Tag Archives: Wi-Fi

January Meeting: Wed, Jan. 25th at 7:15 PM: VOIP over Wi-Fi

NYCwireless January Meeting Announcement
All are invited – please re-post everywhere!

Wednesday, January 25th, 2006 at 7:15pm

568 Broadway at Prince St, NE corner
Suite 404
New York, NY 10012


  1. Dustin Goodwin: Designing Wifi Network for VOIP
    So you think you can just buy a couple of Wifi Voip phones and start using them on your office network? Well unfortunately it’s not that easy. Wifi networks designed for data are probably not well enough engineered to handle VOIP phones with a high degree of quality. If you want to learn about design factors for VOIP over WiFi? don’t miss this presentation.
  2. Workshop breakout sessions: small group discussions from novice to advanced questions

Dustin Goodwin, VOIP expert and NYCwireless Board member — Dustin has shared his expertise many times at NYCw meetings, his presentations are always informative, and not to be missed.

Correction for "Google Sponsors Bryant Park Wi-Fi" Story

To whom it may concern at the Heartland Institute,

In your story, “Google Sponsors Bryant Park Wi-Fi”, published in the November issue of IT&T News, Mr. Steven Titch makes a number of factual mistakes.

Specifically, NYCwireless (the correct name and spelling for our organization) is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization formed and run by volunteers from the New York City metropolitan area. We have never had any affiliation with the New York City government, nor were we formed by the city. We are a wholly independent organization.

In addition, Bryant Park is a privately operated and funded park. The Bryant Park Restoration Corporation has received a license from the NYC Parks Department to run the park, and its operations are wholly independent from any involvement and policy of the NYC Parks Department. The NYC Parks Department, and indeed the entire NYC government, has never had any involvement in the creation, operation, or funding of any of the dozens of free, public wireless hotspots built by or in conjunction with NYCwireless, including Bryant Park, Union Square Park, City Hall Park, and South Street Seaport, to name a few.

Your conclusion that “Bryant Park offers more evidence that cities cannot operate free Wi-Fi networks” is specious and groundless at best.

I appreciate your posting a correction to the errors noted above.

Dana Spiegel
Executive Director, NYCwireless

The End-User Cost of Muni-networks

Also published on the Wireless Community blog

I’m a big fan of what’s going on in Philadelphia, but this article in The Philadelphia Inquirer has me thinking that maybe all of this talk about the end user cost of muni-networks is, in part, wrong.

One way that most Community Wireless networks are different from other broadband networks is that they view their wireless service as supplemental. In other words, NYCwireless wouldn’t ever expect to be the only Internet service that a person uses. This is true for most CWNs, expecially those in urban places.

As such, our pricing models expect that usage of the networks is an add on to a user’s already expensive broadband connection. This is one way that commercial Wi-Fi is different, and why so many people are unhappy about the high prices. Is the $30 per month (or thereabout) price of a T-Mobile Wi-Fi a supplemental service fee, or is it a primary broadband connection fee?

I already pay over $100 per month for my DSL at home. I’m not going to pay another $20 or $30 per month just to get Wi-Fi periodically. And neither are most other people (discount the road-warrior types who’s businesses pay for their supplemental internet fees).

We need a more sophisticated pricing model. And this is what bothers me about the Philadelphia prices. The Philly network imagines that it is the primary broadband connection for people living in the city. But what about all of the people who already have $40-$60 home DSL and cablemodems? Wireless Philadelphia should make sense for them as well, except they won’t really use it at home, just when they are away from home.

I think this is critical for the project’s success. What is the right price for supplemental Internet? I personally would pay about $5 total for all other broadband I would use outside of my home. I suspect that this pricing is about what other people would be willing to pay as well. This type of pricing model respects existing broadband service, and offers the opportunity for Philadelphia to capture more of the market. It also acknowledges that one company/organization can’t solve the universal broadband issue by itself.

Who says that I should only have 1 broadband connection? Telcos, cable companies, WISPs, and any other broadband provider must embrace this view of the market, because its the way things will be in the future.

NYCwireless September Meeting at NYU (RSVP required!)

