Blogging from the 2007 MW conference: Burbank utility’s innovative muni Wi-Fi network

The city of Burbank, California (pop. 100,000) has a very interesting model for municipal wireless networks, thanks to the Burbank Water and Power utility. The network goes beyond just reading meters; rather the utility is using it to help customers save money and conserve energy.The city of Burbank, California (pop. 100,000) has a very interesting model for municipal wireless networks, thanks to the Burbank Water and Power utility. The partner in this project is SmartSynch. The network goes beyond just reading meters; rather, the utility is using it to help customers save money and conserve energy. By installing Wi-Fi nodes, the utility will provide customers with Wi-Fi access in their homes.

Important points made at the session: Nodes per square mile is an outdated way to plan a network, use the utility’s GIS/GPS data to plan network node placement, be prepared to deploy whatever is necessary to provide adequate coverage. They will use the fiber network owed by the utility (note: many munis and utilities already have some fiber).

Stages of the project:
(1) technology assessment ($50,000 study)
(2) pilot in 20-acre campus ($50,000)
(3) next year: deployment throughout Burbank (30% of the city), cost $1 million
(4) full deployment and buildout of 100% of the meters (55,000 customers in Burbank), cost $5 million

Glenn Fleishman has written an in-depth article about the Burbank project. Go to http://wifinetnews.com/archives/008003.html.

This is a good project for using multiple applications on a network, providing Internet access, help customers conserve energy and manage their energy-using appliances better.