Southside Wi-Fi Details

Becca Vargo Daggett commented here to my South Pilot post and brought up some good issues which I’m going to cover in this post.

Peter, I think you’ve been given some passwords, but others weren’t allowed to access the network via their own computer at the open house.

I do have a password for access. There was access at the open house but many people (including me) had trouble getting connected. One of the USI guys finally helped me.

I was given a card with a log-in password that did not work. Turns out none of them will work until this week (the week of the 17th). I was also told that the vendors are still negotiating with the city over whether or not the public will be allowed to access the network during the pilot stage. My understanding was that residential use during the pilot will be limited to approved testers – mainly or entirely city employees.

Lots of the passwords didn’t work. I know they were one-time only. I don’t know if they will work this week or not.

According to my source at USI, the Wi-Fi network will be open to the public late Wednesday or Thursday. I’ll post instructions on how to connect when I get them. It may be pretty open except for some registration. The City had already announced public access although they were never very clear about it and sometimes it sounded like only at the pilot demos.

I could, however, access the “walled garden” content from the portal page (a boon for TC Daily Planet, whose articles, and advertisements, are featured). The signal I got in the gym, where the presentations were, was weak. Same thing when I was sitting on the sofa just outside the door of the demo room.

Yes, the signal in the gym was weak. Not unusual as the nearest access point was outside and the gym has concrete walls. USI was pleased that the signal was visible and it was very strong in the room with the computers. I got a very fast signal – something like 3 or 4 Mbps there with no hardware device.

Connection seemed to work well with the Ruckus bridge. What remains to be seen is how much they’ll charge for connection and hardware.

I think the price point will be in the $20/month range with CPE (customer hardware) free if you subscribe, likely for a year. Earthlink is using the same model. No limit on how many computers connect if you subscribe. The CPE is not a wireless device – it’s wired. You would need another device to provide your own wireless access in the home. Of course, this is all subject to change as the contracts are negotiated. Oh. The CPE provides encryption of your data. (Earthlink has similar equipment and details.) There is also a client available for encryption when logging in away from home. I’m not sure if it’s Mac compatible.

My own access point, the one I can see from my window, has a blown radio. Hopefully, they’ll have it fixed tomorrow.

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