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The installation and existence of municipal wireless networks has sparked both debate and excitement. The installation cost of these wireless networks is relatively high, despite the fact that they provide internet access to city residents and increase productivity owing to improved connectivity. The goal of establishing municipal wireless networks is to provide and provide network services throughout a city and its neighborhoods. The network's architecture and structural elements are centered on providing communication and information services comparable to those provided by hotspots found in places such as airports. The municipal WI-FI network that being developed during the collapse of the interstate bridge in Minneapolis, 2007, ended up being made available to the public for free access("I-35W Bridge Collapse / Technical Response Efforts", 2017).
Even though Municipal WI-FI provides many benefits to cities and users, some technical and economic challenges face the service. It can difficult to implement WI-FI due to the concrete and steel structures on 2.4 GHz required. It can be a challenge identifying secure sites to launch and mount wireless nodes. Financial challenges that affect the implementation of the network revolve around the fact that either an individual, the city or a private company must claim ownership of the network hence ensuring the installation and maintenance costs. For instance, the cost of constructing and maintaining a municipal wireless network according to the projection of JupiterResearch, a research firm, in 2005, amounted to $150,000 per square mile. Therefore, it becomes a real challenge to actualize such a major investment, particularly if the available subscribers fail to sign up. It is due to such reasons that some cities have experienced severe shortfalls.
One of the major technical challenges revolves around finding a suitable location. Mounting a wireless network node requires a location that has access to 24x7 electric power and is secure. However, this is a challenge, mainly because many cities offer spots on municipal buildings and streetlight poles. The problem of mounting the network nodes on these spots is that in case the streetlights went off, the network becomes unavailable while it is expected to be online throughout, hence not reliable. It is therefore important to have an effective network design and careful placement of the network nodes which is only possible through testing.
Despite the fact that municipal wireless network presents economic and technical limitations, the affected communities have ways of addressing these problems. One of the ways of dealing with these problems involves the city taking ownership of the network while the internet service providers contract the right to use it and offer that access to the members of the public. Through the utilization of this model, all the Municipal WI-FI goals are realized and make it possible for the private industry to be involved in the success of the program. The world of municipal wireless networks is new and rapidly evolving, which has led to cities and their involved technology partners identifying business models designs that advocate for success (Bar, & Park, 2005).
Municipal wireless networks could be an open network that offers free network connections to access the internet. No legal rule is defined to protect privacy while using GPS devices. According to the United States rules, node scanning is not illegal. The main problem associated with node scanning is the location of the user or access point, which presents the concern of location privacy of the operator or location of the access point. Unauthorized access is a major ethical dilemma and dimension because there no enacted regulations restricting a person from login onto another computer’s open network. Many ethical issues have emerged associated with wireless networks due to the ease of use by people and inappropriate configurations. The rapid growth and increase in the wireless connectivity market have resulted in the increased issues of ethics, privacy, and security. These aspects that have emerged with the recent information networking innovations play a crucial role in the shaping of the future of wireless networks across the globe (Ethics.csc.ncsu.edu, 2017).
My experiences have shaped my perspective of how community embrace information networking innovation by gaining an understanding that despite the fact that there are specific expectations, the network model and concept could be considered to being in its infancy stages. However, some reasons make me believe that it has the potential to expand and improve rapidly. The current technological innovations that are ongoing in the field of information networking are simplifying deployments, scalability, and operations. The locals play a very crucial role in increasing awareness of the value and impact of community networks. Through greater awareness, the creation of new networks and expansion of the existing networks could be made possible. Moreover, other local stakeholders such as local media and traditional authorities could also be identified, which could result in strategic partnerships to facilitate expansion. Governments, also have a role in the development through the formulation of the conducive regulatory framework and using educational programs to foster for the formation of community networks.
Bar, F., & Park, N. (2005). Municipal Wi-Fi networks: The goals, practices, and policy implications of the US case. Communications & Strategies, 61, 107-126.
Wireless. (2017). Ethics.csc.ncsu.edu. Retrieved 7 September 2017, from https://ethics.csc.ncsu.edu/risks/security/wireless/study.php
I-35W Bridge Collapse / Technical Response Efforts. (2017). 35wbridge.pbworks.com. Retrieved 7 September 2017, from http://35wbridge.pbworks.com/w/page/900768/Technical%20Response%20Efforts
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