07 Mar Madison's downtown wireless network almost ready
Madison, Wis. — A downtown wireless network called Mad City Broadband that will cover the area around the Capitol is almost ready to go live. Cellnet, a firm in Atlanta, Georgia, is building the system and will sell bandwidth to Internet service providers.
Cisco announced that its Aironet 1500 access points and other wireless equipment were being used in the job, the first stage of which is expected to be finished this month. It’s not quite as impressive as the press release and some news reports made it sound, though. The initial wireless network will cover a 10-square-mile area – not a 10-mile radius from the Capitol, which would easily have blanketed the city, the airport and parts of Middleton and Fitchburg.
Coverage for phase one of the network includes the downtown isthmus area as well as part of the east and west sides of Madison, stretching to the Alliant Energy Center to the south. The airport will also be covered.
This deployment includes 150 access points, Cisco said, and is a mesh network, meaning that some of the access points are not connected to a landline, but actually relay wireless signals from one point to another. That saves on wiring costs. Cisco competes in the space with specialized companies such as BelAir Networks and Tropos Networks. The Aironet 1500 was officially released last November.
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