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Standard User RuralTown
(newbie) Fri 15-Nov-19 11:30:38
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Advice re setting up Public WiFi for our town


[link to this post]
 
We are a small town (many would say a village) in the rural south east of England, with a vibrant retail offering.
Cellular 4g coverage is very poor on all networks.
We are interested in setting up public WifI hotspots in the centre of the town.
Any advice from people with experience of this process would be much appreciated.
eg:
- recommended suppliers
- indication of the likely costs
- is it worth it?

Edited by RuralTown (Fri 15-Nov-19 11:31:18)

Standard User Zarjaz
(eat-sleep-adslguide) Fri 15-Nov-19 20:09:34
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Re: Advice re setting up Public WiFi for our town


[re: RuralTown] [link to this post]
 
No answer for your question, but ....
We are a small town (many would say a village) in the rural south east of England, with a vibrant retail offering.

... most curious to hear the name of a village/town with a "vibrant retail offering" ?

I am in Darkest Surrey, and they are dying on their respective [censored] round here, not to mention the bits in Berkshire and Hampshire I visit.

Standard User RuralTown
(newbie) Tue 19-Nov-19 09:01:35
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Re: Advice re setting up Public WiFi for our town


[re: Zarjaz] [link to this post]
 
It is Petworth, West Sussex. Come on down from Surrey and visit us!


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Administrator MrSaffron
(staff) Tue 19-Nov-19 10:16:13
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Re: Advice re setting up Public WiFi for our town


[re: RuralTown] [link to this post]
 
Questions to consider

1. What connection is the Wi-Fi access points going to make use of?
2. Who pays running costs, even after all set-up
3. What support will exist e.g. if a access point dies who will replace it and how soon
4. Usage and access control, free unfiltered open access or a registration portal.
5. Security is important, don't underestimate bored teenager having some fun trying to hack a home built solution

A big difference between doing this for a village hall where when turning on power turns on a simple wireless router with password on the notice board, versus blanket coverage across the retail area of Network.

If there is a good local PC repair shop the point (3) might be easy to deal with, as in return for compensation they may be happen to take on role.

Commercial operations such as https://www.btwifi.co.uk/business/ are generally aimed at indoor use and it may be if lots of business are using BT hubs already that there is a guest Wi-Fi network in lots of places, so just promoting the coverage areas.

Have an online search for other towns/villages with free wi-fi, ask them who they use, how its working out.

The author of the above post is a thinkbroadband staff member. It may not constitute an official statement on behalf of thinkbroadband.
Standard User ian72
(eat-sleep-adslguide) Tue 19-Nov-19 10:38:48
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Re: Advice re setting up Public WiFi for our town


[re: MrSaffron] [link to this post]
 
There is also the question of filtering and logging. There are legalities around running public Internet that would need to be considered and if offering free Internet for young people there may need to be a nod to any duty to protect them, at the least it may need an AUP that people sign up to on connection.

It may be possible to set up access points on the businesses own network connections and use a VPN to a management service that manages filtering, logging, etc - I don't know if any exist as haven't done it this way before but I suspect there may be some out there.

Also, if using a businesses own connection then there may need to be some sort of throttling installed - the business may be using it for their card payments and it wouldn't be good if someone downloading or uploading a large file killed the bandwidth to the extent that payments couldn't be taken.

There was a company in Chichester (not far away from Petworth) that was going to provide public WiFi to the whole town centre, they had funding and had done various designs and got agreements to install on various buildings. But, ultimately it fell through - not sure why or what happened but it isn't a simple thing to set up. Can see an article from 2014 here

EDIT : Another article here with another pair looking to provide WiFi to parts of Chichester in 2017 - might be worth seeing if they would be willing to discuss it - I am not sure it ever happened...

Edited by ian72 (Tue 19-Nov-19 10:42:02)

Standard User mbames
(committed) Tue 19-Nov-19 11:11:08
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Re: Advice re setting up Public WiFi for our town


[re: ian72] [link to this post]
 
Free wifi was added along Weymouth beach a while back. I think I tried it once, and it had captive portal page.

https://www.dorsetcoast.com/posts/free-public-wifi-o...

"The delivery team and contractor, LAN3 have achieved an excellent job delivering the Wi-Fi network on the seafront within time and budget."

Might be worth speaking to LAN3 as seems like that may have experience in the area (and on the technical side of things, don't really need to be locally based).

Vodafone Fibre (Superfast2 - 80/20), Draytek 130, DrayTek 2925, DrayTek AP-910c x 2
(Gone but not forgotten: AP-700, 2820n x 2, 2800vg, 2800, HG612)

Speedtests:
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Standard User RuralTown
(newbie) Tue 19-Nov-19 13:09:05
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Re: Advice re setting up Public WiFi for our town


[re: MrSaffron] [link to this post]
 
Thank you, those points are very useful.
A good idea to explore the BT option for those businesses with BT hubs. (This link goes to the relevant bit of their website: https://btbusiness.custhelp.com/app/answers/detail/a... )
Standard User mbames
(committed) Tue 19-Nov-19 14:32:32
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Re: Advice re setting up Public WiFi for our town


[re: mbames] [link to this post]
 
ooh, they have a case study too

https://www.lan3.co.uk/weymouth_beach_case_study

Vodafone Fibre (Superfast2 - 80/20), Draytek 130, DrayTek 2925, DrayTek AP-910c x 2
(Gone but not forgotten: AP-700, 2820n x 2, 2800vg, 2800, HG612)

Speedtests:
ThinkBB - Mini | ThinkBB - Full | Speedtest.net
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