Availability of Connectivity via WiFi

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Availability of Connectivity via WiFi
GCTC logo 344x80.png
SchoolBusHotspot.jpg
School Buses Become Wi-Fi Hot Spots
Team Organizations Wireless
Connectivity COVID-19 Task Force
Team Leaders Benny Lee
David Witkowski
City, State San Leandro CA
San Mateo CA
Arizona
Arkansas
Georgia
Maine
Mississippi
North Carolina
Ohio
New Jersey
Vermont
Wisconsin
Contributors Benny Lee
David Witkowski
Website
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Description

During the COVID-19 pandemic some local governments and companies have made progress through publishing online and through physical postings to map WiFi Hotspots.

Publication of Wi-Fi sites

The lists and URLs below provide excellent examples of online and printable maps of Wi-Fi site facilities. Local governments can quickly compile these maps with an inhouse GIS mapping service or even leverage Google Maps / Google Earth to produce maps with locations within their jurisdictions.

  • Local government publication of GIS maps of Wi-Fi sites
  • Statewide publication of GIS maps of Wi-Fi sites
  • Vendor publication of Wi-Fi
  • National Organizations with Hotspot listings
  • Notes:
    • Caveat on Public Wi-Fi: Most of these networks are open SSID, and should be considered insecure. Open SSIDs are also subject to “man in the middle” attacks. End-to-end or end-to-server encryption (VPN, SSH, etc.) is needed for use on open SSID networks, but this is beyond the skill set of most end users. Education about safe open Wi-Fi use is needed.
    • IMPORTANT: While using Public Wi-Fi, to protect your privacy and your device, best practices are to use a reputable Virtual Private Network (VPN) software, turn off ports on your device, and never transmit sensitive data such as bank account information and identification numbers. Public Wi-Fi may not be secure from eavesdropping and other compromising activities. When in doubt, seek trusted advice.

Local Governments with Wireless Connectivity Delivery Systems

Some local governments have implemented advanced wireless systems to easily allow high-speed connectivity between sites that have line of site. Other services implemented could also leverage commercial grade mobile carrier-based Wi-Fi devices which leverages enhanced technology to produce a high-speed cellular signal to provide connectivity.

  • Wireless Connectivity Delivery Systems
    • Base Station Technologies with CPE (Customer Premise Equipment):
      • Millimeter-wave wireless base stations installed at a high elevation location and has line of sight within a 5 kilometer radius to receiving devices. These systems can deliver high-speed connectivity to CPEs that are attached to Wi-Fi wireless access point. Most of the millimeter wave base stations perform optimally delivering throughput of greater than 100Mbps performance with each receiving devices but are limited to just a few to several CPEs.
      • CBRS (Citizens Broadband Radio Service) base stations which leverages the 3.5ghz band 14 dedicated cellular based signal. This is similar to the millimeter wave base stations in that the deliver signals to CPEs and have performance of 100 to 150 Mbps shared with CPEs within a 5 kilometer range; the difference with CBRS is that the limits of CPEs number up to 100 making this the most scalable solution; albeit, with just 100 to 150 Mbps to be shared.
    • Mobile Carrier-Based Wi-Fi Devices:
      • Mobile Hotspot Devices which is a device that provides Wi-Fi through a cellular service.
      • A commercial grade version of the mobile carrier based Wi-Fi devices have been available in the market for a few years. This technology is basically a Wi-Fi Wireless Access Point with two or more built-in SIM slots to accommodate mobile carrier services. These devices have multiple high-gain antennas to strengthen the carrier signals and the two or more SIM slots allow for using different carriers to ensure fault tolerant redundancy should one carrier signal become unreliable.