Wednesday, September 28th, 2005 at 7:30pm sharp
NYU Interactive Telecommunications Program (ITP)
721 Broadway (at Waverly Place) Room 406

A special meeting: Everyone is invited but space is limited
RSVP required for building admission
RSVP by Wed. 5pm to: joe@nycwireless.net


  1. Wireless to the rescue: Restoring communications in Katrina’s aftermath – Report By Dustin Goodwin and Terry Schmidt
  2. Controlling Interference: Cognio introduces their spectrum analyzer, a tool to manage growing RF interference problems

Terry Schmidt and Dustin Goodwin have just returned from providing wireless communications networks in the areas devastated by Katrina.

IP network, unlicensed wireless, and VOIP are incredibly flexible technology that can be used to deploy data and voice communication in ways not possible with traditional technology. Nowhere is this more apparent then in disaster zone where police, fire, and storm victims are cut off from the rest of the world. Learn how a Naval Post Graduate School, Cisco, Tachyon and Redline alliance along with a healthy does of motivated volunteers connected three Mississippi towns at ground Zero of Hurricane Katrina back into the communications grid in only a few days.

Terry and Dustin will present their first hand accounts, including photos, as well as the technologies used and why.

Terry Schmidt is a co-founder, board member, and former President of NYCwireless. Dustin Goodwin also serves on NYCw Board of Directors, and has led NYCwireless campaign to provide free wireless access to Community Access Houses in Manhattan, The Bronx and Brooklyn. Terry and Dustin both work for Cisco.

Cognio will explain how to use their laptop spectrum analyzer to troubleshoot everyday RF problems. Spectrum Analyzers have the ability to view all RF activity not just 802.11. Cordless phone shutting down your Wifi network? You’ll never be able to figure out unless it’s your phone or you have a tool like Cognio’s. Great for people looking to learn more about diagnostic tools used to troubleshoot wireless network problems.

Special thanks to NYU ITP for their graciously hosting this month’s NYCwireless meeting. Thanks to Red Burns, George Agudow and Nancy Lewis.

Bruce Fein's New York Times Letter to the Editor

Bruce Fein, a former general counsel for the FCC under President Reagan, published a letter to the editor in today’s New York Times. He claims that Nicholas D. Kristof’s recent column “wrongly chastises New York for neglecting to emulate the citywide wireless networks in rural Oregon” due to far greater cost of deploying Wi-Fi in populated urban areas.

While Mr. Fein is correct in stating that Wi-Fi in New York would be more costly than in, say, Philadelphia (as I have written previously in this blog 1, 2), his claim that it would cost $1 billion is way off the mark. Yes, New York City recently put out an RFP for a $1 billion wireless network for police, fire, and emergency rescue use. This network is intended to be private and secure, and won’t likely use Wi-Fi (it certainly won’t use Wi-Fi in the normal 802.11a/b/g bands).

From where is Mr. Fein getting his $1 billion figure? According to JupiterResearch, the cost of building and maintaining a municipal wireless network is $150,000 per square mile over five years. Sascha Meinrath of CUWiN claims that a network with a density of 142 nodes per square mile would cost about $49,700. If we take these as a low and a high estimate, we wind up with a total cost for NYC between $15 million and $50 million. Even if we triple the JupiterResearch cost estimates, we don’t come even close to Mr. Fein’s number.

Furthermore, Mr. Fein’s claim that such a network would be entirely Wi-Fi is mis-informed. Such a network should use whatever wireless and wired technologies are appropriate. Wi-Fi happens to be the best solution for getting internet access over the “last 100 yards”. As for competition, New York could be the city that encourages the most R&D in wireless, if only the City created the right environment, perhaps by opening up more lightpole franchises at an affordable rate.

All of this doesn’t address the most important issue: only about 35% of New Yorkers have broadband, and only 10% of low-income families in New York City have broadband. And this is the most connected city in the country! We should be demanding that the Mayor and everyone else in our City Government address this situation! Wi-Fi, WiMax, Wi-whatever—wireline or wireless—it doesn’t matter. In fact, any viable solution will make use of all of these technologies, as well as some others that aren’t even released yet.

We shouldn’t look at this problem as being so large and costly that we can’t address it. We can start small. NYCwireless and its partners have brought free Wi-Fi to many City parks and other public spaces. And we continue to bring public Wi-Fi to low income buildings and other neighborhoods. Working together, we (and every single New Yorker) can make a difference.