NYCwireless' oldest public node moving!

I am going to go ahead and lay claim to the oldest continuously operating NYCwireless public node. During a very hot and sweaty summer evening back in 2001 Terry, Anthony and the rest crowded into my living room to help launch Cornelia Street community wireless (The village voice article that launched this adventure). The decision to install a NYCwireless public wireless node has taken me on adventure that goes far beyond technology.

Some highlights from the past 4 years:

  • Helping Terry and the team build out the first free public NYC park network in Bryant Park.
  • Building 3 low income housing networks in conjunction with Community Access.
  • Meeting technology visionaries like Dave Farber, Jeff Pulver and Henning Schulzrinne at the monthly meeting.
  • Posing with my laptop for the camera at various NYC venues as Anthony (aka media slut) had us do often back when Wifi was hot news. We are such dorks!

While the node on Cornelia Street maybe shutting down the NYCwireless experience goes on. I am looking forward to many years to come off great wireless projects and lots of beer. Stay tuned for news on the Garfield Place community wireless network in Park Slope Brooklyn. Just as soon as I can get unpacked.

NYCwireless node #6 link

Why Mesh-based Wireless Networks Are Ideal for New York

Mesh networks are wireless networks, based on Wi-Fi technology, where each wireless “node” or “access point” connects with a number of other wireless nodes. Information flows from node to node, winding up either at its destination or the internet in general. Internet connections, in a mesh-based network, are provided by one or more nodes that connect to the internet directly (referred to as “backhaul”).

Robust and reliable, mesh wireless systems offer multiple points of connection to the network and no central tower. Mesh users can bypass obstacles like hills and trees by using different signal paths. Mesh networks are easily expandable at very low cost, and they have no single point of failure. Mesh networks also feature shorter distances between nodes, which means each antenna can broadcast at lower power, creating less interference and allowing more users to communicate simultaneously.” (from

The benefits of mesh technology are many:

  • self-organized, dynamic routing and connection
  • little or no centralized configuration
  • each node is interchangeable with every other node
  • overlapping wireless coverage areas ensure that no node is a point of failure
  • no wires are necessary, as the network is entirely wireless
  • organic build-out of the entire network is possible
  • multiple separate networks can be built independently and grow into a single cohesive network
  • redundant paths to backhaul
  • easy/seamless addition of additional backhaul

Continue reading Why Mesh-based Wireless Networks Are Ideal for New York

NYCwireless June Meeting – Everyone is Invited!

This is an especially important meeting.

Please post this notice to all interested friends and related lists.

When: TONIGHT!! Wed. June 29th, 2005 at 7:15 PM
Where:, 459 Broadway at Grand St., 2nd Floor.


  • NYCwireless Connected Neighborhoods by Dana Spiegel & Joe Plotkin
  • WifiDog demo: a tool for managing wireless networks, by Rob Kelley (and friends)
  • WirelessLondon: A software toolkit by Jo Walsh (no, not that Joe Walsh)
  • Breakout sessions: small group discussions follow the presentations, from Novice to Advanced.

Announcing: NYCwireless Connected Neighborhood Initiative

Presentation by Dana Spiegel (Executive Director) and Joe Plotkin (Board member)

We will present NYCwireless’ plans to help under-served communities by building Open Community Networks. Expanding on the success of the three Community Access projects over the last 2 years., this will be a much more ambitious effort, and require substantial financial support thru donations.

The NYCwireless Connected Neighborhood initiative will serve to demonstrate that we all benefit when all citizens are connected. Consequently, we intend Connected Neighborhoods to act as a model and catalyst for widespread participation by government, community groups and citizens of all ages.

NYCwireless will introduce our Inaugural Open Community Network, and outline the deployment plans as well as the tools and training that will be part of this project.

Topics covered will include:

  • Technology choices
  • Site survey
  • Installation
  • Training
  • Fund-raising
  • Volunteers
  • Timetable
  • Jo Walsh: is the thing we’ve just built which has wifidog-client support and provides a fair bit to look at… has a pile of links to the geospatial oriented stuff we’ve done lately

    Rob Kelley:

    A chance to review WiFiDog in action–client and server–and then test out creating your own WiFiDog hotspot. There’s a five minute demo and then a working session after the presentations.

    HR 2726 (Rep. Pete Sessions) Bill Banning Muni-Networks Nationwide

    A bill just introduced in Congress would take away the right of cities and towns across the country to provide citizens with universal, low-cost Internet access.

    Giant cable and telephone companies don’t want any competition–which might actually force them to offer lower prices, higher speeds and service to rural and urban areas.

