Meraki To Expand its WiFi Network Throughout San Francisco

14 thoughts on “Meraki To Expand its WiFi Network Throughout San Francisco”

  1. Please don’t tell me that gigaom is going the way of gawker media and begun incestuous linking. If you hyperlink a company name or url, the user expects it will point to their website, NOT to previous coverage on gigaom!

    I have actually stopped reading gizmodo all together because of this seo-wanker move that elevates search traffic in lieu of usability for existing users.

    As a daily reader, please don’t make using this site more difficult. Thanks

  2. Sorry Om, quotes about how Wi-Fi is not a proper technology for metro-sized deployments are tiring and overused. Every engineer knows its not the IDEAL solution.

    However much beyond its intended use, Wi-Fi outdoors is here to stay, and the kinks will get resolved. Why? Because it is the wireless equivalent of Ethernet in terms of utility, economics and ubiquity. WiMAX may be better on paper… sure… but its competing against 1 billion pre-installed standards-based devices and more coming every day.

    Just like ATM was perhaps the better transport medium than Ethernet… Ethernet won, because it was fast, cheap, and had momentum in the market… just like Wi-Fi.

  3. I understand selling gear around the world. -That makes money.

    I still don’t see the business model where Meraki is profitable by giving away a monthly fixed cost of DSLs and radios to neigborhoods in SF.

    What is Meraki / Google’s the hidden agenda? Data mining?

  4. MDH, when I say WiFi is not the proper technology for MAN my reasoning goes beyond technical issues. The real issue is price. Even at $50k/sqmi, WiFi in not cheap enough to compete with alternatives that either cost less per sqmi (WiMAX) or deliver massively higher throughput (cable or FTTP). Now when I say WiFi is not cheap enough, I’m not talking about equipment cost, I’m talking about the costs of acquiring thousands of AP locations and getting power and then the reoccurring costs of maintaining thousands of AP, rent, and power. From an NPV perspective, WiFi is not a good enough MAN technology. Same situation is BPL, really.

    Now I’m not saying that outdoor WiFi is never a good idea. It works great on campus environments where the network provider controls all the real estate. It can also work well in sub-MAN situations. If you can cherry pick neighborhoods, WiFi is great. Blanketing the entire city, though, not so much.

  5. Mark, Meraki’s in SF not to make money directly, but for the free publicity. People from a carrier background scoffed at these guys a year ago. Who was going to take a risk on them when you could buy Mesh from Cisco or Motorola? Now, maybe the idea isn’t so silly. This was pretty much the same thing Tropos did. I’m pretty sure they at best broke even on the early deployments their gear was used for.

  6. Meraki may issue press releases about expanding coverage to all of San Francisco, but reality tells a different story. They pretty much stopped expanding SF coverage 3 months ago. From my correspondence with them, I don’t expect Meraki to provide my San Francisco neighborhood (Sunset) with free Wi-Fi this year or any year in the future.

  7. tenbaum, we’re still expanding Free the Net and will start distributing new repeaters again in December and January. We are still setting up the Internet gateway points for the other neighborhoods so please stay tuned — the sunset will not be forgotten!

    If there’s any chance of gaining line of sight to the other repeaters in the network, please send us an email. We can try sending you an outdoor repeater to see if you get a signal.

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