Tag Archives: Hotspot

Gramstand in the Ideablob Competition Finals

Gramstand, one of our favorite NYCwireless hotspots, is in the final running for the Ideablob Competition. Go vote for this great coffeeshop and friend of NYCwireless!

Gramstand Friends and Family,

Thanks to your lovely support, we are now in the finals of the Ideablob Competition… so WE NEED YOUR VOTE, ONE LAST TIME. If we win the $10,000 prize we’re putting the money toward cafe renovations like:

  • opening the front windows for the summer
  • getting better air conditioning
  • testing new menu options
  • a liquor license (citrus berry champagne??? yum!)
  • a fax machine
  • and basement adjustments
  • …things that will make the space fun for working or gathering!

To vote for us, you need to go to the link below and set-up an account. It only takes a minute or two:

http://ideablob.com/ideas/1812-Gramstand-community-tea-cafe-

Thanks for supporting the Gramstand — it really means a lot to me and the staff. Feel free to pass this email along to other supporters!

Mahalo,

Richard & the gStand

NYCwireless Announces New Hotspot in Jackson Square Park

We’re very excited to announce the availability of our newest hotspot in Jackson Square Park at Greenwich Avenue and Eighth Avenue in the West Village. This hotspot is a partnership with Hines, the developers of the One Jackson Square building that is next to the park.

One Jackson Square Brings FREE HIGHSPEED INTERNET to Jackson Square Park

Providing Greenwich Village with Free Public Hotspot

NEW YORK, NY — February 1, 2008 — As of February 1, Jackson Square Park visitors will have the opportunity to share something in common beyond mere geographical proximity in a charming urban oasis. Compliments of One Jackson Square, the neighboring luxury residential condominium being constructed by Hines and RFR, Greenwich Village’s Jackson Square Park will become a New York City “hotspot” with a free high-speed, wireless internet connection.

“Greenwich Village residents have a rich history of appreciating public space as an arena for communication, whether in the form of political activism, artistic performance, or other forms of urban experience,” explained Hines Vice President David Penick. “In the spirit of strengthening the sense of community and neighborhood in and around Jackson Square Park came our desire to sponsor a free, public hotspot.”

But park-goers aren’t the only people who will benefit from the Jackson Square Park Hotspot. Nearby residents, pedestrians and businesses also will be able to tap into its high-speed signal. “It’s a great neighborhood amenity,” explained Penick. “Residents whose homes are adjacent to the park will also benefit from the Wi-Fi Hotspot. It’s really the Jackson Square Park neighborhood that will become a hotspot of activity.”

This arrangement comes courtesy of the developers’ partnership with NYCwireless, a non-profit organization instrumental in turning Bryant Park, Madison Square Park, City Hall Park, Wagner Park in Battery Park City, Brooklyn Bridge Park, and Vietnam Veterans Plaza and many others into free public hotspots. The Jackson Square Park Hotspot will be featured on NYCwireless’ listing and map of free New York City hotspots at http://www.nycwireless.net

About One Jackson Square

Renowned real estate developer Hines, long recognized for exceptional real estate developments around the world, introduces One Jackson Square — 35 provocative loft condominium residences developed in partnership with RFR Holding and designed by visionary architect William Pedersen (KPF). Architecturally inspired by its eclectic neighborhood, One Jackson Square is a distinctive new condominium offering comprehensive amenities with 1-, 2-, and 3-bedroom homes for those who want a modern approach to living in the historic West Village. www.onejacksonsquare.com

Follow Up from NY:MIEG Event — Wireless, Wimax & Mobile 2008 and Beyond: The Future of Communications

Laura and I had a lot of fun talking on the panel at the NY:MIEG event Wireless, Wimax & Mobile 2008 and Beyond: The Future of Communications. We talked about Wi-Fi, WiMax, and Cell networks, as well as devices and content. Laura talked about her research about how people use hotspots. Needless to say, lots of people are interested in wireless technologies, and especially handhelds and Wi-Fi hotspots.

For those of you that missed the panel, it was recorded and will be posted online.

