Free Wi-Fi in Harvard Square
The Executive Director of the HSBA, Denise Jillson attributes her inspiration for this project to Cambridge City Councillor Henrietta Davis, Chair of the Cable TV, Telecommunications and Public Utilities, who has been a champion of public access, spearheading the cause to bridge the digital divide.
"Once the mesh network was designed, property and business owners in key locations were approached and eagerly embraced the project. In addition to Harvard University and the HSBA, other partners include, Out of Town News, Eastern Mountain Sports, The Harvard Square Hotel, the Inn at Harvard, Cardullo's Gourmet Shoppe, University Real Estate, Richard Getz Associates, Harvard Book & Binding, UpStairs on the Square, Harvard Book Store, The Garage, Kaplan Test Prep, Trinity Property Management, Club Passim, Bertucci's, Randstad US, Mr.Bartley's Burger Cottage and Grafton Street."
Jillson said, "The research and installation period took a little longer than anticipated, but the delay worked to our advantage as the technology kept improving. The Mesh network was constructed and deployed by Anaptyx, LLC (www.anaptyx.com). The wireless router used in this project is the 2007 Popular Science Grand Award Winning Meraki."
Meraki (www.meraki.com) is focused on making internet access available to the next billion people. Through a combination of cost effective plug and play hardware and behind the scenes software that makes deploying and managing a wireless network simple and straightforward, Meraki offers a start to finish solution for anyone who wants to provide wireless internet access to large numbers of people. Whether you want to connect a neighborhood or an entire city, Meraki's products and services can scale to fit your needs at a fraction of the cost of other providers. Meraki has deep roots in Cambridge, the company is an MIT research project spin out.
"We're big supporters of community focused networks such as what is happening here in Harvard Square. When community members drive network adoption it spreads like wildfire and everyone benefits," said Sanjit Biswas, CEO and Co-founder of Meraki.
There are already thousands of Meraki networks in more than 100 countries around the world and here in the US deployed by companies, governments, citizen groups and individuals. In San Francisco more than 90,000 people have connected to Meraki's test bed network, Free the Net, which is connecting the entire city, neighborhood by neighborhood. www.meraki.com
Anaptyx (www.anaptyx.com) was founded in June 2007 with one goal in mind: Deliver an environmentally friendly wireless solution at an affordable price. Traditionally focused on multi-dwelling communities and apartment complexes, Anaptyx was contracted to install, operate and maintain the Harvard Square Network through a recent partnership with Meraki. Ken Carnesi, CEO of Anaptyx said "We have been experiencing tremendous growth and adding Harvard Square as a client is a real milestone for us."
In just over a week, Anaptyx was able to install and implement over 35 access points and several data lines around Harvard Square; covering a one square mile area which has taken similar networks years to design and install. Jon Rust, CFO of Anaptyx said "Due to the cost and speed at which we were able to implement this network, I am confident it will become the standard for communities around the country."
Anaptyx has completed this installation for the Harvard Square Business Association, and has donated two high speed data lines to foster the growth of the network. "We are a community focused organization - to give back to the community and know that thousands of users will access this network each day makes all of us at Anaptyx ecstatic" said Tyler McNeil, Managing Director.
The HSBA will work closely with Anaptyx in the weeks and months to come to monitor the usage carefully. New units will be placed in the field, as usage demands and as user feedback warrants. Jillson stated that the purpose is to provide a reliable, convenient and efficient network to meet the needs and desires of the 8 million visitors to Harvard Square each year.
For more information about Harvard Square News, Events and local businesses, www.harvardsquare.com. Pictures available upon request.