Response from Police Chief Navarre about Wi-fi

From: Navarre, Michael Chief
To: neighborhoodconcerns
Cc: Davies, Todd
Subject: Wi-Fi
Date: Mon, 2 Jul 2007 13:31:23 -0400

This is in response to an e-mail you sent to Mayor Finkbeiner with questions to former Director Scott about the Wi-Fi in Toledo. The answers below are from the prospective of the Police Department:

Your letter to Ms. Robertson posed four questions regarding the Wi-Fi project. I will respond to these questions from the perspective of the police department.

- How many devices in the city are capable of using the services you spoke about?

All police vehicles currently equipped with a computer will be able to utilize the Wi-Fi system.

- How many can send and receive the pictures and so on that you commented on?

Currently, none of these computers can send and receive photographs. However, the police department is in the process of constructing a Wi-Fi network that consists of

No votes yet

...this article in the Wall Street Journal

from the article:

"The network, which uses a wireless technology known as Wi-Fi, kicked people off if they moved away from the immediate area around a wireless access point (the antenna that receives signals from a wireless device). When employees tried to connect to the office network through a Wi-Fi connection at home, some users got bounced off the system without warning, while others were unable to make a remote connection. As a member of the help desk, Mr. Friemann often spent hours trying to solve employees' problems with the system.

Things got so bad that Mr. Friemann sometimes had employees piggyback on a neighboring business's wireless connection that was more stable -- without the other business's consent or knowledge. "It was almost like if you wanted to have remote access, you'd better expect to not have a good experience," says Mr. Friemann, 38 years old, who is based in Cherry Hill, N.J."

Thanks, NC, for asking the questions and keeping us all updated on your responses. :)

I would assume that per Chief Navarre

Old South End Broadway

Begin Geek Speak
Not to get off the topic, but the Wall Street Journal problem is a classic symptom of having two WI-FI base stations close together broadcasting on the same frequency. WI-FI broadcasts on 11 channels of power and like sound, when you have two of the same channels close together, they will cancel each other out. Most base stations or broadcasters broadcast on the same channel 11 out off the box. So when the users in the story were close to the station, they are connected because the signal is really strong, but further away they get bounced off. Probably the other business' WI-FI was on a different channel or had more power (if it was newer).

My bet is if someone has a software tool to see all of the WI-FI channels, they will see this.

A professional would have made sure that the channels were distributed to ensure there was no "walking over each other" and the City's installation would be done in a professional manner. It was obvious there was a lack of professional installation since they were walking over each other and the one network was not even secure, but this is a downfall of the current base stations. They are not smart enough to automatically switch channels and lock themselves down. But this is what the article highlights.

Muni WI-FI: I doubt many people will be able to have a useable inside of the house without an external antenna.

Interference is a problem with WI-FI and it would be impossible to prevent everything. I know that the 2.4 GHZ phones do sometimes interfere with the signal. WI-FI is not cellular service; the signals are much weaker and not as robust.

I learned a lot since the fall of 2000 when I had to do a live video feed over WI-FI to a broadcast truck during closed circuit broadcast of Rocketfest. It was a first of its kind use of WI-FI in that manner and the UT staff, Apple staff and I had fun doing it. But you learn a lot about the setup. WI-FI was originally designed for the home.

I think the City's system has potential if it can be done without taxpayer money. But I don't know it seems to be built on a shaky foundation.

Also while I am at it, I don't necessarily buy the excuse they will be getting technology that will be out of date. I am sure the professional municipal broadcasters are able to have the firmware updated to keep up with the most recent WI-FI standard. And if this were the case it is like computers, no matter what you buy it would be out of date so even the next version would be dated once it gets installed.

Also, my biggest concern would be security of the signal. WI-FI is inherently insecure and if the user and the provider are not on the same page, their information can be snooped on and I doubt home users will think of this. I am hoping the police and fire will be secure because it would be bad for so much personal information going over the air all the time if they are not.
End Geek Speak

I put the same questions to Chief Navarre with regards to all public safety users.

... I feel yet another WiFi lecture beginning to take form in the back of my head.

Consider this fair warning ;-)

Hooda Thunkit

Why not submit it to Davies as he is the lead on the project and the best that seems to be done so far, is that we are told we want Wi-Fi in Toledo not that the administration wants it, just that we need and want it.

Then share with us the comments sent. Just an idea.

There have been others that have documented that reception can be spotty at times and the addition of an antenna may help but none the less the reception can be uneven.

Piggybacking has been in some cases to be ruled as theft.

From: Neighborhood Concerns
To: Davies, Todd
Cc: Mayor

Subject: Re: WiFi in Toledo
Date: Tue, 03 Jul 2007 17:39:52 -0400

I responded with more questions about the selling of the Wi-Fi and the whole issue of security has not been resolved expect to say that MetroFi states the end user is responsible for security;

On Tue, 2007-07-03 at 15:51 -0400, Davies, Todd wrote:
> Neighborhood Concerns,
> It is not my practice to respond to those who hide behind pseudonyms. However, I will follow the lead of Chief Navarre and answer your questions to the best of my ability.
> Citywide WiFi offers a number of benefits to the City of Toledo.
> 1- Improved capability of our safety forces.
> Chief Navarre and Chief Woliver have addressed far better than I could so I will not address this further.
> 2- Improve the efficiency of City operations.
> While it is true that field workers have supervisor's, those supervisor's cannot be everywhere at once. Also, many field workers must return to the office several times a day in order to offer accurate reporting. It is estimated that an average field worker spends 1.5-2 hours commuting back and forth to the office. With our current budget, the City cannot afford to hire addition workers or pay large amounts of overtime, thus we must utilize every efficiency we can in order maximize service to the citizens. WiFi provides for a substantial increase in efficiency.

Do the foremen or supervisors currently have the hardware necessary to
accomplish this goal? What about training? I am well aware of the field
workers aspect as I was employed in field service work until recently
laid off.

> 3- Close the digital divide.
> You are correct, people that are struggling to make ends meet do not worry about having computers or internet access. That is the point. For people with limited option the internet can provide a world of opportunity. Access is required to succeed in the modern world. One cannot expect a person to compete for a new position or a better life when they do not have the basic tools allotted to everyone else.
> This is a two pronged problem. We need to provide access and equipment. The equipment is a one time capital cost and can be addressed in surplus years or through grants. With current technology access requires a monthly budget to provide limited connectivity, this is very difficult for municipalities or non-profit organizations to maintain. This WiFi effort moves us past the problem of access.

The city will provide equipment to people that are struggling to make
ends meet for what ever reason, is this a wise use of the grants? When
the city is so lacking in IT infrastructure?

The Wi-Fi plan has so far been reported to be free, then a 2.1$ million
requirement and so on, so the selling point of Wi-Fi to lower income and
people that just do not need it or want it, seems to be moot.

> On top of all of that, by providing WiFi in this model, every citizen will have use of the citywide network at no cost.

Again, this is a selling point to the public, based on what? Have people
commented that, they want, Wi-Fi? There are so many hot spots now from
Buckeye-Express for example, I cannot see the vision of Wi-Fi for all
when some clamor for more jobs and so on.

> Regards,
> Todd Davies
> Todd H. Davies, Ph.D.
> Commissioner
> Department of Development
> City of Toledo
> One Government Center
> Suite 2250
> Toledo, OH 43604
> (419) 245-1044

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