Brookline, Mass. as chosen Galaxy Internet and Strix Systems to set up the first town-wide wireless mesh network in the Boston metro area. Though its primary purpose is public safety, the network also will provide paid services to Brookline businesses and residents.
Brookline's new wireless mesh network is the largest city network in Massachusetts to incorporate 4.9GHz wireless service for public safety. The network will support a variety of public safety and municipal applications and provide WiFi services to more than 58,000 residents. The Strix Outdoor Wireless System (OWS) will enable Brookline's Police Department to gain immediate access to police reports and crime incidents and to perform remote video surveillance. In addition, the network will support traditional Internet services and voice communications (VoIP) for public safety, municipal, and commercial/consumer applications.
The public safety network is also seen as a cost saver for the town, which is paying Verizon about $60 a month for each of more than 40 wireless cards that police and firefighters use to access the CDMA network.
“We pay a decent chunk of change to Verizon right now,” said Assistant Town Administrator Sean Cronin. “If this thing becomes successful, we won't have to do that anymore.”
The network, expected to be completed in six to eight months, will be built at no cost to the town. The license grants Galaxy the right to mount network equipment on town-owned property such as streetlights and traffic signals. Galaxy will offer wireless Internet service to Brookline residents as well as network access to other Internet service providers. And WiFi “hot spots” will provide free access in commercial districts and several town parks.
Town government also is expected to benefit from the network, which will enable building inspectors, auditors and other employees in the field to enter information directly into a central town database.