Chaska, Minnesota citywide mesh wireless broadband network

Chaska, Minnesota is deploying a citywide wireless broadband network for use by residents, as well as municipal and public safety employees. Wireless broadband service will be offered through Chaska.net, the city-owned ISP, which was formed five years ago to bring broadband to local schools. The city has 18,000 residents (7,500 households) and will be charging about $16 per month forChaska, Minnesota is deploying a citywide wireless broadband network for use by residents, as well as municipal and public safety employees. Wireless broadband service will be offered through Chaska.net, the city-owned ISP, which was formed five years ago to bring broadband to local schools. The city has 18,000 residents (7,500 households) and will be charging about $16 per month for access (1 Mbps symmetrical).

What’s interesting is that the police department will be using the same network for their applications. I am curious to know how they will secure the police department’s communications and databases from unauthorized access. The city also plans to provide building inspectors and public works employees with Wi-Fi enabled devices to do their work from remote locations.

The city is using 200 Wi-Fi cells from Tropos Networks to cover the entire 16 square miles (41 square kilometers) of the city. The first phase of the project — installing 50 Tropos Wi-Fi cells covering four square miles (10 square kilometers) — has already been completed. Chaska.net will use city fiber and fixed point-to-multipoint wireless technology for its backhaul connections.

Also involved in the project is First Mile Wireless, a reseller and integrator of wireless network solutions. First Mile provided consulting, RF engineering and support services.

***Update***

Read an interview with the Chaska IT manager. Basically it cost the city $800,000 to build with approximately $600,000 for the mesh network and $100,000 for the fiber. The private sector donated services.

Comments

  1. I think the bigger piece not laid out when sharing a municipal public access WiFi network with law enforcement is QoS. The security of the law enforcement data is not an issue – PADCOM or NetMotion can solve that easily with wireless VPN. The bigger issue is the ability to prioritize law enforcement traffic on a WiFi mesh system. It is not being done right now, but we understand that Tropos will offer it shortly. FYI New Orleans uses Tropos for public safety/surveillance camera WiFi networks.

  2. I am interested in how this project and others like it may have been justified from an economic development standpoint. For example, what are the estimates of how this effects the attractiveness of the community for new business. Obviously it would be positive. Just interested in any studies or numbers that anyone has… email contact@newmindgroup.com… Thanks

    NewmindGroup

  3. Wi-Fi Planet has more information about the Chaska project. Go to http://www.wi-fiplanet.com/columns/article.php/3369331. Interesting tidbits: cost of deployment is $480,000 but it would have been about $750,000 if the city did not already have a fiber and wireless backbone. Two business models: (1) if Chaska reached 1400 subscribers at a rate of 200 new subscribers per month, the network would pay for itself in four years but (2) if they got to 2,000 subscribers at the same rate, the network would pay for itself in 3 years.

    They expect to exceed 2000 subscribers.