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Mountain View To Partially Replace Google Wi-Fi

Unknown Lamer posted about 6 months ago | from the blame-smartphones dept.

Wireless Networking 69

itwbennett writes "Google launched the citywide Wi-Fi network with much fanfare in 2006 as a way for Mountain View residents and businesses to connect to the Internet at no cost. It covers most of the Silicon Valley city and worked well until last year, as Slashdot readers may recall, when connectivity got rapidly worse. As a result, Mountain View is installing new Wi-Fi hotspots in parts of the city to supplement the poorly performing network operated by Google. Both the city and Google have blamed the problems on the design of the network. Google, which is involved in several projects to provide Internet access in various parts of the world, said in a statement that it is 'actively in discussions with the Mountain View city staff to review several options for the future of the network.'"

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oops (0)

slashmydots (2189826) | about 6 months ago | (#45081293)

And yet, what is their plan to keep everyone on the wifi from being banned from everything everywhere? You get hundreds of people on one IP address from one gigantic wireless router and you've got a problem. One person does something stupid on slashdot, you're all IP banned. Last I heard, they don't send down individual outside IPs to everyone who connects. Even if they do, it'd shift around so much that it's basically the pay phone of the internet. You can commit any crime online and they'll never find you because it's anonymous. Yeah, they can sort of track it but I can sort of fake my MAC address and laptop name too.

Re:oops (1)

Chrisq (894406) | about 6 months ago | (#45081347)

And yet, what is their plan to keep everyone on the wifi from being banned from everything everywhere? You get hundreds of people on one IP address from one gigantic wireless router and you've got a problem. One person does something stupid on slashdot, you're all IP banned. Last I heard, they don't send down individual outside IPs to everyone who connects. Even if they do, it'd shift around so much that it's basically the pay phone of the internet. You can commit any crime online and they'll never find you because it's anonymous. Yeah, they can sort of track it but I can sort of fake my MAC address and laptop name too.

First of all there is no necessity to use a single IP address, they could route to a pool of addresses. When IPV6 comes along they could use individual addresses. Even if they use one address, they just won't ban it from Google services. For the reset "not our problem, contact the site admin"

Re:oops (1)

slashmydots (2189826) | about 6 months ago | (#45082379)

About 90% of TOR exit nodes can't even use google at all without a verification code. About the same number can't access 4chan or Omegle or slashdot's discussion system or any major news site's comments box, etc x 100000. So that's real, actual proof that a single IP will get banned from just about anything because a handful of users will ruin it for everyone.

As for a pool of addresses, now it's like website ban roulette because you might hop on wifi and get an IP from the pool that's banned and you might not. Eventually all of them will be banned and pools of IPv4 addresses aren't cheap so they aren't big.

Re:oops (1)

ONOIML8 (23262) | about 6 months ago | (#45081349)

Wow! You would think that if this was a real problem it would have been reported, and killed the network, sometime since it was first deployed in 2006. How is it they've managed to operate all this time without being hindered by the problem you mention?

Re:oops (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#45081367)

Shhhh ... the extra two digits in the ID should be enough to remind you the poster is a fucking idiot.

That and his posting history.

Re:oops (1)

gl4ss (559668) | about 6 months ago | (#45081547)

it doesn't quite work out like that in practice..

that is, plenty of places where you can get free wifi and only few countries in the world require even technically authenticating everyone who you give network access to.

anyways, just use vpn from the network. you should do that anyways. "but the vpn provider will be banned from everywhere1!!".. maybe, but again in practice doesn't work like that.

because you see not 100% of people are fucking idiots.

but apparently google is since they designed a network they blame the design is shitty for.

A tragedy of the commons perhaps? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#45081343)

Why don't they just float some 'loons....

Slashdot likes the cock (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#45081345)

Panties Stink!
They really, really stink!
Sometimes they're red, sometimes they're green,
Sometimes they're white or black or pink
Sometimes they're satin, sometimes they're lace
Sometimes they're cotton and soak up stains
But at the end of the day, it really makes you think
Wooooooo-wheeeee! Panties stink!

