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Free Wi-Fi For the Residents of Venice, Italy 153

pmontra writes "The City of Venice, Italy, started to offer free Wi-Fi to residents (Google translation from the Italian source) on July 3 2009. Tourists and other visitors will pay 5 Euros a day for the service starting from September. The hot spots are connected to a ten thousand kilometer (6,250 mile) fiber optic LAN the City started deploying in the '90s. The first day of free Internet access has been celebrated with a digital treasure hunt in the channels of the lagoon city."
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Free Wi-Fi For the Residents of Venice, Italy

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  • by FlyingBishop ( 1293238 ) on Sunday July 05, 2009 @02:33AM (#28584791)

    Actually, I think there are municipalities that offer free WiFi in an area roughly the size of Venice.

    Venice proper is basically a city that has been turned into a theme park. The article isn't entirely clear, but I don't think this extends to the cities surrounding the lagoon (where most of the work that isn't tourism gets done), which would be very significant.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday July 05, 2009 @04:07AM (#28585077)

    True. We have this service in most public parks of Rome too, but you need to sign in using a cellphone which is of course registered with your personal data, therefore anonimity is not possible. We have to thank for this nonsense the stupid anti-terrorism laws that our politicians enacted blindly following the example of other countries.

  • Not likely (Score:5, Informative)

    by Sycraft-fu ( 314770 ) on Sunday July 05, 2009 @04:11AM (#28585085)

    Wireless is MILES behind wired in terms of speed and reliability. I mean have a look: The very latest and greatest short range wireless tech is N, which is actually still draft technically. If everything is right, you can get 100mbps of actual throughput (throughput on wireless networks is much lower than physical rate). However even that isn't as good as it sounds. That bandwidth is shared with everyone on the same access point. It is a single collision domain. Thus as the number of clients goes up, effective bandwidth goes down.

    Now compare that to wired networks. Gig Ethernet is standard these days. Hard to buy a NIC that isn't gig and gig switches are little more money than 100mbps switches. Also, each and every line on the switch has dedicated bandwidth, in both directions. You can do 1gbps up, 1gbps down at the same time, and so can everyone else. You don't grab bandwidth from each other.

    Of course for uplinks, there's faster stuff, 10gigE is not cheap, but not too bad for a company, and you can bond multiple wires together.

    So wireless isn't going to be taking over most businesses any time soon, unless they have really low bandwidth and latency needs.

    Also, all this is talking about WiFi, not 3G. 3G is slow as hell. Even new TIA-856 Rev. B, which isn't out yet only gets 4.9mbps peak per carrier and about 3 carriers per tower. So you are taking about trying to share cable modem speeds with a whole office on a contention based network. Ya THAT'LL be great.

    Sorry, but this kind of thing isn't going to happen until wireless is fast enough that it isn't noticeable slower than wired, and that it doesn't cost much more. While running cable is a pain, it isn't that much of a pain and you do it once and you are done for many years. I mean even if you laid Cat-3 cable back in 1990, you are still talking about speeds as good as N (better in real usage) and waaaay better than 3G. There's no usage fees either, like 3G. Your switch will happily move data for you all day without additional charge.

    Of course this doesn't even touch on all the security and configuration issues that you'd have.

    I just don't see the fully wireless office coming any time soon.

  • by worf_mo ( 193770 ) on Sunday July 05, 2009 @04:48AM (#28585187)

    Unfortunately, in Italy, thanks to one of the so called laws against terrorism (in this case L155/2005 []) whoever offers public access to Internet, be it via a wireless hotspot or an Internet cafe or any other means, must first register the customer's data by requesting a valid ID card (or passport, driver's license) and then collect and preserve usage data (but not content).

    Of course criminal organizations and terrorists are using the Internet, but so are millions of law-abiding citizens. And the same criminal organizations and terrorists have been using the telephone system for decades, but public pay phones do not require people to swipe an ID card. Yet.


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