my wardriving in Oakland County. It's hard to go anywhere and not pick up signal from an access point. And any cluster of housing (subdivision, apartment complex, etc.) is just loaded with APs - most of them unsecure.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday February 12, 2005 @05:56PM (#11654389)
    ...Complete control of a large chain of wi-fi zombie PC's in the waiting.
  • More interference.....as if my neighbor's new 2.4Ghz phone wasn't bad enough.. Rich http://www.richgautier.com/ [richgautier.com]
    • Eh, why did you put your personal page's URL in the comment? I mean, you've got it up there under your name, if you really wanted it twice you could just put it in your signature.

      You know, so we don't get the idea that the URL has anything to do with the topic of the story and comment. Unless that was the point, to get more traffic.
      • Actually, It's been a long time since I'd posted on Slashdot, and just didn't realize. The hit return, sign name, hit return, post URL...was kind of an automatic thing....sorry.
  • That's unpossible! (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward
    Another place getting WiFi. Now are we going to see this on ./ as news every time some city/municipality or whatever gets WiFi? It's getting old really quick.
    • really. but i do feel bad for the editors taking so much shit over dupes they feel like they absolutely have to mention something that happened yesterday, 'similar in concept'.

      perhaps there is a list online somewhere of all the cities with wifi, without popup ads and whatnot ... just "nothing to see here ... go here: " every time.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday February 12, 2005 @06:00PM (#11654418)
    I would be angry if my local government did something like this. Wireless networks are something private companies could provide, instead of using government tax dollars that could be better used for schools, roads, and real public projects that would serve the public.

    Wireless Internet is something only a small segment of the population would take advantage of, and most should be able to afford it on their own.

    I love how slashdot cheers big government projects that intrude further in our lives, yet hate big government at the same time. You can't have it both ways.
    • Despite our proximity to Detroit, Oakland County is the 3rd wealthiest county in the US. Coincidently, a couple of weeks ago, I was actually undertaking the task of mapping all the APs in Oakland County using NetStumber and GPSVisualizer. I only mapped about half of my city (Novi) before I wrote it off as an exercise in futility. From my place to the grocery store (about a mile and a half) I found about 40 APs. This plan will be used by more than just a select few. While I don't know enough about the plan t

    • The Internet provides a benefit to society that is too large for the government not to subsidize its use in any way, shape or form that it can. Providing free access to the public is a noble cause, and it ranks up there with the concept of the public library. I heartily disagree with your opinion.
    • Except for the fact that if private companies provided the network, it would only cover profitable areas, ignoring areas where usage is lower.

      Then you have to deal with open spectrum managment.. so you let "private companies" put in the network, how many companies do you allow to put up APs? 2 3? all the spectrum is now useless.

      Or better! now you have a single monopoly running wireless, stomping on anyone who puts up an AP in their home. Charging whatever they feel they can get away with, which shrink
    • Why is it something private companies should be doing though? Wireless networks benefit the population at least as much as public roads do. Allowing everyone free access to the internet would be a great step forward.
    • Since when has Oakland ever been a fiscally responsible entity? Remember this is the city that spent millions of dollars to bring over the Raiders, yet never seems to have enough cash for education.
    • The article says it is a plan to attract high-tech professionals. That would potentially increase their tax base.


      "Many residents would want to keep higher-speed connections, said Bertolini, and would pay a fee for that. The county wants to avoid using tax dollars for the project."
    • by drooling-dog ( 189103 ) on Saturday February 12, 2005 @07:00PM (#11654814)
      I would be angry if my local government did something like this.

      I'm just thankful that municipal water systems were put in before the advent of the bottled water industry. Otherwise it never could have happened, and we'd all be showering and washing our clothes in Dasani...

    • We need a private army , a private water works, private roads and highways, private parks, privatitze medical research, privatize space research.

      Everything will be great. We know how much private companies want to jump into areas business where they are not guaranteed big profits.

      Mega-dittos !
    • I'd be happy to pay tax dollars for this. I guess I trust someone I can vote out of office more than someone who is protected by the high cost of entry into the industry.
  • Taxes (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Space_Soldier ( 628825 ) <not4_u@hotmail.com> on Saturday February 12, 2005 @06:00PM (#11654426)
    Will the sales tax rise because of this?
    • I have yet to RTFA, but I live in Oakland County, and know a bit about L. Brooks Patterson (parents work a bit under him). He seems to be rather excellent at finding well-off companies and individuals to fund this kind of thing. Taxes will probably not rise (L. Brooks = hardcore republican). I can't believe he's doing it, but if there's one thing this man's not, it's stupid.
    • Re:Taxes (Score:4, Informative)

      by Dragoon412 ( 648209 ) on Saturday February 12, 2005 @06:31PM (#11654619)
      The article points out that they don't want to use tax money to fund this. It's sort of a tradeoff. The county builds towers and the physical infrastructure to run the program, and, in turn, private companies run the whole show in exchange for access to the towers for other ventures.