A few people live-blogged the panel, and there was lively discussion for quite some time after the panel was over:

CBS MobileZone Usage Report

Our own Klaus Ernst (he’s an active NYCwireless member) reports on some of availability of the CBS MobileZone on Wi-Fi Net News.

The 47th Street Subway entrance has the “CBS mobile ((ZONE)) surf the web here. Free!” orange banner (see picture) but there was no hotspot. Maybe next time.

Well, it’s not hopeless, but CBS is definitely not blanketing the area with Wi-Fi the way they made it sound in the press release.

Craig Plunkett also reports on his blog about the network:

I was in the Big Town yesterday and decided to try getting access through my blackberry from a Wi-Fi node next to a billboard that I could clearly see. 3 bars on the blackberry wifi meter, but no joy. For some reason, my blackberry coughed up a W010 failure to associate message. The node in question is on the southwest corner of 40th and 7th avenue, at a cell site/billboard on top of a 3 story building.

For those not in the business, the business end of this connection is the white box with the three antennae above the all-seeing CBS eye. The two long antennae are the stock dipoles that come with a Tropos 3200 node. That’s what your wifi device connects to. The third white little can in between the two long ones I thought might have been an EV-DO antenna that is commented upon in Glenn’s wifinetnews post here. However, a person connected with the project has quashed that notion adamantly, and upon closer inspection of the picture, it’s just the top of the mounting mast sticking up over the Tropos node. Notice the cell site antennae below the CBS sign. Usually, there’s fiber to these cell sites, and that might be what the site is using for backhaul. I’m not really buying John’s explanation of the connection issues. I haven’t ever had to do the kinds of on/off gyrations he’s describing to get connected, whether it was a blackberry, XP, or Vista laptop, and if you have to screw around that much with your adapter just to get connected, then nobody’s going to use it.

Craig’s right that if the connection isn’t going to work well given the RF interference from all the other Wi-Fi, there’s likely to be little use. Its not clear that CBS has learned from earlier experiences from Verizon’s ill fated Wi-Fi push a few years ago that having Wi-Fi on a street corner means nothing if there’s no easy way to use it with your laptop.

One important aspect of Free Wi-Fi networks is that to be useful, they must be in locations that have seating available, and there’s very little seating available on the streets of midtown Manhattan. Both Klaus and Craig are Wi-Fi early adopters, and happen to have handheld devices, but very few people in the general population are so lucky. In reality, if the connectivity isn’t better than dial-up for any user, there’s little point to using the network on a Wi-Fi equipped phone like the iPhone or Blackberry, since the cell networks are going to be about as fast and the Wi-Fi connection.

The Tropos gear uses 802.11g Wi-Fi gear to distribute internet access to the nodes, but this only makes the problem of Wi-Fi interference worse. In midtown, you can usually see dozens of access points, and that’s just the ones that are broadcasting their SSID. The Tropos backhaul likely experiences lots of radio congestion on the omni-directional antennas it uses, and only serves to increase the amount of Wi-Fi noise broadcast into the area.

Have any other NYCwireless users used the network?

Wifidog Rolls Out — with Offer!

Our pilot testing of the WifiDog federation is complete. WifiDog is a hotspot management software from Ile Sans Fil that runs on a standard Linksys WRT54G using open source firmware. With WifiDog, we can now have a federation of nodes that have access to a central server for:

  • real-time monitoring of node status
  • managed user authentication
  • splash page and login page hosting
  • web-based content management (though we haven’t quite figured it out yet!)
  • traffic statistics for each node (user counts, total throughput, and traffic by time of day)

Our federation now looks like this: http://auth.nycwireless.net/hotspots_map.php

Our goal is to look like this: http://auth.ilesansfil.org/hotspots_map.php

We want YOU to upgrade to a WifiDog. If you run an NYCwireless hotspot, we want you to switch to a WifiDog unit. If you’re planning to put up a New York hotspot, we want you make WifiDog part of your setup.

For more info on flashing a Linksys so it can run WifiDog, please see:

But wait! We’ll trade you! If you bring us a brand new plain jane Linksys WRT54G or GS, we’ll give you back a preconfigured Linksys WifiDog.

Thanks and we look forward to hearing from you! Congratulations to all who have contributed so far, and to future members and users!