Wi-Fi Meandering Part II

07/19/2011 in

Downtown Alliance Free Wi-Fi Network
This is the second part of my Wi-Fi meandering to check out the status of our Wi-Fi hotspots and to make sure they were all in good shape. Feel free to check out the Flickr set I created

When you last saw me meandering (not wandering as some people thought!), we were at the Elevated Acre at 55 Water Street.

After confirming that the signal was working great at the spot (which is being sent from our access points on the 14th floor), we went down the escalators onto Water Street, crossed the block, and cut under 7 Hanover Square (I really enjoy getting the chance to walk through buildings like that) just north of Coenties Slip, and emerged on Pearl Street.

We turned left, then right, and landed on Stone Street. Not to toot our own horn, but according to Wikipedia, “a joint partnership between the Landmarks Commission and other city agencies, the Alliance for Downtown New York and Stone Street owners has transformed Stone Street from a derelict back alley into one of Downtown’s liveliest scenes.”

Pat on the back, please!

Currently, one of the retailers on Stone Street has allowed us to transmit a Wi-Fi signal from one of its second-floor windows. We’d love to extend Wi-Fi further onto Coenties Alley, the area south of Stone and across from Coenties Slip, and we’re exploring ways to do that, and are reaching out to neighboring businesses.

Otherwise, Stone Street’s Wi-Fi was in good shape. So we headed north to the nearby British Garden at Hanover Square, which was a tranquil spot newly gleaming just after a hosing down. I’ve lunched there a couple of times in the past two weeks, and it’s just so lovely. (If you didn’t know, the garden was created to honor the 67 British subjects who died on September 11th.)

Wi-Fi was working wonderfully here, as well (it’s transmitted from one of the retailers bordering the park), so we ventured east to the South Street Seaport. We walked up to Wall Street, turned right, walked up South Street (which was called South Street not because it was on the east side, but because when our ancestors first settled on this island, this is the spot where the ships came in from which they perceived was the south, or bottom, of the island.)

The Seaport is probably the largest Wi-Fi hotspot we have because it’s both indoors – with access points in the food court area – as well as outdoors; our equipment is positioned outside, sending the signal from the food court all the way to South Street.

While testing it, we grabbed lunch in the food court and then readied to move onto 60 Wall Street, known as the Atrium. We walked along Fulton Street (I’ve always wanted to get Wi-Fi in that enormous shopping plaza area, an idea for the future), down Pearl Street, and turned right onto Pine Street until we reached the 60 Wall Atrium.

As always there were quite a few people there, snacking away, hunched over their smartphones, iPads, and laptops, working away. It was obvious the Wi-Fi was working – and our testing backed that up (although that is one of our most frustrating hotspots because the Verizon line there is often subpar).

Essentially, we actually installed a device (you can’t see it, but it’s with our access points, which are hidden at each end of the Atrium) that can tell when the line has gone bad and reboot the router to try and find the signal again so that the intermittent service we receive via Verizon doesn’t too negatively affect our Wi-Fi users.

Instead of experiencing a hotspot that is completely down, some of our users end up experiencing up and down service, not as reliable as we expect from our hotspots. We are working with Verizon to replace some of the bad equipment installed there, and hopefully that will make a difference.

After 60 Wall, we headed to City Hall via Broadway, passing construction of the new Fulton Street Transit Center, which is expected to be an incredible transportation hub, beautifying the area and allowing light into the some of the underground tunnels, but also combining (or what they call a “rationalization” of) the 84,000 subway stations in Lower Manhattan. Okay, maybe it’s not 84,000, but it is a lot.

These days, the first thing that greets you as you enter City Hall Park from the south is “Splotch,” a sculpture by Sol LeWitt.

Personally, while I am no art expert (though I am married to one), I think it is beautiful because the color is vibrant and exciting, making this really cool park even more beautiful. There are other sculptures around as well, but this one really grabbed my attention, and I had a hard time resisting the urge to linger any longer.

But back to our mission. So, in the past, we’ve had some Wi-Fi performance issues at City Hall Park because we’re actually shooting the signal from atop one of the nearby buildings, and in the Summer, the trees become so thick that the leaves actually block the signal (that is definitely not an indoor problem!). Fortunately, it was working just fine during our site visit.

And I will stop here, maybe to just check out that sculpture again, and fill you in on the final three hotspots in my next installment.

Tags: 55 Water Street, 66 Wall Street, 7 Hanover Square, British Garden, City Hall Park, Coenties Slip, Elevated Acre, Fulton Street, Hanover Square, Hot Spots, iPad, Landmarks Commission, LM Meandering, Lower Manhattan, Pearl Street, Pine Street, Sky-Packets, Sol LeWitt, South Street Seaport, Splotch, stone street, Verizon, Wall Street, Wi-Fi

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