      I could definitely see someone like Sprint or Verizon getting on board with this.
  • Do we have to list every cities that are going wireless? :)
  • by akeyes ( 720106 ) <akeyes+slashdot@NoSPaM.gmail.com> on Saturday February 12, 2005 @06:09PM (#11654487) Homepage
    (from a related link on the article)

    Q: If I leave Oakland County, will my computer work?

    A: Of course. But you might have to revert back to a wired connection, at least until the whole nation goes wireless.
  • This is great.! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by RexRhino ( 769423 ) on Saturday February 12, 2005 @06:10PM (#11654494)
    This is great for many reasons:

    1. When the government runs the ISPs, it means that law enforcement can monitor what you browse online. No need for search warrants anymore!

    2. It is not like wireless technology changes or evolves, so I am sure a wireless purchase now will be good for the next 40 years.

    3. Poor people need low-cost wireless access. After all, brand new laptops configured for wireless access are cheap, but that $8 a month fee for internet access is just WAY too expensive.

    4. There are way too many choices. Who actually wants to CHOOSE there ISP, when the government can make all the choices for them. After all, Oakland county does such a great job fixing the roads, lowering crime, and protecting the enviornment... how could they NOT do a better job.

    5. The government can make sure that dangerous information is not accessible. We can make sure that p2p music file sharing is not possible, and since we already require certain websites not be available in public schools and libraries, obviously the ban will also apply to public wireless.
    • by Anonymous Coward
      Large networks like this are a good idea and only the government has the force to build such a network. Fist off it creates competition for things like GPRS, second of all information is important and should be available to everyone.

      By the way wireless is cheap, you can get a computer adequate for surfing the web for almost free and a wireless card is like 8 US dollars now, so yes the monthly internet fee is a lot of money to some people, because high speed internet is like $50, dial up is $15 and you ne
    • 1. I highly doubt judges will admit any evidence gathered without a warrant.
      2. Look at the cell phone system in this country. That's owned by PRIVATE COMPANIES. It's a piece of crap compared to systems all over the world. Systems that are more highly regulated by the government.

      3. The $8 that is spent on wireless is $8 that's not spent in the community. If someone in Oakland gives Verizon $8 for wireless, that $8 leaves the community.
      4. RTFA numbnuts, you can choose your ISP. The city sets up the infrast

    • Bingo. What this really mirrors is fascism, where the property is proveately owned, but the usage of it is controlled by the government.
  • It's interesting that this is happening in the wealthiest county in Michigan. Of course, since the bottom fell out of the auto industry, that's not saying much.

    I do like this quote:
    "Patterson also wants to help bridge the digital divide by helping lower-income residents get computers if they don't have the means to buy one. Partnering with private businesses and foundations, the county would offer free or low-cost computers to people willing to take training classes."

    I can't WAIT till we have tens of tho
    • Wealthiest county in Michigan doesn't mean a lot, unless it also happens to be the third wealthiest county in the nation, which it is. This is an area with a lot of money. I, as a techinical person (I'm sure you are too), can see the draw of a community that provides basic internet service free. And since it is not paid for with tax dollars it seems like a good plan. Since it is private they could easily boot those found to be spreading viruses, etc. until they get their system cleaned up (just like mos
  • So basically this is the beginning of the grab for wireless monopolies that we will be regretting allowing be established in about 5 years time right?
  • free, I would understand. Low-cost would piss me off. Where is the startup cost for this coming from? the taxpayers. why should they then get charged for using the infrastructure they paid to build. Can't stand it when governments pretend to be corporations.
  • Slashdot, 2568:

    "Alabama considers installing a few 802.11a access points..."

    Yeah, my state is going to be so left out of this one...wait, isn't it like that for everything?
    • At the risk of sounding elitist.......possibly because the state of Alabama, instead of producing surplus cash, actually heavily relies on federal funds to subsist. In 2002 the state recieved $100.1 BILLION more in subsidies than it paid in taxes. If every state was like Alabama, the nation would cease functioning at once. Until Alabama and several other Southern and Western states. So to appy this to a technological paradigm; you'll get your wireless internet as soon the state actually has an economy t
  • by Dragoon412 ( 648209 ) on Saturday February 12, 2005 @06:19PM (#11654537)
    ...and while I really, really like the sound of this, I'm more interested in seeing what sort of impact this'll have on cable and DSL prices in the area. It seems to me that Comcast, SBC and Wide Open West will have a much more difficult time convincing people to pay $60/month for broadband access when they can get adequate service without wires or hardware for free.

