Over at open-source mesh pioneer LocustWorld, I discovered that Ultramesh is helping to implement the mesh networking software being installed in NW Louisiana and Stevenson Washington. Here’s a post from Joe Schlick of the Stevenson Wi-Fi Project:
We were able to convince our city council to grant promotional funds to our Stevenson Business Association to provide free public access wi-fi internet connectivity throughout our downtown core and along the public areas of our Columbia River Waterfront (the total area covered by our mesh is approx 4 x 8 city blocks).
The idea is that this free amenity will encourage tourists to stay longer in our community since they are able to stay in contact with projects and people that might otherwise require them to move on. The second, and potentially greater, benefit is our ability to now promote ourselves as a forward thinking, technically savvy community that understands how business in the 21st century is, and will be, carried out. Hopefully attracting non-resource based, living wage paying jobs to an incredibly beautiful place only 45 minutes from a major metropolitan area (Portland, Or.).
We have 6 nodes at this time with two more being installed by the end of January. One of these is located on the roof of our county courthouse and will have a webcam overlooking our downtown, waterfront, and across the river to the mountains in Oregon.
The mesh is designed so that all public gathering areas in our downtown core have connectivity. That includes our parks and restaurants. We are working closely with our city business association as well as the county chamber of commerce to incorporate the Stevenson Wi-Fi Project in all promotional efforts. One thing is to build it – the other is to get the word out and start benefiting from it.
I will try to keep you posted as the project expands. Anyone interested in further details can email me at firstname.lastname@example.org
Stevenson Wi-Fi Project
FastLine Internet may have been the nation’s first wireless mesh network using LocustWorld technology. They began offering broadband service in May, 2003. They’ve unwired the towns of Vivian, LA and Linden, Texas, spending about $25,000 servicing 1/3 of the town and can grow the mesh to cover the rest.
“I’ve been setting customers up with 3 levels of speed. I have a residential plan where they can purchase the wireless gear and pay $24.99/month. I have another plan where they can pay $39.99/month and we supply the gear. There is a plan for commercial accounts where they pay $59.99/month, we supply the gear. I charge $30 to install and configure the gear that we install. That is probably way too cheap, but we want to get everyone in town”.
Police use Vivato in Salida, Colorado. One antenna covers most of the downtown area. Hermiston’s secure wireless cloud, built by EZ Wireless, covers 600 square miles, encompassing four counties and seven cities for use by the Oregon Chemical Stockpile Emergency Preparedness Program (CSEPP). Another seven cities will be added this summer.
Medford uses MeshNetworks’ broadband solution. The largest city in Southern Oregon at 70,000, it has approximately 150 police officers and 75 fire personnel. Viasys Services (a MeshNetworks VAR) did the systems integration, deployment and project management. Garland, Texas has the largest mobile mesh network in the world. They also use MeshNetworks’ technology. Mesh networking has also been deployed in Baton Rouge and other communities in the South.
PacketHop, a spinoff of SRI, completed a multi-agency, interoperable communications exercise led by the Golden Gate Safety Network (GGSN) — a coalition of federal, state and local Bay Area public safety agencies. Under the leadership of the California Office of Emergency Services, PacketHop’s mesh networking enabled instantaneous mobile broadband connectivity, first-of-its-kind situational awareness applications, across diverse devices, difficult terrain and disjointed networks. But mesh gear is not standardized. Gear isn’t interoperable. An IEEE 802.11 Working Group met in Vancouver, British Columbia, this January to begin an industry-recognized standard for wireless mesh networking.
WiFi Plant says it is likely the IEEE will try to encompass both ad hoc/client mesh, where a signal can be extended over multiple hops, and full network/infrastructure mesh, where the self-healing/self-configuring connections are used for the backhaul that serves individual clients. Where the standard will truly go remains to be seen.
A mesh standard could be defined in 2005, but likely won’t be finished until 2007. Meanwhile, incompatibility between ALL mesh vendors is the rule.