Meraki brings Wi-Fi to Main Street

Meraki has announced the first Main Street Wi-Fi Starter Pack, designed to provide municipalities with full broadband wireless access across a square mile for less than $10,000. Most wireless systems cost between $25,000 and $100,000 per square mile, company representatives said.

Meraki wireless devices function as a gateway, repeater and access point, all at the same time, Meraki officials said. Plugged into a power source, the devices can immediately talk to one another over the Internet to form a network. The company also offers as a software-as-a-service dashboard that ensures connectivity across a network, Meraki said.

'We are seeing Main Streets and business districts around the globe adopt Meraki's Wi-Fi solution as an amenity for businesses, consumers and tourists, and as a means to drive local economic growth,' said Sanjit Biswas, CEO and founder of Meraki.

Prestonburg, Ky., deployed a Meraki network to provide Wi-Fi to the city and outlying areas, the company said. A city executive who wasn't especially tech-savvy led the deployment. Now a number of restaurants, retailers and other businesses have moved into the central part of the city to take advantage of the Wi-Fi, Meraki officials said.

'Wi-Fi has changed the perception of our town and has brought more people into the downtown area,' said Brent Graden, economic director of Prestonburg. 'Finding Meraki was like a breath of fresh air. Their solution let us deploy and enjoy the results and not get bogged down in configuration and support.'

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Trudy Walsh is a senior writer for GCN.

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