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Thorpe

join:2012-05-29
Kosciusko, MS

Meraki for ad based wifi in small town + business plan

So I'm learning as much as I can but still a green Horne no doubt.
I'm sure this has been done before I hope to get some good feedback.

My thought was supplying free Internet to our small town or at least the busiest spots of it anyway. Total population is about 7500 and the city limits are about 5 miles across.

Say I used the meraki system And to avoid their cut for the billing system and to get cheaper equipment cost i offer free ad based wifi at a reduced speed.

Then I build a custom home /splash screen with categories and links to our local businesses only. Kind of a one stop shop for our town. Hopefully to encourage more web presence from our town.

To help offset the cost and hopefully profit, I sell the local businesses ads for around 150-200 month. That's cheaper than our local radio station by far.
If a business is willing to buy equipment to help grow our service then they get unrestricted/ad free, access and an ad at a reduced price but not free since that's where the only income comes from.

Also for anyone in residential areas who wants to be ad free, they buy equipment that I can branch to/from, I give them unrestricted/ ad free access.

I have a lot of connections with the city and development authority and could most likely swing some support from the town.

We have a local news website that charges $100 month for a small banner ad and ther are usually 12 or more active ads.
I hope to bring in much more traffic than the news site since Facebook has become our "real" news source.

We have 4 neighboring small towns that do a lot of advertising in our town so I would hope to tap into that and maybe try the same there later.

I really see this as close to the same thing as radio. It's free you just have to listen to ads along the way. At least this way you get to pick the songs along the way.



WHT

join:2010-03-26
Rosston, TX
kudos:5

That's going to be hard to pay for 700 to 1,000 radios.

/edit
For the full 25 square miles.

Meraki estimate almost 2 miles between nodes, but you indoor laptop range would be under 500 feet.


Thorpe

join:2012-05-29
Kosciusko, MS
reply to Thorpe

So is the meraki the problem or the idea?
They just make it sound so great on the site.

I don't expect to cover every square mile unless the city foots a huge chunk of the bill.

But I could focus on downtown square, apartments, hotels, coliseum and maybe the hospital for alot of our spending population. Then branch out from there.



treichhart

join:2006-12-12
reply to Thorpe

I would go with Ubnt stuff for half the cost of the Meraki setup!!!


SipSizzurp
Fo' Shizzle
Premium
join:2005-12-28
Houston, TX
kudos:4

4 edits
reply to Thorpe

Whatever you decide to use for access points, the range will have a limitation equal to that of your anticipated client devices. As was previously mentioned, this alone may become cost prohibitive. A typical client device in a small town with mostly 1 story wooden structures would have a connection range of about 1/2 mile to a good quality Uniquity access point. Keep your access points no further than 1/4 mile apart for really decent service. I've got something similar in operation, so I speak from even more than just the massive amount of RF theory I happen to be endowed with.

Edit - By far, your biggest expense and complication will be the captive portal / authentication / advertizing server. Don't even think about radios / access points until you get the server part well figured out. Unless you have a generous rich uncle, your entire plan is already doomed.

--
I feel more like I do now than when I first got here.


wirelessdog

join:2008-07-15
Queen Anne, MD
kudos:1
reply to Thorpe

Tried before by many and failed...


raytaylor

join:2009-07-28
kudos:1
reply to Thorpe

avoid meraki

In fact avoid mesh

You should have a high site with a 5ghz ap
Then down below on streetlamps or buildings, you should have a 5ghz reciever, with a 2.4ghz AP for the end users to connect to.

If you need to use mesh, come up with a routing plan so that you can use microtik routers at each ap site, and just have a 5ghz ring, with 2.4 ap's

Dont overbuild - start off by offering coverage in public places such as parks and your central business district.

oh and most importantly - avoid meraki



John Galt
Forward, March
Premium
join:2004-09-30
Happy Camp
kudos:8

said by raytaylor:

Dont overbuild - start off by offering coverage in public places such as parks and your central business district.

Sage advice...


WHT

join:2010-03-26
Rosston, TX
kudos:5
reply to Thorpe

said by Thorpe:

So is the meraki the problem or the idea?
They just make it sound so great on the site.

Of course they will make it look so great, but the problem is indoor laptops and smartphones need to be within a few hundred feet of the AP. They don't make that clear.

So many municipal wireless projects neglected this inconvenient fact of limited laptop indoor coverage...and failed, miserably.


DaDawgs
Premium
join:2010-08-02
Deltaville, VA
reply to WHT

said by WHT:

That's going to be hard to pay for 700 to 1,000 radios.

/edit
For the full 25 square miles.

Meraki estimate almost 2 miles between nodes, but you indoor laptop range would be under 500 feet.

