Carl Blume

By Caron Carlson  |  Posted 2006-01-02 Print this article Print

Carl Blume, Colubris Networks

How does the Boston Main Streets deployment differ from other municipal Wi-Fi projects Colubris has provided equipment for?

The business models are a little bit different. A project we did at the Resort Municipality of Whistler [in British Columbia] was to bring up a service that could be offered as a per-user fee service, whereas the Boston project is open. Bostons objective was to promote greater foot traffic within the commercial zone. From the equipment providers perspective, what that means is that you have to have equipment that can be customized to whatever business model is being deployed.

What equipment is deployed in each public access zone?

[Colubris] MSC-3300 multiservice controller is installed at a central location. It has an access point installed in it as well as the access control function, which does things like authentication and providing the ad page. There are two other access points, typically [Colubris] MAP-330 with dual radios installed on other buildings.

How did you design a network to cover the whole commercial district of the neighborhood with just one connection?

We had to find a way to distribute the signal from a central point where the Internet connection was present. To do that, we used a wireless distribution system [WDS], which is a way of carrying an Internet signal to multiple access points wirelessly.

We installed our access controller in the location where the Internet connection was present. It is a dual radio unit—one radio provides client access to the service, and the other radio is used to create the WDS connections to other points within the village. There are two other access points installed in other buildings determined by their location so that the entire village is blanketed by signal.

What advantages do you consider your system to offer over mesh networking?

One of the things that customers like about our solution is that the WDS links provide very predictable performance. Mesh can be less predictable when youve got one radio. Dual radios allow you to maintain full performance right out to the clients. Some of the mesh projects on the market have only one radio, and the radio has to do double duty.

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