Sometimes they're on the bathroom floor
Your girlfriend- what a whore!
Sometimes they're warm and wet and raw
From beneath the skirt of your mother-in-law
Brownish stains from daily wear
A gusset full of pubic hair
Just make sure your nose is ready
For the tang of a sweat-soaked wedgie
In your hand a pair of drawers
With a funky feminine discharge
Give your nose a rest, fix yourself a drink
cause wooooooo-wheeeeeee! panties stink!

ADD -- Billionaire Edition (4, Interesting)

rudy_wayne (414635) | about 6 months ago | (#45081431)

Google, which is involved in several projects to provide Internet access in various parts of the world,

There's a pattern here. They launch dozens of new products and then kill them a short time later. The roll out WiFi to their home town and then neglect it.

Advertising brings in 98% of their revenue. Everything else is just playthings for a company with too much money and no idea what to (usefully) do with it. Maybe instead of worrying about balloons in Africa you should work on the things in your own back yard..

Google is competing with local businesses by providing a multitude of services to its staff. Living in the shadow of the Googleplex is causing job losses and hurting rather than boosting the local economy.

Silicon Valley towns continue to suffer from terrible public schools and broken communities. East Palo Alto is a violent urban ghetto in every sense of the definition. And its smack-dab in the heart of Silicon Valley, right next to Facebook and Google.

Silicon Valley has all these "visionaries" saying they are "changing the world" yet they can't / won't change their own neighborhoods. The local schools should be showcases instead they are basket cases; the local communities should be healthy and thriving, but instead they are suffering from unemployment and all the other problems that communities across the country have to deal with on a daily basis.

What's the point in having these high tech giants in our midst when there is little or no advantage to the communities that surround them? They want special treatment; they want to pay little or no taxes; they would rather be a burden on their neighbors than ease the burden of others.

Re:ADD -- Billionaire Edition (5, Insightful)

Albanach (527650) | about 6 months ago | (#45081615)

There's a pattern here. They launch dozens of new products and then kill them a short time later. The roll out WiFi to their home town and then neglect it.

Advertising brings in 98% of their revenue. Everything else is just playthings for a company with too much money and no idea what to (usefully) do with it. Maybe instead of worrying about balloons in Africa you should work on the things in your own back yard..

Well, doesn't the world just owe you?

Did you read the summary? They launched this network - presumably at the cost of significant time and money - seven years ago. It worked well for over five years. Given the lead time to design, implement and get approval for this network, it may well have been designed around 2004.

I very much doubt it has been neglected if it operated well for so long. It looks like demand is now beyond the capacity of the original network and that Google is addressing this.

How on earth does this make Google a burden? And why, precisely, should they stop caring about people dying in poorer parts of the world, so you can get a better free service?

Re:ADD -- Billionaire Edition (-1, Offtopic)

hairyfeet (841228) | about 6 months ago | (#45081983)

Oh Lord save us from the libertarian wonks! if you had bothered scanning the page before blathering on about your free market bullshit, and it IS bullshit BTW as the USA has NEVER had a free market going all the way back to the patronage system and teapot dome the government has been in bed with big business, you would have seen most who live there are saying IT NEVER WORKED, you can be standing alone at 3AM right in the middle of coverage and it DOESN'T WORK, it NEVER WORKED and the few times they were ever able to get on it made dialup look speedy!

Not to mention the post you were replying to had a LOT more than just Wifi, like rampant unemployment, poverty, Google pulling a Walmart and driving smaller businesses out, ghettos growing in the shadow of FB and Google...notice you don't say a word about ANY of that. Doesn't surprise me as the far right tend to have blinders on and just gloss over those kinds of problems or say the "free market will fix it" like its done so well before when it comes to poverty. Well if you consider the top 3% getting 96% of the recovery money helping poverty I suppose it has, most would call bullshit.

Re:ADD -- Billionaire Edition (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#45082093)

In defense of at least SOME of us libertarian wonks, we know all too well about corporate welfare and how that is, indeed, the real problem we face going forward. It's not because of the welfare queens, or the drug addicts. But we also know that someone who makes $100,000 a year isn't a 1%er, not by a longshot. The problem isn't even the 1%, it's the top 1% of the top 1% that skirt all tax and financial laws and become mega-ultra-super-filthy rich at the expense of everyday people. When people scream "raise taxes on the rich" (which even as a libertarian, I agree with the sentiment...it's the definition that I disagree with), they mean some schlub and his wife who manage to pull in $120k working two jobs. Those people aren't the problem, it's the people pulling in $120M that aren't paying their fair share.

