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Wireless Networking

Submission + - Free Wifi Network Memorial (shadysidewifi.com)

Jonathan Plesset writes: "PITTSBURGH HOTEL OWNER DONATES FREE WIRELESS NETWORK TO POPULAR SHOPPING DISTRICT IN MEMORY OF LATE FATHER First-of-its-kind hi-tech memorial provides thousands of Internet users with unlimited online access PITTSBURGH, PA — July 12, 2007 — Shadyside Inn Suites co-owner Jonathan Plesset announced today that he has donated a free wireless Internet network to the upscale Shadyside retail district in honor of R. Jeffrey Plesset, his late father and co-founder of the luxury Pittsburgh hotel. The $10,000 hi-tech memorial established this month using cutting-edge mesh networking technology is the first-of-its-kind in the nation and will provide thousands of shoppers, diners and residents of Pittsburgh's Shadyside neighborhood with unlimited, no-cost Internet access for years to come. "I wanted to set up this network for my dad because he believed in giving back to the community and understood the value of making technology openly available and affordable to everyone. He loved Shadyside and would have appreciated that we are providing a new and exciting reason to shop, dine and live here," said Plesset, 32, who runs Shadyside Inn Suites along with his uncle, Michael Plesset. R. Jeffrey Plesset died of cancer in May 1999 at age 54. The wireless network being given to the community to celebrate his memory is called Free Wireless Shadyside and spans five city blocks along Walnut Street in the heart of the Shadyside's retail corridor between Aiken and South Negley avenues. In its first two weeks of operation, without any advertising or publicity, almost 1,000 computer users logged onto the Internet through the Free Wireless Shadyside network. "I figured I would just throw up this crazy wireless network and see what happened, but I never expected such tremendous results," said Plesset, a self-labeled technology geek and former owner of a Web development firm. The standalone Free Wireless Shadyside network operates using breakthrough mesh networking technology developed by Calif.-based Meraki Networks Inc. It is based on a simple system of Internet gateways that are hard-wired directly to a router and communicate with repeater nodes needed to extend the range of the gateway connections. Two Internet gateways were installed in Cappy's Café and Eyetique on Walnut Street and linked directly to 3.0/768k DSL and 6.0/768k cable broadband connections paid for by Shadyside Inn Suites. To network the entire Shadyside shopping district, 14 additional repeater nodes were placed in nearby clothing boutiques, restaurants, bars, coffee shops, ice cream stores, pharmacies and even a parking security booth. — more — Page -2- These electronic nodes resemble a deck of playing cards equipped with an antenna and operate on just 5 volts of electricity. Leaving them on all the time is the equivalent of plugging in a nightlight, making the network very ecologically friendly. Anyone can connect to Free Wireless Shadyside network at no cost. All you need is a computer with a wireless Wi-Fi (802.11 b/g) card and to be within range of a Free Wireless Shadyside node. No usernames or passwords are required, and the network is secure. Network operators will not monitor the Web sites you visit or your e-mail traffic except to research an abuse complaint. Unlawful file sharing is prohibited. Shadyside residents or storeowners who are not quite within range of the network, but close, can establish their own free Wi-Fi hotspot by placing a low-cost Meraki Mini repeater in their front window, balcony or rooftop. Plesset also set up a similar mesh network in each of the 112 fully furnished suites at the family-owned Shadyside Inn Suites hotel, which has played host to Jody Foster, Paul Newman and countless other travelers in its 25 years of operation. His dream is to build similar networks in other neighborhoods across the Pittsburgh area. For more information about Free Wireless Shadyside, contact Jon Plesset at jon@plesset.com or visit http://shadysidewifi.com./ Maps of the network and photos also are available. ###"

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