Meraki is bullshite in that regard. There is absolutely no way their stuff will do that kind of distance unless it is pure line of sight over water.
--
Once we IPv6 enable every device on the Internet we will have toasters, baby monitors, and security cameras joining the bot nets which today are populated only by idiots that can not refrain from clicking, "Yes I would like to see those titties..."


DaDawgs
Premium
join:2010-08-02
Deltaville, VA
reply to Thorpe

If the business model worked, it would have been done.

The reason that Meraki works in San Francisco is very simple, people join the network and make their DSL circuits available to the world at no charge, lots of people.


wirelessdog

join:2008-07-15
Queen Anne, MD
kudos:1
reply to Thorpe

I guess that is the cool part about Meraki. Self healing, ability to use multiple gateways, plug and play...


25139889

join:2011-10-25
Toledo, OH
reply to WHT

don't forget the monthly cost of the portal, etc. They charge a monthly fee for EACH radio/AP.


25139889

join:2011-10-25
Toledo, OH
reply to wirelessdog

Open Mesh does the same thing.

So does wifirush.com


25139889

join:2011-10-25
Toledo, OH
reply to raytaylor

Mesh could be done. I know a company that does it over an entire city. Works fine. but they're network is not a typical "mesh".

They back haul the APs to towers spread around to obtain the best service for them. Its like every 20 or so APs have a radio that is for backhaul only. That's the way mesh should be done to work.



John Galt
Forward, March
Premium
join:2004-09-30
Happy Camp
kudos:8
reply to Thorpe

A performance oriented mesh system will have at least three radios, one on the local access channel (B/G) and two on the backbone (A).

The processor will need to be robust, as it has to handle the traffic of the other nodes in addition to its own.

Needless to say, there are costs associated with such a system.

Single radio/band store-and-forward nodes can give access, but at the price of performance. They are far less capable than the multi-radio solutions.
--
»www.archive.org/details/Meatpies_1984


jcremin

join:2009-12-22
Siren, WI
kudos:2

said by John Galt:

Single radio/band store-and-forward nodes can give access, but at the price of performance.

And and the price of being able to use different frequencies.

Thorpe

join:2012-05-29
Kosciusko, MS
reply to Thorpe

Ok so this thing has moved in a different direction that might be even better.

The city contracted to have wifi installed on our downtown square.
It is now open and free to the public.

They are looking to branch out to the rest of the city.
They are negotiating with a contractor that is only responsible for installation and maintenance.

The city will be looking to for the ISP elsewhere.

This is where my idea fits in. I provide internet to the city at a greatly reduced cost, with the agreement that I have control over the city's Splash page.

I have been talking with them and trying to come to an agreement.

The way I see it, this cuts down on my overhead considerably, yet still gets exactly what I originally was hoping to offer:

Free internet to the public with ad based splash page.

Am I missing any set backs here?


Chele

join:2003-07-23
kudos:1
reply to Thorpe

You will normally have the following obstacles:
Wireless topology
Authentication
AP locations/density
routing
bandwidth (amount and pricing)
tech support (just because it's free, doesn't mean people won't call to bitch about their WLAN card acting up!)

The order of the list will vary greatly based on which is your weakest area! Someone could give you a working network with great locations and yet you're screwed if you don't have bandwidth. Mesh itself is not the bad guy, it's the way it's implemented. We have a modified MESH network that has been working really well for years. We have also gone to repair Mesh networks and modified them from a true(screwed up) Mesh to a hybrid, where you add PtP within the Mesh.


Thorpe

join:2012-05-29
Kosciusko, MS

Thanks ,

Ok if the system is in place, all I do is provide the connection. So my main concern will be primarily bandwidth,correct?

I will not be the one handling the mesh or Ap. on provide service to the city.

Read my last post for newest info



Thorpe 2

@myvzw.com
reply to Chele

Thanks ,

Ok if the system is in place, all I do is provide the connection. So my main concern will be primarily bandwidth,correct?

I will not be the one handling the mesh or Ap. on provide service to the city.

Read my last post for newest info


staregazer

join:2006-12-15
Reviews:
·Frontier Communi..

Then you are at their mercy relying on them and you are not aware of how well or quick they will handle their problems or how well their network will work and it is out of your hands if there are some problems. There is good and bad in not having control of the radios.



viperm
Carpe Diem
Premium
join:2002-07-09
Winchester, CA
reply to Thorpe

The city is not going to go for you having "control" of thier splash page. They are not going to want ad's for who knows what on their splash page.

I know I would not want that because you are offering them reduced rate internet? The city will most likely be able to get their own internet from an ISP cheaper then you would, as they are a municipality and most the time places such as Time warner, level 3 etc offer reduced rates.
--
»www.accelwireless.com
ComTrain Certified Tower Climber.
Wireless and IT consultant.
Proficient in Mikrotik