Monday, April 02, 2007

Customer premises equipment

For customers who are having a difficult time connecting to the Brownsburg Connected wireless network, or who can connect but experience unsatisfactory performance, additional WiFi hardware may be the answer.

First, let us review some of the potential problems.

First, WiFi (802.11b) operates in an *extremely* crowded spectrum. There are literally thousands of devices in Brownsburg (and everywhere else for that matter) cluttering up the 2.4ghz band, from cordless phones to bluetooth mobile devices to microwave ovens to the hundreds and hundreds of laptops and home wireless networks.

Most laptops already have a built-in wifi adapter. Low-cost PCI and USB adapters are available for desktop computers. These adapters are of varying quality and performance, but they are almost universally low-power devices. They can work great on local home and office wireless networks, but may not have the power to transmit through the noise to a municipal antenna on a tower several hundred feet away (or more, much more). In addition, laptops and desktops are placed where it makes sense to get your work done, not where it makes sense to transmit and receive radio signals. This often means down low, behind several walls, trees, etc. Things that are generally detrimental to radio signal propagation.

The solution? Purpose built hardware, placed in the optimal location. Several reasonably priced products exist that promise superior performance in a municipal wireless environment. Combine one of these products with an optimal location, such as an upstairs window, or mounted on the roof, and your signal strength and quality should be much improved.

Over the next several weeks I will be testing some of these products and posting the results on this blog. Let me know if you have any questions or if there is anything particular you'd like covered in these reviews.

All the usual disclaimers apply. Your mileage may vary. Radio performance, especially in the crowded 2.4ghz band is difficult to predict.



At 14/4/07 1:55 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

When will the tower inside the race track be installed?

At 16/4/07 7:46 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

When will the tower at Airport Road and 267 be installed?

At 22/4/07 2:23 PM , Blogger Moving Target Technologies said...

Some answers:

- "Race Track", by this I assume you mean O'Reilly Raceway Park. We were hoping to get some antennas located inside the park last year but the town wasn't able to come to an agreement with them. But, we are optimistic we'll be able to work something out this spring/summer and get some antennas there to help provide wifi and wireless coverage.

- Airport Road & 267, this location will get an antenna either from a light pole antenna or via a SCADA tower. A light pole antenna solution is dependent upon a pending agreement opportunity with Duke Energy to allow the town to mount antennas on their poles. We will eventually be putting antennas on most if not all of the SCADA locations, but timing is dependent upon solutions worked out with other groups in town such as the water department, police dept, and fire dept.

Thanks for the questions!

Andy Hall

At 23/4/07 11:53 AM , Anonymous Keith said...

One avenue I would like explored is a range of wireless bridge and antenna equipment that a residential home user could use to communucate with the access point through one's home network.

In my particular case, I seem to be right at the edge of the coverage area of one of the antennas (appro 2500 feet). I would like to find a antenna/bridge combo that would allow me to connect without a lot of buying and returning of equipment to experiment. Current wireless cards in my computer does not contact the tower from where I am at (distance is the culprit, I'm sure).


At 25/4/07 11:27 AM , Blogger Matt said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

At 25/4/07 12:42 PM , Blogger Matt said...

Here are the links, in case they got cut off:

Senao NUB-362 USB adapter
Buffalo WLI-TX4-G54HP
Ruckus MetroFlex


- Matt

At 2/5/07 2:02 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

How much was the start up cost to your city?

The BG Mayor is spending 1.2Million dollars, For the start up but leting an outside company run it.
Is this the way you are doing It?
Also after the upfront cost how long before you are exspected to get your return?

At 18/5/07 3:33 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

It seems like this project is moving at a snails pace with little news available to discern what the next steps are in the project. Is there any readily available source for information on the time line for making this project realize its potential?

At 18/5/07 10:45 PM , Blogger Moving Target Technologies said...

The project has indeed moved at a snails pace, admittedly. The process of getting approval and contracts for placing antennas has been the issue. It took 3 months to get a contract completed with the school corporation to put antennas on their property (although they were very helpful and cooperative, very good relationship there), it took between 2 -3 months to get a contract with the Brownsburg Fire Territory to put antennas on their towers (that relationship has since greatly improved, we are working together very well now), it took about a month to get agreement from the parks department to place antennas. The next big and by far and away most important agreement we need is with Duke Energy.
We have been working on getting that agreement for almost 6 months now. When that agreement is in place, we will be able to start proliferating antennas throughout the town very quickly - parks, streets, major thoroughfares, neighborhoods, business areas, etc.

Because of the extremely low budget we have for this project, we are unable to build towers everywhere and even if we could, we would still need some cooperation from Duke Energy to get antennas at street level via power distribution poles and light poles. We have an office full of equipment and antennas that are waiting to be deployed and put up into service. Our hands are and have been tied due to waiting on getting these contract/agreements in place. It's been very painful for us to move at this pace.

We are working our butts off to get this implemented as fast as possible. I live in this town and have all of my life. I have great pride in it and want this to be a success for us all. I only want the best for our little town.

Thanks for asking, I appreciate it.

Andy Hall


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