Thanks to a wireless network designed, surveyed and installed by Intermec Technologies Professional Services, anyone in Long Beach, California with a laptop or Microsoft Windows Pocket PC-equipped personal digital assistant with an 802.11b wireless radio card can connect to the Internet for free, courtesy of the city's new Downtown Wireless Internet District.
The weather-proof Intermec MobileLAN 2100 wireless access points, based on the Wi-FiTM 802.11b networking standard, provide a broadband connection to a centrally located switch at speeds up to 11Mbps. In comparison, an average dial-up connection runs at approximately 54Kbps.
To access the system, users simply open their Internet browser, which will automatically load a portal site for Long Beach's Pine Avenue Hot Zone. Users then can check e-mail, download fi les or just surf--all at speeds up to 50 times faster than with a standard dial-up connection. The Wireless Internet District, which can accommodate hundreds of users simultaneously, encompasses several blocks in Long Beach's downtown core, an area of restaurants and retail shops popular with visitors and business travelers. Future plans include extending the wireless network to the convention center, marina area and the Long Beach Airport . The wireless network is designed to allow users to roam throughout the District without losing connectivity. For example, a user may be downloading a presentation while finishing a cup of coffee at a local café.
With the network's roaming capability, there's no need to wait for the file transfer to be complete before heading down the street to do some shopping. To ensure this seamless coverage, Intermec conducted a site survey to determine optimum placement for the access points and antennas to maximize the range and speed of the network.
"We wanted to make sure that we provided easy, hassle-free connectivity with no gaps or dead spots," said Bruce Mayes, project manager for the Long Beach wireless HotZone. "Intermec’s expertise in wireless network design was one of the keys to making that happen. And since the MobileLAN 2100D is designed to withstand harsh environments, we know people will be able to rely on the wireless network even on the rare days when it rains in Long Beach."
"Intermec has 20 years experience designing and installing mission-critical wireless networks for high-traffic outdoor and industrial environments," said Pam Cory, Intermec vice president of systems marketing. "Public wireless network access is becoming a Main Street phenomenon. Intermec is proud to have been selected by the City of Long Beach to help it fulfill this exciting vision.”