OKC unveils multi-million dollar Wi-Fi network

Tuesday, June 3rd 2008, 11:57 am
By: News 9

By Audrey Esther, News9.com INsite Team

Oklahoma City is now the world's largest city-owned and operated municipal Wi-Fi mesh network. City officials unveiled the new multi-million dollar wireless system on Tuesday.

"This system allows us to be on the cutting edge of communication between our public safety people and that's where we want to be," Oklahoma City Mayor Mick Cornett said.

The Tropos wireless mesh network covers a 555 square-mile area with 95 percent service coverage in the city's core. The network is used for public safety and city operations. It is not available to the public.

"We built the technology and now our departments are using it to effectively change the way they are providing services," Mark Meir, Oklahoma City information technology director, said.

Wireless Tropos' routers are installed on siren towers, traffic lights, city-owned buildings and many other places. Wireless routers give police officers, firefighters and Public Works inspectors real-time 24-hour access to information, which could mean increased public safety.

"The more information you can get and the faster you can get information, then the more safe it's going to make your officers and your citizens," Police Lt. Wade Gourley said.

 The city says strong security measures will keep the network well protected. 

"We have actually implemented multiple layers of security, each of which could stand alone and each of which is considered the standard of the industry today," Meier said.

The $5 million network was funded with public safety capital sales tax and city capital improvement funds. It took two years to implement.