Chattanooga, Tennessee is already on the map as one of the ‘smartest’ cities in the world, thanks in large part to EPB’s 1 Gbps FTTH network which covers the city. But Chattanooga wanted to take this smart city role up a notch, and is in the process of building a city-wide mesh wireless network.

A post updates us on Chattanooga’s mesh wireless progress. The city is installing an 802.11n network with equipment from Motorola to blanket the city with Wi-Fi. It’s a $30 million project, which so far has installed 220 wireless access points throughout the city.

It’s leading to a variety of new civic broadband apps including better control of the traffic light grid to respond to traffic flow. The police are also experimenting with 3D crime scene photography for better investigative tactics.


The network will be used for municipal use for now, but could expand to commercial use. Service providers are also turning to mesh networks as a competitive differentiator for their broadband service. Cablevision of New York is one of the more notable mesh Wi-Fi examples, but we’ve heard of many more, including smaller tier 3 operators also building community wireless networks.

As smartphones and tablets continue to become mainstream devices, the demand for Wi-Fi increases significantly. I suspect the mesh Wi-Fi approach will grow in popularity as a result.


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4 thoughts on “Chattanooga Continues to Embrace Smart City Role with Mesh Wireless

  1. Are we actually talking about mesh wireless here? Mesh = wireless repeaters creating a fabric, whereas both CV and HCTC's deployments are hub-and-spoke style. HCTC's is PtMP WiMAX, while CV's uses DOCSIS for backhaul on WiFi, rather than wireless.

    1. If you are into splitting technical hairs, than maybe these do not qualify as mesh. But in my opinion, the end result is the same – a broadband wireless overlay to parts (and maybe eventually, all) of your footprint, extending the reach and value of your broadband offer.

      1. Sorry about the technical hair-splitting, but "wireless mesh" equates to a very different topology than traditional PtMP. It's also a lot easier to do incorrectly, leading to inconsistent (or just plain slow) speeds for customers of the network.

        Of course, when done right, you get a comfy blanket (or cloud, as it were) of wireless coverage that extends across a large area and can be tapped by standard-issue devices rather than high-powered CPEs. But doing it right takes a bit of cash…

      2. It's important to get your terminology correct if you want to be taken seriously. I initially dismissed the article *because* the technology was described as a mesh network-which has serious issues as Ian L points out. This is not hair-splitting. If you mean they are extending wifi to the city's footprint, then just say that. Don't incorrectly try to sex it up by using a buzzword incorrectly.

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