Arizona Wi-Fi Mesh Net Biggest Yet

Chandler, Ariz., is heating up its broadband access, striking a deal to create a citywide wireless mesh network.

Using a mesh-networking technology from Calabasas, Calif.-based Strix Systems Inc. and Bethesda, Md.-based telecommunications-design and management firm NeoReach Wireless, Chandler’s mesh network will offer Wi-Fi access to its 240,000 residents, as well as its 19,000 businesses within its 72-square-mile city limits. A second, parallel connection will be provided for municipal communications.

Chandler’s service will include access to multiple Internet-service providers, and it can also support voice-over-Internet-protocol service. A hot zone in Chandler’s downtown business district will also offer visitors two hours of free Internet access daily, and that deal also will extend to Chandler’s library and three of its largest parks.

The network will also extend to connect with a mesh-network system Strix and NeoReach have installed for nearby Tempe, Ariz., covering 40 square miles, making the combined grid the largest continuous mesh network in the nation to date.

"As more and more U.S. cities adopt citywide Wi-Fi networks, it is only natural that neighboring cities will want to offer similar services," Strix vice president of marketing Nan Chen said. "Strix's modular multiradio, multichannel and multi-RF solution is the only system that enables the simple scalability of existing networks to rapidly expand networks to other cities."