Thursday, 6 November 2008

The wifi in chicago

After one month, my wifi recording routes are roughly distinguished three categories: downtown, chinatown and home area.

Chicago doesn't have government-run city-wide wifi aps, though they have the plan before. But the expense is too expensive, they abandoned the plan.(Chicago Drops Its Municipal Wi-Fi Plans

Source: Motley Fool | Priority: Voice & Data Convergence | Topic: Wi-Fi Networks
Date Published: 8/30/2007 | Date Reviewed: 8/31/2007
TAKEAWAY: This week the city of Chicago abandoned its plans for municipal Wi-Fi service. Officials cited costs and lack of interest as reasons for the cancellation. The sticking point was whether the city or bidding companies would foot the cost and risk of the network. )

In downtown, the most wifi aps belong to the hotels, universities and stores. They have their close and encrypted network. But staples store have free wifi with a term and condition page(StaplesHotspot.

Harold Washington public library locates in downtown at the cross of van buren street and state street. It provides free wifi with term and condition page.

Besides the self-built wifi aps, there are wifi aps which are installed by the wifi provider around the street, such as AT&T

) and T-Mobile(

If we leave downtown then walk southward to chinatown, we will see more and more personal wifi aps. The below list shows the wifi aps along south Clark street to Chinatown.


As we ssaw above description, the wifi aps distribute among the city, despite the different land use. The wifi in Chicago is not similar with Hong Kong, Taipei, and London which take wifi as infrastructure. Chicago's wifi has strong wifi-ap-centered trend, such as personal use and commercial use, but lack of city-wide use. So you can't have a main wifi provider account then roam all places in a city. Although the wifi users can buy a wifi pass from Boingo (, the amount of wifi aps the users can use only 289 and the amount is far lower than 1593 wifi aps that this project collected until now (Boingo). The popular wifi provider AT&T in Chicago has 283 hotspots ( AT&T) and T-Mobile is 50 (T-Mobile).

If we consider the three wifi landscapes in this project, city-centered, ap-centered, and personal landscape paintings. We can compare the four cities according to the three landscapes and house metaphor.
In chicago city-centerer wifi landscape, 2Wire is the main wifi ap vendor and internet provider. Public libraries provide free and open wifi and the ap vendor is Cisco. CPSWIRELESS

The wifi aps cover Chinese, Hispanic, Black and White area.

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