Downtown Lincoln Park goes wireless with help from Meraki technology

Anyone with a wireless connection can pop a laptop or boot up an iPhone and access the Internet for free in downtown Lincoln Park.

The Downriver suburb established a Meraki wireless network earlier this summer and is enjoying success with the new tool. The Wi-Fi network covers about 12 blocks in downtown Lincoln Park.

"It will expand depending on how many people want to join up," says Steve Duchane, city manager for Lincoln Park.

Meraki is a Google-funded start-up that makes off-white transmitters that look like a child's walkie talkie. These transmitters connect Internet hot spots at local businesses, institutions and homes. The transmitters use the extra bandwidth from the hot spots to create a mesh-like net of Wi-Fi coverage.

Similar systems are spreading in San Francisco, Pittsburgh and San Diego. More than 50,000 different people have logged onto San Francisco’s Meraki network, which covers large sections of the city and has the goal of reaching every neighborhood.

A group of community activists formed the first Meraki network in downtown Ypsilanti called Wireless Ypsi earlier this year. That group helped create similar networks in Trenton and Dearborn.

Source: Steve Duchane, city manager for Lincoln Park
Writer: Jon Zemke
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