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Lincoln, Neb., fires up free municipal Wi-Fi network

Thu, 05/22/2014 - 1:11pm
Brian Santo

Lincoln, Neb., has switched on an outdoor public Wi-Fi access service built with equipment from Ruckus Wireless.

Lincoln Free WiFi is currently available in and around a downtown park (Bill Harris Iron Horse Park) in the city’s Haymarket area. The city plans to extend the service throughout its Haymarket and Railyard areas.

Ruckus Smart Wi-Fi access points (APs) are mounted on city-owned assets and are connected by gigabit fiber connections.

NebraskaLink is providing a 1-gigabit network connection to support the project. Commonwealth Electric, the City's fiber optic contractor, donated the installation of the fiber optic network.

The pilot project grew out of the 2013 Lincoln Technology Improvement District (LTID), a partnership between the City and private broadband providers to upgrade the fiber network in the central business district.

David Young, the City's Fiber Infrastructure and Right of Way Manager, said Ruckus Wireless was chosen for the project after extensive testing because its patented technology provides more stable and higher-speed connections than conventional Wi-Fi technology.

Ruckus Smart Wi-Fi is able to adapt Wi-Fi signals to changing environmental conditions to ensure more stable and higher speed wireless connections to Wi-Fi enabled devices, the company said.

Ruckus Wireless said the partnership is delivering the first cloud-based municipal public Wi-Fi access service using the Ruckus Smart Access Management service.

Ruckus is providing similar Wi-Fi service in San Francisco and San Jose.

"Our long-term goal is to make Lincoln one of the most connected cities in the nation,” Chris Beutler, the mayor of Lincoln, NE said.  “Access to wireless technology in our public spaces for use by residents, visitors and even businesses is becoming an expectation.  This public-private partnership gives residents and visitors a reliable Wi-Fi connection in one of the most exciting areas of our community.  It’s the first step in our initiative to expand the service to more of the Railyard, Haymarket and West Haymarket area.  It also lays the foundation for future wireless connectivity projects.”

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