Another Muni WiFi Network Gets An Early Thumbs Down

from the good-idea-bad-execution dept

Earlier this month, the city of Corpus Christi, Texas launched its municipal WiFi network, which its vendor said was the largest of its kind, covering more than 100 square miles. However, like some other muni WiFi projects, early reviews don't sound too encouraging -- complaints echoed earlier this month in Portland as well. It's the same sort of thing early users in other cities have reported: weak signal strength, low speeds and difficulty connecting. Many of these problems occur when people try to use the services indoors (as one does), highlighting one of the drawbacks of using WiFi for this type of application: it doesn't penetrate buildings well, particularly when the router's at some distance away. Many of the network vendors say users need to buy repeaters to overcome this, something that takes away some of the "free" aspect of these networks, as well as something that takes away from their attraction to visitors. While we remain bullish on the general idea of municipal broadband, it's still not clear at all that WiFi is the best way to deliver it. Many of the muni WiFi "success stories" raise as many questions as they answer, and the truth of how well these networks are working remains pretty muddy. Again, municipal broadband is an idea with a lot of merit, but it looks like a lot of muni-WiFi rollouts are based on the wrong reasons, and are possibly just using the wrong technology.

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  1. identicon
    Rick, 6 Jan 2007 @ 4:11pm

    Corpus Christi Wi-Fried

    I don't understand the Corpus Christi Wi-Fi. I have a Wireless-N card with a desktop antenna (Linksys WMP300N).

    I installed the software, installed the card and connect to cctex. hit ok for their user agreement and I was doing a Windows Update at 5mb/sec and I thought WOW! About 15 minutes into the update it went dead. The Linksys Wireless Monitor indicates I am connected with a very good signal. But NOTHING HAPPENS! I even disabled the firewall to see if there was a conflict but cctex was DOA. Strong signal good connection but no packets from the network.

    It does work sometimes - but it is like bursts that come and go for the length of time nobody knows. It's not being inside that is the problem. If it were, I would not be receiving a good signal. Somehow their servers are messed-up big time!

    What really ticks me off is how much this city must have paid for this junky network! Or I guess I should say how much the city is going to stick it to us. I guess they aready are. I think we have the highest utility and electric prices in the United States. (Hey! How does 15-16 cents a kilowatt hour grab you - no kidding - thats what it costs here!)

    Of course the magazine Mens Health listed Corpus Christi as the "second dumbest city in the United States." The leadership is even worse, that's why we end up with these governemnt waste projects. With the price of this Wi-Fi they could have purchased every man, woman and child a five your subscription to wired broadband.

    That's what I think of Corpus Christi and the Wi-Fi mess here. If they would have waited and used the N standard I doubt they would have the problems they have on G

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