Re:ADD -- Billionaire Edition (1)

lymond01 (314120) | about 6 months ago | (#45082241)

The problem isn't even the 1%, it's the top 1% of the top 1% that skirt all tax and financial laws and become mega-ultra-super-filthy rich at the expense of everyday people. When people scream "raise taxes on the rich" (which even as a libertarian, I agree with the sentiment...it's the definition that I disagree with), they mean some schlub and his wife who manage to pull in $120k working two jobs. Those people aren't the problem, it's the people pulling in $120M that aren't paying their fair share.

Sort of. Rich people pay a lot in terms of charity, taxes, etc. Their "fair share" -- I don't see a hard percentage in the definition of fair, but someone who pulls in millions of dollars a year is likely paying out a whole lot more in donations than I ever will in my lifetime. Whatever. My problem is: how does someone wind up with that salary? A CEO is hired...by a committee, a board, whatever. And they get raises and bonuses based on the initial contract and later votes. What I'm saying is there are a lot of people on those committees who think it's just fine to pay someone millions of dollars, and give them millions of dollars in bonuses, regardless of how the company is doing or whether other people are getting raises or bonuses. Is it cronyism? Is it crazy? As part of the 99%, this is my issue more than anything else -- that the highest executives make millions of dollars a year, and increase their earnings, while others do not increase or are even laid off. Fair does have a definition -- and it isn't this.

Re:ADD -- Billionaire Edition (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#45082063)

As other people pointed out, it didn't work, ever. And even if it did GP's criticism is valid, focus is a good thing and splaying yourself around the world with internet balloons is a bad idea.

Re:ADD -- Billionaire Edition (0)

interval1066 (668936) | about 6 months ago | (#45082153)

Well, doesn't the world just owe you?

I guess I'm of the old school, when I say I'll do something, I do my level best to do it. I guess I'm not down with the new norm of "I'll deliver what I promise as long as its convienient."

Re:ADD -- Billionaire Edition (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#45082721)

They launched this network - presumably at the cost of significant time and money - seven years ago. It worked well for over five years.

As a Mountain View resident, I can tell you that Google's WiFi service has sucked balls since day one.

It has worked so poorly, I've questioned whether it was ever their attempt to provide Internet service at all, or if it was just an experiment to see how well they could track people's locations throughout the city based on which APs they tried to associate to.

Re:ADD -- Billionaire Edition (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#45082951)

I'm in Mt View as well - the only real problem with it is its capped at 1 mg. Thats deliberately set low to keep people from using it as their main access point, which it was never meant to be.

Re:ADD -- Billionaire Edition (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#45089619)

> is its capped at 1 mg

1 milligram? Could someone help me here? What is the equivalent mass of the number of WiFi photons necessary to transmit/receive one bit?

Re:ADD -- Billionaire Edition (4, Informative)

Sabbatic (3389965) | about 6 months ago | (#45082911)

Minor point, but having lived in Mountain View all this time, I missed the part where "it worked well for over five years." It never worked very well, except sometimes in a few spots.

Re:ADD -- Billionaire Edition (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#45085955)

Yep, parent is absolutely right. I've lived in Mountain View all this time too, and don't recall it working well at all with the exception of a very few spots. On the whole, it was useless to assume this wifi service existed, for all practical purposes.

Re:ADD -- Billionaire Edition (1)

pchan- (118053) | about 6 months ago | (#45086535)

As someone who lives in Mountain View, I'd like to second this post. Google WiFi has never worked well. In my experience it hardly ever worked at all. I'd be happy to be rid of it.

new Google WiFi sucks at Starbucks too (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#45087605)

A brand new Starbucks opened near me with the new Google-branded WiFi. When my cellphone was the only thing on it, it was slower than the AT&T WiFi at another nearby Starbucks is when several people on laptops are banging away.

I don't know if its because Google needs more time to make copies of my packets for their later use or if Google just cheaped out on the bandwidth, but it sucks.

