Police Using WiFi Mesh

The San Mateo police (one town over from where I’m sitting right now) are now apparently using a “metro-scale WiFi mesh network for law enforcement” that covers the entire downtown area. Next time I get pulled over in San Mateo I’ll have to ask the officer how it works. They’re using Tropos equipment – 17 access points connected in a mesh to only 2 backhaul links. They’re expecting to expand to cover much more of San Mateo (the “critical crime areas” they say), and will eventually be using 40 access points. Not that San Mateo is exactly a hotbed of criminal activity. It’s a little unclear how much real estate they’re actually covering with this offering. Definitions of where downtown San Mateo begins and ends may be different depending on who you talk to. Also, no word on security. Of course, everyone involved will claim the network is incredibly secure, but when you’re dealing with police databases, I would imagine that security questions may pop up from some who are concerned about what data is floating around out there.

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