Jacksonville lands wireless Web connection

Jacksonville lands wireless Web connection

The Jacksonville, Fla., government set up a wireless Internet connection for residents and visitors at the city's Landing waterfront area. The City Council signed a partnership agreement with Connexsys Inc. of Jacksonville and BellSouth Corp. to provide the wireless technology and Web connections for the next two years at no cost to the city.

Users in the riverfront area with a computer or other wireless device running a 1995 operating system or later can connect to the Internet through the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers' 802.11b protocol. Most notebooks and personal digital assistants, except those from Palm Inc. of Santa Clara, Calif., adhere to this protocol.

'This is a part of our long-term strategy,' said Libby Clapp, Jacksonville CIO. 'The partnership provided us with a chance to test out the technology at no cost to us.'

Connexsys set up the system, which includes antennas set up around the Landing and a T1 line from BellSouth into Connexsys' server, which runs Linux. A wireless device using the IEEE 802.11b, or WiFi, protocol searches for the signal, and antennas transmit it to Connexsys' server, which returns an IP address to connect to the JaxWiz Web site. Once there, the user is connected to the Web.

Clapp said Connexsys used a Perl script to push the wireless devices to the Web site.

In the first six days of service, 140 people were connected, Clapp added. She also said the city plans to expand the use of wireless.

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