Re:ADD -- Billionaire Edition (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#45085733)

The Google Defense Force has appeared!

Re:ADD -- Billionaire Edition (3, Funny)

NatasRevol (731260) | about 6 months ago | (#45081781)

Shocking that a bunch of ridiculously rich 20-somethings are self centered.

Re:ADD -- Billionaire Edition (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#45082901)

Most of the ridiculously rich people have already left. Now it is a good mix of 20-50's making a good middle class living.

Re:ADD -- Billionaire Edition (2)

JoeMerchant (803320) | about 6 months ago | (#45082999)

>What's the point in having these high tech giants in our midst when there is little or no advantage to the communities that surround them?

What a completely communist statement! Next you'll want them to start paying their fair share of taxes.

Re:ADD -- Billionaire Edition (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#45084451)

Silicon Valley towns continue to suffer from terrible public schools and broken communities. East Palo Alto is a violent urban ghetto in every sense of the definition. And its smack-dab in the heart of Silicon Valley, right next to Facebook and Google.

Thing is, my understanding is East Palo Alto has been a bad neighborhood for rather a long time. In fact the reports I've heard is East Palo Alto may have been a bad neighborhood all the way back to the 1980s (and likely further back). You're going to blame Facebook and Google for an area being bad which has been bad substantially longer than the companies have existed?

Re:ADD -- Billionaire Edition (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#45087459)

It's not the responsibility of companies to pay for schools. It's the responsibility of the people living in those communities. If the schools aren't getting enough funding, then property taxes aren't high enough.

Blame California's shitty proposition system for keeping property taxes artificially low, don't blame the companies who aren't responsible for any of this.

It never worked (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#45081439)

The summary concocts a wonderful fantasy. I live in mountain view. It doesn't work near my home, at the Caltrain station with nobody there, or on Castro. You connect and you're lucky to get an IP. If that actually works, you'll wait for a few minutes to get to your first page.

Re:It never worked (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#45081595)

same here, live in mountain view and can attest google wifi is a piece of garbage. give us google fiber, not this garbage wifi. here's a company that only knows how to take from the city, and never give back.

Re:It never worked (2)

bandy (99800) | about 6 months ago | (#45081669)

And what makes you think that Google Fiber will actually be any better? Yes, I've used the Google Free WiFi in Mountain View. It was crap. What's now known as 1X celluar data service was faster and more reliable.

Re:It never worked (1)

tji (74570) | about 6 months ago | (#45082095)

Yes, I would also like Google Fiber. But, to say they never give back is a bit harsh.. Google wireless was an attempt to give free WiFi. It sucks, and I never use it. But, it was a legitimate attempt. I'm sure they discovered that to do it right it would be prohibitively expensive, and so they let it languish. But, they're not a charity.

Re:It never worked (2)

Dishevel (1105119) | about 6 months ago | (#45082165)

The free shit you gave me for a long time now is beginning too SUCK! All you do is take from me and the free shit you give me is no longer good enough!

I really feel bad when I see how selfish and self centered the American public has become in general.

Re:It never worked (1)

tji (74570) | about 6 months ago | (#45082069)

I can confirm. There is an AP on a light post just across the street from my house. When I first moved in in 2008, I tried to use it and found it to be very poor. Trouble getting an IP, trouble authenticating. It was slow at low times. In the evening, it was unusable - I'm guessing because of overload at some point in the network.

Re:It never worked (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#45083281)

I also live in Mountain View. The interesting thing is that Google paid the city something like $12,000 per year for the right to install access points on street light poles. So even if it never worked the city came out ahead.

Re:It never worked (1)

vriemeister (711710) | about 6 months ago | (#45084569)

When I was in a one bedroom apartment in Mountain View I tried google and could never connect to it. I thought "What a pile of crap". Then I set up my own wifi router. I couldn't even connect to that from an adjacent room half the time. If you're in any sort of apartment complex all the (now old) 2GHz baby monitors and 2GHz phones absolutely killed any signal that has to go more than 30 feet or through a wall.

Re:It never worked (1)

operagost (62405) | about 6 months ago | (#45085517)

Use the 5 GHz wireless N band. Yes, this probably means buying a new router (if it says it's more than 300 Mbps, it must support 5 GHz) and WLAN card. I bought a new laptop just last year, and someone saved $1 by putting a card that only supported 2.4GHz 802.11n in it.

