Entries Tagged as 'metrofi'

Portland MetroFi and Coverage

We keep seeing reports of “Metrofi is roughly 30% complete in covering Portland,” but is that really the right number? Even though numerous reports say you should deploy at least 35 nodes per square mile, MetroFi took the low-end number of 25. While I’m not sure who came up with that number considering the gear used, terrain, etc., they still stuck with 25 per square mile. Regardless of what the reasons are, and most will point to cost, the fact remains that you are not going to get your 95% coverage as MetroFi were contracted out to achieve.

We can agree this is not an exact science, but I will say this: telling the media you are ~30% complete in covering the city is incorrect. MetroFi only deployed ~550 nodes throughout Portland, and Portland is 134 square miles (less major parks like Forest Park). If you do the math, even by using their deployment number of 25 per square mile, that’s only 16.4% coverage. Meanwhile, at what “experts” have suggested (35/mile), that’s only 11.7%.

Even though nobody seems aware on what they’re basing the coverage on, and what areas are considered “Portland” and “worth covering”, it’s nowhere near 30% complete. The MANY complaints people have mentioned regarding overall usability, and mostly those outside buildings, should not be surprising at all.

Everyone has their own definition of the word “coverage”, but the residents of Portland have a different definition than MetroFi.

Hopefully people can take this opportunity to create community networks in their respective neighborhoods.

Oh and one more thing… Sorry for beating a dead horse!


A recent story about a wifi project in the small town of Philomath, Oregon was noticed by MuniWireless, but in the process they appear to have veered off the road of comprehension. The original story, published in the Corvallis Gazette-Times notes in its first sentence:

A local high tech company is working to provide limited wireless Internet service throughout the city of Philomath for free, possibly by next year.

Reading a bit further:

Internet users could access e-mail accounts, the city’s home page and other local business and information sites [...] Locals would need to pay to receive full Internet access.

Now, that sounds perfectly clear. As a reader, I have an immediate understanding of at least the broad outlines of how the network would work. It is pretty close to one of the early ideas of a “walled-garden” model for the Unwire Portland project. I see that as pretty distinct from the Free that Personal Telco nodes provide, and even pretty distinct from the ad-supported “Free” that MetroFi provides. MuniWireless doesn’t seem to draw the same distinction. In the first few sentences of their reference, we read this:

Free Wi-Fi comes to Philomath, Oregon
A local company in Philomath, Oregon, expects to offer free Wi-Fi services to residents next year.

Now, they go on to describe the actual deal, which gets us back to the “walled garden” description, but conflating that with “Free” just seems weird to me. So much so, that I thought it was worth submitting a comment, which thus far (about 24 hours later) has not been approved:

Carol, your use of the word “free” here is an odd choice. The english language is filled with perfectly good words that could have described that network, but to use “free” completely debases what “free” should mean. If the Philomath network is “free wifi”, then I don’t see why a network that provides a DHCP resolution without a credit card or a login shouldn’t be labelled “free” as well. It amounts to about the same thing. There *are* free wifi networks. I’d be a lot happier if you reserved your use of “free” for those.