    I don't think this sort of WiFi would have the speed to keep me happy, but I definitely think my parents and most of my family would be perfectly happy with it, and I certainly wouldn't mind seeing it drive my cable bill down $10 or $20/month.
    • but this is the beginning of the government controlled communications infrastructure and the final elimination of individual value from the internet
      • RTFA - the county will build and maintain the infrastructure, and, in return, private companies will run it all and have access to the infrastructure for other business ventures. This is a [i]good[/i] thing.
      • this is the beginning of the government controlled communications infrastructure and the final elimination of individual value from the internet

        We seem to have yet another person who thinks that the Internet was invented by private industry. Fact is, it was developed nearly 100% with U.S. government funding. Mostly military funding, actually. Private business got involved only when they realized that there was money to be made. This was long after the Internet was designed and built.

        Of course, there
        • not this old saw again... ignoring the fact that the two objections to my post are mutually contradictory 1) don't worry it is private industry you can trust that 2) don't worry it is government you can trust that the reality is that we have government dependent business monopolies being created which benefit from neither adequate government oversight, nor completely private motives i think this issue is somewhat more complex than you are realising and to believe that cosy relationships with local gover
    • It'd have to be pretty slow WiFi then. 802.11B, the old, slow standard, is 11Mbps. I don't know about the states, but that's 5 times more bandwidth than the best DSL or Cable you can get in Israel. 802.11G, IIRC, gives you 54Mbps. So while yes, WiFi is slow compared to modern Ethernet, it's not at all slow when compared to ISPs.
      • The WiFi itself may be fast, but I doubt you'll be getting a whole 11Mbit straight to the internet for yourself.
      • The standards may be 11 and 54mbps, but I highly doubt you'll get that. Those are theoritical maximums, and I don't you'd ever see those speed in actual use. And as someone else pointed out, you don't get that all to yourself, you have to share. Wireless also has higher latency, which forces anyone who wants to play games to stick with a wired connection. Their wireless is better than no internet, but it doesn't beat a wired connection.
    • by Anonymous Coward
      As a former resident of Oakland County myself, I don't think that much of the residents will have too difficult of a time affording Comcasts inflated prices. I think that this is a good idea, however it should be done in a county (i.e. Wayne or Macomb) where free or very cheap high speed internet can reduce the "digial divide" (sorry for the of the use of the bad buzz word).
      • I agree - certainly there aren't many people in Oakland county that can't afford broadband, but at the same time, it's a project that's being put into play by the county government, not the state. I think it'd be fantastic for Macomb and Wayne to follow suit, but knowing how corrupt the government in Wayne is, I doubt it'd be successful, there. Macomb, on the other hand, still has a lot of more rural areas (like Romeo) that could benefit from this greatly.
        • Oakland has a lot of very very rich people, but it too has its share of poverty.

          I live in Oakland, and do ok, but where I am at there are plenty around me who are not very well off. Poverty is real, just like it is in most places. Why should we feel it is "right" or more "just" to roll out a public service in the most economically depressed areas?

          I guess my point is we all have problems, and whereever you look there will be people who need help. If Oakland can give us ubiquitous net access, without rai
  • Government power should only be used to crush other nations, preferably those who have citizens with high melatonin levels.... /sarcasm
  • Clarification (Score:5, Informative)

    by XorNand ( 517466 ) on Saturday February 12, 2005 @06:31PM (#11654614)
    Ok, I need to clarify things: This is NOT being funded by tax dollars. The Detroit Free Press [freep.com] makes this point a bit more clear than the submitter's articles. As I wrote in a reply below:
    "The companies involved here will be providing basic access for free and charging those who want faster acccess. The assumption is that the powerusers will be subsidizing the freeloaders. In fact, I believe the county is planning on charging a franchise fee, making this actually a source of income."
  • And I'd like to spend money on an effort that adds little benefit but which sounds good on my re-election campaign.

    A city covered by Wireless, paid for by the tax-payers, because of course, that is the most cost-effective way of getting anything done. Get the government to do it.

    Does anyone honestly think that having city councils doing this stuff makes sense ? Would it make sense for them to provide the phones and electricity as well ? Nice vote winner, but to do the decent investment in Wi-Fi to get
    • uhh... actually this initiative is to get PRIVATE companies to implement the service. the county will pay for a basic connectivity service and the companies will have premium services that people can subscribe to.
    • Well Sacramento has a Public Utility and guess who's rates barely rose (at about the cost of inflation) and who always had power during the summer of when everyone else had blackouts and insane power bills. I mentioned in the PA thread that Lewisham (in London) does this and its a very good and successful program though with much, much less coverage, and in fact allows me to live here. My phone line can't get DSL (in London for Chissake!) and cable's not an option either). Its either this or an expensive I
  • The problem with these kind of strategies is that Wi-Fi is only the start of new generation technologies using airwaves. So there is quite a big risk that they will be caught up by new technologies as they go along.