It used to work for me (1)

fredz (89077) | about 6 months ago | (#45084635)

One downside of free WiFi is that there is no one to call when it stops working. I live in Mountain View, and when Google WiFi first came out it was good enough that I dropped my DSL. I was very happy with it for about a year, but then it got intermittent at my house, working well on some days and not at all on others. After a few more months it wouldn't work at all from early evening until after midnight, presumably because everyone else was also trying to use it at that time. After that I switched to Comcast - they are overpriced and a pain to deal with, but at least when I call to complain that my service has failed they manage to fix it eventually.

As a side note, it always worked well a few hundred feet from my house, so I assume that the back end was working OK.

Do what colleges do (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#45081447)

Ban residents from operating their own Wifi equipment. That should reduce interference and open up spectrum.

Yes, it's illegal, but that hasn't stopped universities from banning students using their own Wifi equipment. Municipalities should just jump on that bandwagon.

Wi-FI (2)

hjf (703092) | about 6 months ago | (#45081471)

Large-scale wi-fi? I guess they should call that "that big ugly thing that just does not work". WiFi is difficult to make work properly in a big house, and they tried to make it work in a city-wide scale. I just never understoond the point of making public wi fi hotspots available for free. In 2006? Maybe. In 2013? Who uses that? 3G and 4G services have the potential to provide a much better service than a half-assed wi-fi.

And i'm just guessing here, but I'm pretty sure this is a "mesh" of AP. Back in the early 00s, WiFI meshes, or WDS, were supposed to solve all connectivity problems. People would just have a big mesh of APs that would cover from one house to another and some internet pipes here and there. Guess what? Meshes just don't work. They aren't reliable. If they are reliable, they're also unusably slow, and don't scale with hundreds of users.

If a city wants to give free internet acces, why bother deploying wi-fi? Wouldn't it be a good idea to just subsidize 3G/4G access and make it free for everyone? Before you all jump at me claiming that wi-fi is free: remember it's not. Your $30 AP can't work in outdoor conditions. Cases are expensive, heat makes the AP crash. You need to wire some of them at least. And heat also kills the APs in just a few years (just look at the Cisco outdoor APs which look nothing like toy APs. And cost thousands each). Deploying and maintaining a Wi-Fi network made of cheap APs in a mesh probably costs the same in the long run as using very expensive APs. And why throw away so much money into that? I know Mountain View city has money to spare but i'm sure there are other things where the money could be used, rather than providing "free wifi".

Re:Wi-FI (1)

laie_techie (883464) | about 6 months ago | (#45081591)

I just never understoond the point of making public wi fi hotspots available for free. In 2006? Maybe. In 2013? Who uses that? 3G and 4G services have the potential to provide a much better service than a half-assed wi-fi.

Most Americans have data-caps on their wireless plans. Our connections get faster and faster, while our quotas shrink.

Re:Wi-FI (1)

interkin3tic (1469267) | about 6 months ago | (#45081875)

Physics question: is the part of the spectrum we use for 3 and 4G inherently better at long distances than the part we use for wifi? It would make sense, but I could also see the problems you suggest being due to economies of scale and lack of R&D rather than an insurmountable problem.

(not to imply that the problems with wifi need to be insurmountable for it to make more sense just to go with 3 and 4G.)

Re:Wi-FI (1)

xtal (49134) | about 6 months ago | (#45082339)

3G systems use licensed spectrum. The power levels are much higher, they're typically in good spots for coverage, and the receive antennas are high gain (and very expensive). As nobody else is using the bands, the noise floor is very low. This represents much of their advantage.

The bruhaha over 700MHz is that it does travel very effectively through things, but this isn't always what you want for high bandwidth. More APs is better as this enables you to reuse spectrum. Further propagation increases the problems from self-interference, etc.

Re:Wi-FI (1)

tech.kyle (2800087) | about 6 months ago | (#45083603)

An accurate reply. Lower frequencies do push through physical obstruction easily, but require a large bandwidth to get any real throughput. I've dealt with some 900 MHz equipment and have had trouble getting anything more than 2 Mbps through it in in ideal situations.

