Oregon city builds wireless mesh network

Medford, Ore, is deploying a wireless mesh network that will cover 24 square miles. The new network will provide high-speed data communications to 100 city workers, including law enforcement, fire and rescue, public works and building inspection agencies.

Medford chose technology from MeshNetworks Inc., Maitland, Fla. Systems integration, deployment and project management are being handled by Viasys Services Inc., Lakeland, Fla.

"After looking at other wireless technologies, we found that MeshNetworks' system provided Medford with the interoperability, high-speed data rates and mobility needed to support our current and future law enforcement applications," said Deputy Chief of Police Ron Norris.

City officials said they expect a positive return on their investment.

"Due to its high data rates and innovative mesh architecture, our analysis shows that the system will pay for itself rapidly through increases in personnel productivity," said Doug Townsend, Medford's technology services director. Townsend said the city considered cellular networks, but was disappointed with the speed.

MeshNetworks Enabled Architecture is an ad hoc, self-healing wireless technology that can improve coverage and ensure the network continues operating in the event of disasters or other outages. In a mesh network, access points and wireless devices act as routers and repeaters that can direct network traffic. Mesh networks can automatically route data around congestion, failures and line-of-sight obstacles.

According to MeshNetworks, its technology is different from cellular networks that typically offer high-speed rates in one direction. MeshNetworks technology delivers high data rates in all directions.

Last month, Garland, Texas, launched a similar deployment of MeshNetworks technology, covering 57 square miles. NexGen City LP, Richardson, Texas, handled that deployment.

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