    U.S. Rep. Pete Sessions (R-Texas)–a former telephone company executive–has introduced a bill (HR 2726) that would let cable and telecom companies shut down municipal and community efforts to offer broadband services.

    You can stop this outrageous bill. Send a message to your representative now at

    No less than the future of all communications is at stake. In a few years, television, telephone, radio and the Web will be accessed through a high-speed internet connection. Low-cost alternatives to telephone (DSL) and cable monopolies are emerging across the country, as cities, towns, nonprofits and community groups build low-cost “Community Internet” and municipal broadband systems.

    Companies like SBC, Verizon and Comcast have been introducing laws state by state that would prohibit municipal broadband, undercut local control and prevent competition. But we’ve been fighting back–and winning.

    An alliance of public interest groups, local officials, high-tech innovators and organized citizens have defeated anti-municipal broadband measures in nine of the 13 states where they’ve been introduced this year.

    What the industry couldn’t pass in the states, they’re trying to push through in Washington. Sessions’ bill–the “Preserving Innovation in Telecom Act” (an Orwellian title if there ever was one)–would prevent state and local governments from providing “any telecommunications service, information service or cable service” anywhere a corporation offers a similar service.

    Congressman Sessions worked for telephone giant SBC for 16 years, and his wife currently serves as a director of Cingular Wireless, an SBC subsidiary. SBC and its employees have been Sessions’ second-biggest career patron, pouring more than $75,000 into his campaign coffers.

    We can stop this legislation and send a clear message to Congress that local communities–not the giant telephone and cable companies–should determine their own communications needs. But you must act now.

    Please send a letter opposing HR 2726 at–and forward this message to everyone you know, asking them to do the same.

    Maine Becomes First State to Allow Municipalities to Broadband Networks

    As reported via MuniWireless, Maine has become the first state to explicitly allow municipalities to create broadband networks. This is a great development for the growth of free choice and locally driven broadband network creation. This is a very progressive stance, and one that is exactly opposite of the restrictive policies of number of other states. Indeed, allowing municipalities to make their own decisions is an important freedom that all local governments should have. Restricting municipal networks serves only the Telecom and Cable companies, and prevents municipal governments from providing important safety, security, and emergency services.

    NYCwireless Appointed to FCC Consumer Advisory Committee

    FCC Consumer Advisory Committee
    Released: March 8, 2005

    Members of Consumer Advisory Committee Named; Announcement of Date and Agenda of First Meeting and Future 2005 Meeting Dates

    By this Public Notice, the Federal Communications Commission (“Commission”) announces the appointment of members to its Consumer Advisory Committee (“Committee”). The Commission further announces the date and agenda of the Committee’s first meeting as well as future meeting dates in calendar year 2005. On December 14, 2004, the Commission issued a Public Notice announcing the re-chartering of the Committee and solicited applications for membership (see DA 04-3892), as subsequently published in the Federal Register at 69 FR 78024-01, December 29, 2004.

    Purpose & Functions

    The purpose of the Committee is to make recommendations to the Commission regarding consumer issues within the jurisdiction of the Commission and to facilitate the participation of consumers (including people with disabilities and underserved populations, such as Native Americans and persons living in rural areas) in proceedings before the Commission.

    During its two (2) year term, the Committee will address a number of topics including, but not limited to, the following areas:

    • Consumer protection and education (e.g., cramming, slamming, consumer friendly billing, detariffing, bundling of services, Lifeline/Linkup programs, customer service, privacy, telemarketing abuses, and outreach to underserved populations, such as American Indians and persons living in rural areas);
    • Access by people with disabilities (e.g., telecommunications relay services, closed captioning, accessible billing, and access to telecommunications products and services);
    • Impact upon consumers of new and emerging technologies (e.g., availability of broadband, digital television, cable, satellite, low power FM, and the convergence of these and emerging technologies); and
    • Implementation of Commission rules and consumer participation in the FCC rulemaking process.


    The Commission received seventy (70) applications for membership on the Committee, from twenty-three (23) states and the District of Columbia. After a careful review of these applications, thirty-five (35) members were appointed to the Committee. Of this number, ten (10) members represent consumer interests; ten (10) members represent disability interests; two (2) members represent the interests of state regulators, two (2) members represent tribal interests and eleven (11) members represent industry interests. The Committee’s slate is designed to be representative of the Commission’s many constituencies, and the expertise and diversity selected will provide a balanced point of view as required by the Federal Advisory Committee Act. In addition, Chairman Michael K. Powell has appointed Shirley L. Rooker, President, Call For Action, as the Committee’s Chairperson and Commissioner Charles Davidson, Florida Public Service Commission, as the Committee’s Vice Chairperson. All appointments are effective immediately and shall terminate November 19, 2006, or when the committee is terminated, whichever is earlier.

