Problems on Google’s WiFi Network in Mountain View

According to a report at LightReading, the Google-supported municipal WiFi network in Mountain View, Calif. is not performing to local expectations.

The network-coverage problems in Mountain View could affect plans for wireless municipal rollouts in larger cities, including San Francisco. Quoting from the LightReading piece:

The question of the coverage in Mountain View is a ticklish one for the search giant because Google has promoted the deployment as a high-powered showcase for its municipal networking technology (the infrastructure in Mountain View is supplied by Tropos Networks Inc. ). As other cities around the country experience unexpected hiccups in deploying WiFi networks, the dissatisfaction in Mountain View could give pause to officials and users in other towns looking at muni networks.

In other words, if Mountain View — an affluent, relatively small, and extremely tech-savvy community in the heart of Silicon Valley — can’t get decent service, how will less favored cities fare?

That question is particularly relevant for San Francisco, which is still in contract talks with Google and EarthLink for a widely publicized muni WiFi system.

"This," says Kimo Crossman, a leading critic of the Google-EarthLink proposal, "is why San Francisco should insist on a proof of concept before any contract is signed."

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