    On the other hand, this is the first step into a universally available internet everywhere - for free. This is especially interesting for people with little money as well. They can pick up a cheap computer, add a wireless PCI card and have internet access in a whiff.

    The other thing is that this
  • This is a waste of taxpayer money. Broadband internet is readily availale in Oakland County through private providers. Meanwhile, Michigan's roads are abominable. Snow takes days to get cleared from residential streets. I could go on and on. Someone needs to get their priorities straight.
  • One of the last communities without telephone service [freerepublic.com], Mink, La. finally got hooked up.

    It took over 30 years to hook up the phones, when they just could of gone Wifi and VOIP.
  • by chazwurth ( 664949 ) <<ude.hcimu> <ta> <trautsdc>> on Saturday February 12, 2005 @06:51PM (#11654741)
    my take is: what's the point? Oakland is one of the richest counties in the U.S.A. Oakland County residents can, for the most part, afford their own internet access. I'd much rather see a project like this in neighboring Wayne county, where it could actually prove a benifit to residents (although home computer ownership is probably far lower in Detroit than it is in any of Oakland County cities).
    • my take is: what's the point? Oakland is one of the richest counties in the U.S.A.

      Patterson is a big name politician who loves technology. Does any one remember if "Automation Alley", which Patterson promoted heavily, lived up to its promises? It's really about attracting business, and expanding the tax rolls.

      As a former resident of Oakland county, I take Patterson with a _large_ grain of salt.
  • ...I pay under $70 a month for internet and basic 70ish channel cable from Wide Open West (formerly SBC), which I find quite reasonable, and it's not a "special 3 month deal" like comcast.
    Though, at my previous residence, also in Oakland County, I paid about $90 for the same service (except it was not capped to 512Kb, but it never got that fast anyway, and they had lots of problem from restructuring). Cursed Bright House Networks (formerly time warner).

    I have no need for silly government wireless, though
  • I live in Genesee county which borders oakland county and I think we would have been a better choice because if anyone has ever lived in oakland county will know the wealth doesnt stop there. I think most people can afford internet access there.

  • How do they know which wireless technology to go with?

    I am sure a project like this will cost a lot of money. How can they be sure to get a return on investment when the technology they decide on can be obsolete in a few years?

  • by JBMcB ( 73720 )
    I live one block away from the eastern border of Oakland, *and* I have a bunch of tall trees next to my house. Mwahahahahaaa....
  • I haven't noticed a surge of jobs from the county as I have been looking into it for the past couple of months (I know a couple of months isn't really all that long for a huge rollout like this would be, but I still think that there would be some hiring/firing going on).

    I've been looking to move to that county or a nearby county, and I have been following the jobs on their website, and I haven't seen any job posts for anything network (there was recently a PC Tech position).

    Did all their hiring for t
  • darn! i was read this title thinking this was Oakland, CA.
  • Does it specify technology? 802.11 or 802.16? I'd guess for the area they want to cover, .16 (WiMax) would be better.
  • In a time where city, county, and state governments are strugling to provide the basic services of police, fire fighters, education, roads, etc. I would like to know where all of this money is coming from. This is wasteful spending because IT IS NOT NEEDED! Let the private sector pay for the extra crap. The goverment should be involved in ONLY ESSENTIAL services.

    Everyone bitches about paying higher and higher taxes, but they also want the government to spend money on crap like this? I just don't get it
    • > The goverment should be involved in ONLY ESSENTIAL services.

      The government is involved in all infastructure projects. They may not pay your electric, phone, or gas bill, but some level of government has decided which companies to allow to build lines into your home.

  • im glad to see more places going wireless... its nice going to the beach here (in california) and being able to grab a wireless signal...
  • by nikster ( 462799 ) on Sunday February 13, 2005 @02:27AM (#11657348) Homepage
    Let's say skype runs on my PDA and my smartphone. And wireless is provided for free country-wide.

    => wireless telephony has just become free.

    i would be surprised if the cell operators wouldn't put up a massive lobbying effort against this. in the end, the goverment takes over their business and gives it away for free.

    not that i or anyone else ever having to deal with cingular customer service would mind.
  • So i can ride my bike 1 1/2 miles with my laptop, sit on the bench out front summerset mall, and get free wireless? im in!

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