    The roster of the Committee, as appointed by Chairman Powell, is as follows:

    1. AARP, Debra Berlyn;
    2. Affiliated Tribes of NW Indians, John F. Stensgar;
    3. Alliance for Public Technology, Daniel Phythyon;
    4. Benton Foundation, Charles Benton;
    5. Brugger Consulting, David Brugger;
    6. Call For Action, Shirley L. Rooker (CAC Chairperson);
    7. Cellular Telecommunications and Internet Association, Carolyn Brandon;
    8. Community Broadcasters Association, Louis A. Zanoni;
    9. Community Technology Foundation of California, Laura Efurd;
    10. Consumer Electronics Association, Julie M. Kearney;
    11. Consumers First, Inc., Jim Conran;
    12. Deaf and Hard of Hearing Consumer Action Network, Claude Stout;
    13. Florida Public Service Commission, Commissioner Charles Davidson (CAC Vice Chairperson);
    14. Georgia Centers for Advanced Telecommunications Technology, Helena Mitchell;
    15. Hamilton Telephone Company, d/b/a Hamilton Relay Service, Dixie Ziegler;
    16. Ideal Group, Inc., Steve Jacobs;
    17. Inclusive Technologies, Jim Tobias;
    18. International Association of Audio Information Services, George (Mike) Duke;
    19. Rebecca Ladew (representing the interests of users of speech-to-speech technology);
    20. League for the Hard of Hearing, Joseph Gordon;
    21. Media Access Group WGBH, Larry Goldberg;
    22. National Association of Broadcasters, Marsha MacBride;
    23. National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners, Commissioner Ron Jones;
    24. National Association of State Relay Administration, Brenda Kelly-Frey;
    25. National Association of State Utility Consumer Advocates, Joy M. Ragsdale;
    26. National Cable and Telecommunications Association, Loretta P. Polk;
    27. National Captioning Institute, Joel Snyder;
    28. Nextel Communications, Inc., Kent Y. Nakamura;
    29. NYC Wireless, Laura Forlano;
    30. Mark Pranger (individual with expertise in telecommunications law and policy);
    31. Sprint Corporation, Brent Burpee;
    32. Time Warner, Inc., Tom Wlodkowski;
    33. T-Mobile, Thomas Sugrue;
    34. Verizon Communications, Richard T. Ellis, and
    35. Linda Oliver West (individual representing the interests of the Native American community and other consumers concerned with telecommunications services in rural America).

    Meeting Dates

    The first meeting of the Committee will take place on Friday, April 29, 2005, 9:00 A.M. to 4:00 P.M., at the Commission’s Headquarters Building, Room TW-C305, 445 12th Street, S.W., Washington, DC 20554. Future meetings of the Committee during calendar year 2005 will take place on Friday, July 15th and Friday, November 18th, at the same time and location.

    At its April 29, 2005 meeting, the Committee will address matters of internal business and organization, including the establishment of working groups, and will consider various consumer issues within the jurisdiction of the Commission. Meetings are open to the public.

    The Committee is organized under, and operates in accordance with the provisions of the Federal Advisory Committee Act, 5 U.S.C., App. 2 (1988). Minutes of meetings are available for public inspection at the FCC and are posted on the Commission’s website at Meetings are broadcast on the Internet in Real Audio/Real Video format with captioning at Meetings are sign language interpreted with real-time transcription and assistive listening devices available. Meeting agendas and handout materials are provided in accessible formats. The meeting site is accessible to people with disabilities.

    Members of the public may address the Committee or may send written comments to: Scott Marshall, Designated Federal Officer of the Committee.


    To request materials in accessible formats for people with disabilities (Braille, large print, electronic files, audio format), send an e-mail to or call the Consumer & Governmental Affairs Bureau at 202-418-0530 (voice), 202-418-0432 (TTY).

    For further information contact: Scott Marshall, Consumer & Governmental Affairs Bureau, Federal Communications Commission, 202-418-2809 (voice) or 202-418-0179 (TTY), (e-mail).

    – FCC –

    June 8 Board Meeting Minutes

    • Website
      • Discussed Transition to Wiki, Updated important Web pages
    • Meetings in Washington, DC
      • Dana will meet with Congressional officials on June 9
    • FCC Consumer Advisory Committee
    • Laura and Dana will represent NYCwireless at first meeting of committee on June 10
    • WifiDog
      • Rob/Jacob working on this project
    • CuWIN mesh
      • Dana will test mesh nodes
    • Discussion of New Board Member
    • Next Meeting Speaker and Announcement
      • Joe will recruit speaker and send out announcement
    • Mailing list
      • Discussed administration of mailing list