Brian Vagnoni on 16 Feb 2009 16:36:21 -0800

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Re: [PLUG] Public Service Announcement (Really)

----- Original Message -----

> The SSID should pop up as WirelessPhiladelphia
> Two things that will hurt signal. One is bad luck, your block might
> just have a bad signal because the nearest node is down. Two is your
> adapter. The low power PC cards and internal laptop chips are very poor at
> picking up signal inside. A USB high power device with external antenna is
> ideal. 


Hi John;

Do you work with Philadelphia Wireless? I don't mean to be a skeptic but I got really burned by Earthlink & Philadelphia Wireless. Specifically Philadelphia Wireless.

When you say the towers are being upgraded, what exactly do you mean? Upgraded with what technology speaking? How is this system different than Earthlink? 

Unless radio physics have changed I just don't see this working any better than when Earthlink tried to do it. 

Most pro-wireless gear has 2 ratings; inside distance and outside distance. Building penetration is a real issue for 2.4GHz. LOS at street level is a real problem in any city for wireless signals. Not to mention that allot of structures are metal and grounded to the earth. 

Also, supplying service for both 802.11b and 802.11g access will only hurt the 802.11g radio folks. Unless you have multiple separate radios the minute an 802.11b user connects that user slows everyone down. 

Yes there are some USB dongles that support up to 500mw. I own one it's called an Alfa AWUS036H but they are in the minority. Most PC-Card are 100mw, though I also own a UBNT 300mw PC-Card. Many don't support external antennas. Your average Linksys WAP54G supports 70mw. The Philadelphia Wireless supplied PepLink used a 200mw Atheros 5212 radio with a non-diversity 9dbi external antenna. These weren't enough to make a good stable Cisco recommended 35db SNR connection even when sitting below the street mounted AP. But I admit I've tested speeds anywhere from below dialup to 3mb x 3mb.

Considering the price of xDSL continues to fall as well as cellular with it's double and triple redundant networks I just don't see the point. You end having to purchase gear up front with the free WIFI deal and may or may not have it work. Right now we are getting Sprint EDVO modems free, and $20/month internet deals. 

As much as I like the idea of a free city wide network it has to work. It has to be as simple and reliable as plugging in your average household lamp for everyone or it's not going to work.

Free citywide internet is the right idea, free citywide Wi-Fi supplied internet is the wrong technology for the right idea. 

Brian Vagnoni
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Sent: Mon, 16 Feb 2009 08:38:25
Subject: Re: [PLUG] Public Service Announcement (Really)

> Closer to Lombard St signals start going to another tower (not yet 
> converted). But places like 12th and Christian, 10th and Carpenter,
> Broad 
> and Washington - have great access. 

> In time, bad nodes will be replaced, which will further improve signal
> coverage. 
> ----------------------------------------------------
> From : Michael Leone <>
> To :, Philadelphia Linux User's Group Discussion List 
> <> 
> Subject : Re: [PLUG] Public Service Announcement (Really)
> Date : Mon, 16 Feb 2009 17:51:10 -0500
> > On Thu, Feb 12, 2009 at 10:51 PM,  <> wrote:
> > > I think this is relavent to those who live in Philly.
> > >
> > > The Philadelphia Public Wifi network (no longer associated with 
> Earthlink) 
> > > is being worked on with regards to better performance.
> > >
> > > The first of many towers has been modified for better routing and 
> internet 
> > > responsiveness. I cant disclose the location of the tower, but I
> can
> > > indicate the neighborhoods that it serves:
> > >
> > > This is approximate:
> > >
> > > Lombard St SOUTH to Oregon Ave
> > > 19th St EAST to the Delaware River
> > 
> > I don't see it, although I will admit to being about 1/2 block west
> of
> > the coverage area, at the middle of the north-south coverage area.
> > What is the name of the network?
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