Re:Wi-FI (1)

hjf (703092) | about 6 months ago | (#45084399)

Ubiquiti user here. NanoStation M900. 10mbps on a link 1km at 9m off the floor, in a city with 3-4 8-story buildings in the middle. Not bad at all.

Re:Wi-FI (1)

tech.kyle (2800087) | about 6 months ago | (#45092633)

As a Ubiquiti user as well, we haven't tried their 900 MHz offerings, but I'm starting to wish we did. I'll have to make a better push to get some in.

Re:Wi-FI (1)

chuckinator (2409512) | about 6 months ago | (#45083255)

Yes, it is. Wifi operates on the 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz unlicensed Industrial/Science/Medicine (ISM). The higher the frequency, the closer the radio horizon and the lower the tendency of the signal to penetrate through solid materials. Cellular radio tech operates on 700, 800, 850, 1700, 1900, and 2500 MHz. The higher frequency cellular tech is typically used for higher speed data links (3G, 4G), so it degrades some at farther distances than the voice links but will go back to older operating modes when necessary. Voice communication over cellular typically runs at the lower frequencies since it's considered more critical than internet traffic.

Another reason why the ISM bands (particularly 2.4 GHz) are terrible for wide area wireless communication is because they're extremely crowded. If you look at 2.4 GHz on a spectrum analyzer, it's very noisy from surrounding traffic. 5 GHz is quieter since a lot of vendors cheap out by only providing the 2.4 GHz radio chains for their hardware, but it 5 GHz also exhibits shorter long range propagation patterns over 2.4 GHz.

I live in Mountain View... (5, Informative)

HockeyPuck (141947) | about 6 months ago | (#45081545)

It's never really worked. The main downtown area, Castro Street, service is abysmal. If I can get an IP address, page load times are terrible. On the other hand, turn off the wireless on my phone and go with 4G and surfing is nice and snappy.

This was a PR stunt by Google, they were never serious about this. Or the old addage, "you get what you pay for". Given all you needed to access it was a google account, of course they're going to do the bare minimum. Conversely, with Vz/ATT, you're paying for service.

Re:I live in Mountain View... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#45081659)

adage*

Re:I live in Mountain View... (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#45081871)

My mother lives in Mountain View and I agree - Google Wi-Fi was never usable when I visited. I've tried outdoors in the middle of a park and always gave up in frustration. And people should know that it definitely doesn't work for you indoors. The gear that they recommended for getting the signal indoors was pricey too. I doubt that any businesses (E.g. cafes) invested in that, because their customers would be really frustrated trying to use it.

Or (1)

ProudParanoid (2940837) | about 6 months ago | (#45082513)

This was a PR stunt by Google, they were never serious about this. Or the old addage [sic], "you get what you pay for".
.

How about: large Internet providers losing business to free try to undermine free with an extended DOS attack. Or the old adage, "follow the money".

Re:Or (1)

Sabbatic (3389965) | about 6 months ago | (#45082935)

There's also the old adage, which too many people never manage to understand, that just because it doesn't cost the user money, that doesn't mean it's free.

Re:Or (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#45083007)

A 5 year DOS attack, that no one has noticed? Yes, that seems much more plausible than "Google PR Stunt".

Re:Or (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#45085813)

Accurate user name. You're nuts.

Re:I live in Mountain View... (1)

thetoadwarrior (1268702) | about 6 months ago | (#45083345)

A lot of Google products are half baked and don't work that well, imo. I'm guess that's why the like calling things beta because they don't have to do a great job.

Re:I live in Mountain View... (1)

Ksevio (865461) | about 6 months ago | (#45083443)

I used it around 2009 and it was great for walking around with an iPod touch. It worked best around downtown and the train stations, but even out a bit more I got good signal. Wasn't the fastest out there, but it was enough for basic browsing and google maps

Thus proving Google's inferiority! (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#45081901)

Google launched the citywide Wi-Fi network with much fanfare in 2006 as a way for Mountain View residents and businesses to connect to the Internet at no cost. It covers most of the Silicon Valley city and worked well until last year, as Slashdot readers may recall, when connectivity got rapidly worse.

