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About WiFi

WiFi (IEEE 802.11b) is a standard protocol for local-area wireless data networks, at speeds of up to 11 megabits per second. A WiFi network typically involves an access point or "hotspot" directly connected to the Internet, through which users within range can send and receive data. Networks can be established in homes, in high-traffic spaces such as coffee shops and airports, or outdoors. Many laptop computers today come with WiFi radios built in, or you can purchase an inexpensive add-in card. Open Park's access points can be used for free by anyone who has a WiFi compatible device. You can learn more about WiFi at these sites:


Wi-Fi Alliance overview page

Wired Magazine special "UnWired" report (May 2003)

About Unlicensed Wireless

WiFi uses the unlicensed 2.4 Gigahertz frequency band. In this band, anyone can deploy a transmitter or receiver subject to certain power limitations. There is no need to pay a service provider or spectrum licensee. This open market allows many competitors to build WiFi devices, spurring innovation and rapid price improvements.


The success of WiFi illustrates the potential of unlicensed wireless communication. New technologies such as ultra-wideband, smart antennas, mesh networking, and software radios could further take advantage of unlicensed spectrum to increase capacity and make wireless connectivity more broadly available. However, virtually all wireless frequencies today are still subject to exclusive licenses.


The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) is considering steps that would increase available unlicensed spectrum. Open Park intends to create a wireless testbed on the National Mall to demonstrate the potential of emerging technologies using unlicensed spectrum.


FCC Spectrum Policy Task Force

Greg Staple & Kevin Werbach, The End of Spectrum Scarcity (IEEE Spectrum, March 2004)

Kevin Werbach, Radio Revolution (New America Foundation Working Paper, December 2003)


The 2004 Campaign

The 2004 Campaign: Bush and Kerry on WiFi and Unlicensed Spectrum On June 24, 2004, the Bush Administration and Senator Kerry's campaign released important new statements regarding their plans for managing the nation's radio spectrum. Bush and Kerry also talked about the benefits of expanding public access to WiFi and other broadband wireless services.


For details click here.


Public WiFi Services

In recent years, community groups, local governments and Indian reservations have begun installing WiFi systems. There are now public WiFi services across America from New York City to Portland, Oregon and from Cerritos, California to to Athens, Georgia. To keep up on these and other WiFi developments, visit http://wifinetnews.com and http://www.wi-fiplanet.com. News about publicly financed WiFi systems can also be found here: http://www.muniwireless.com/reports/. Commentary on Philadelphia's recently announced plans for a city-wide WiFi network can also be found here: http://www.thefeature.com/article?articlei...hia&ref=4436589.


You may also want to visit the sites of these community groups:

New York City Wireless - http://nycwireless.net

Personal Telco (Portland) - http://www.personaltelco.net

Austin Wireless City - http://www.austinwirelesscity.org




Copyright © 2004 The Open Park Project. All Rights Reserved.

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