Better late than never

You read it here first in September 2004:

Tropos Networks has built a number of Wi-Fi systems for public-safety use, but they’ve never tried anything this big: a wireless network for the city of Oklahoma City, 600-plus square miles of spectacularly-irregular polygon.

The new network, which should be fully operational by the end of next year, will cost around $5 million. And no, there will be no public-access hot spots, at least at first.

For “by the end of next year,” read halfway through 2008:

The City of Oklahoma City unveiled its wireless network — the largest city owned and operated municipal Wi-Fi mesh network in the world — Tuesday, June 3.

The network is used for public safety and other City operations. At this time it does not provide wireless Internet access to the public.

Tropos Networks president and CEO Tom Ayers presented a plaque to the Mayor and City Council recognizing the City of Oklahoma City for successfully building and implementing the world’s largest municipal wireless broadband network. Tropos Networks provides the network infrastructure equipment.

The wireless mesh network covers an unprecedented 555 square-mile area with 95 percent service coverage in the city’s core. Wireless Tropos routers are installed on City siren towers, traffic lights, buildings and other places. Tropos’ mobile routers are mounted in City vehicles, extending the network coverage area.

I’m impressed nonetheless, especially since the cost reportedly came in right around the projected $5 million.

Public-safety applications of the new network:

Police officers are equipped with a laptop in patrol cars that gives them better access to advance criminal information in real time and allows them to download photos, file reports and even do paperwork in the field. In addition, police officers and fire fighters have access to over 300 video cameras, giving them a real time, around-the-clock, birds-eye view of key locations throughout the city.

Fire battalion chiefs are now able to locate water hydrants, review site maps, building floor plans and hazardous materials information while en route to a fire or accident, enabling them to tell incoming response vehicles how and where to set up.

I’m just wondering where the 50-square-mile (more or less) “dead zone” is.


  1. MikeH »

    4 June 2008 · 10:14 am

    I’d be willing to bet that a large part of that dead zone is the rural SE city limits just north of me.

  2. Dwayne "the canoe guy" »

    4 June 2008 · 3:08 pm

    Um, 100% – 95% = 5%
    5% x 555 square miles = 27.5 square miles not 50.

  3. Landrunner »

    5 June 2008 · 6:46 am

    It came in at the $5 mil mark, but my understanding from a someone close to me who was on the project that it was initially way underestimated by the contractor exactly how many nodes it would take to provide the coverage specced in the bid. Somebody ate that, and I’m guessing it wasn’t the city.

  4. CGHill »

    5 June 2008 · 10:46 am

    The “95-percent coverage in the city’s core” and the 555-square-mile overall coverage have little to do with one another, unless there are areas in the core which by design lack coverage.

    And the city is 604 square miles, not counting water. If the network covers 555 square miles, that’s about 92 percent of the area.

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