There, see? That PROVES iOS is better than Android! Google failed to make a city-wide wi-fi network, so Android is a complete failure and Apple is better! Something something fragmentation blah blah race to the bottom SEE? SEE?!?/!? So everyone stop using Android now and get an iPhone plz kthx

THIS POST WAS SARCASM.

Early design that was never updated (3, Interesting)

chipperdog (169552) | about 6 months ago | (#45082101)

It looks like their system was based on Topos MetroMesh in-band mesh backhaul, so someone using 1Mbps on one access point is tying up 1Mbps on multiple APs. This was at a time when 256 Kbps could have been considered "high speed". Not sure how many APs are connected to a fiber/copper/microwave backhaul, I guessing just a few to cut costs, but it would seem to me that as many APs as possible should have an out of band backhaul (ideally fiber to every AP)...Also APs antenna/RF might have to be tuned down to reduce coverage and a higher density of APs is likely needed with the increased usage - or multiple APs with sector antennas ( 3 x 120 degree, or 6 x 60 degree) are placed at locations instead of single AP with omnis - I'm thinking something LIKE the Ubiquiti NanoStations [ubnt.com] could be placed around a light pole to act as combination AP and 60 degree sector antenna and be more ascetically pleasing than the box with whips attached found right now, electronics to feed the NSs could fit inside most poles at the base, or in a small box near the AP/Antennas.

Re:Early design that was never updated (1)

tech.kyle (2800087) | about 6 months ago | (#45083313)

Sectors on a tower going down to specialized hardware for the client is the typical WISP setup. NanoStations don't have much of an E-plane and must be carefully aligned, not to mention the integrated antenna has relatively poor attenuation (a NanoStation Loco shoots a 40-60 degree cone, but has even worse attenuation). A more common setup would be a Ubiquiti Rocket with an external sector going to 802.11 compatible clients (be it another high-power, long-range 802.11 device or a regular ol' laptop/phone).

Re:Early design that was never updated (1)

chipperdog (169552) | about 6 months ago | (#45084127)

That's why I emphasized the word like...Although the antenna performance is better, the rocket plus traditional sector antenna might be an overwhelming size for the typical street light, the NS and LOCO are a size where neighbors might not complain about the "junk" on the pole....I did see someone present once on a saucer shaped access point unit [xirrus.com] that was actually 12 (?) access points with tight sectors...If they have an outdoor version that could sit on the pole top...

Re:Early design that was never updated (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#45086055)

...ascetically pleasing...

Assuming you didn't mean aesthetically pleasing, I find that ascetics prefer the el-cheapo crap router in a fake tupperware approach.

There are some I know of (powered by battered, squirrel-gnawed cheap extension cords that look more third-world than you can imagine) that have been running for five or six years now, sloppily tied to tree limbs. Despite numerous claims that this is impossible.

The only reason to buy fancy outdoor routers is for their relatively classy appearance.

must be ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#45082727)

all that snooping and logging going on that's slowing things down.

WISP (1)

tech.kyle (2800087) | about 6 months ago | (#45083237)

As an employee of a WISP, the 2.4 GHz public band is horridly congested. 5.8 GHz isn't as bad, but you need near-perfect line of sight. Next one up is 24GHz which is too expensive to implement at this time.

Mesh networks suffer from throughput issues as each packet needs to take up extra air time to be retransmitted X number of times. Even the good 5.8 GHz implementations peak out at about 300 Mbps half-duplex (~150 Mbps actual IP transport), assuming very high RSSI (read: expensive equipment), shared among all clients.

Re:WISP (1)

chipperdog (169552) | about 6 months ago | (#45084013)

Have you every used 3.65 GHz? Licensing is pretty easy (when the FCC is open again), and one would think it would be less congested,

Re:WISP (1)

tech.kyle (2800087) | about 6 months ago | (#45092547)

We use it for important links, in congested (urban) areas, or, of course, when we need a really good SNR to keep modulation high. I'm not involved in the licensing process, but I don't know why we don't use it more often.

never worked for me (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#45083609)

I worked in mountain view for 2 1/2 years. Never got the google wifi to work, not even once. The ssid shows up everywhere as well as strong signal, but it nevA worked

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