A crowd gathered beneath us, about 14 stories below, wondering what we were doing. However, after we mounted the Wi-Fi radio, they happily realized what was taking place: Wi-Fi was coming to the Elevated Acre at 55 Water Street.
My name is Henry Quintin, President of Sky-Packets, the Wi-Fi provider that has been working with the Downtown Alliance to provide free Wi-Fi hot spots in Lower Manhattan.
As we wrapped up our 10th hotspot, I wanted to describe what it takes to provide this cool amenity.
First, we needed to select an area to provide Wi-Fi.
In this case, we chose the Elevated Acre, which was a pretty easy decision because it’s a great place to get away from the noise and every day hustle and bustle New Yorkers deal with everyday. It’s a quiet retreat – even if only for a lunch or a quick view of the East River and the landing helicopters.
What also made it an appealing choice was the fact that the Downtown Alliance – as part of the River To River Festival – hosts movie nights during the summer (In fact, there’s another one this Thursday, Auntie Mame.) I’ve seen the crowds on those nights, and so it only made sense to get Wi-Fi up and running before this summer’s first showing last week.
Second, we needed to come up with a way to shoot a Wi-Fi signal to the Acre and cover as much area as possible, so that no matter where you find a little haven you can have a strong enough signal to Tweet, post a status update on Facebook, or just surf the web.
We already had an existing internet connection because of the Wi-Fi we already provided at the adjacent Vietnam Veteran’s Memorial Plaza, but worried that by adding this new coverage area that we would decrease the effectiveness of both hotspots.
Fortunately, the Downtown Alliance stepped in to help so we could triple the bandwidth – making sure both sides of the Elevated Acre are appropriately covered.
Third was the installation. The existing lines at the adjacent hotspot weren’t enough, so we needed to find the right view of the Elevated Acre from the building at 55 Water Street. This proved challenging.
That was how we ended up standing 14 stories up on a narrow ledge testing signals.
It worked. We were able to mount the Wi-Fi radio and aim in downward to cover a wide portion of the Elevated Acre. And, just to be sure we covered every nook and cranny, we mounted another unit at ground level.
Thankfully, despite the high-wire act, no one was injured in the creation of this Wi-Fi hotspot.
With all of the above accomplished, we walked around with our handhelds, checking to make sure that a “good” to “excellent” signal was available at all spots on the Elevated Acre.
But there’s one more task. That’s for you to go out and try it out during your lunch break or a visit downtown. How are you going to use the Wi-Fi at the Elevated Acre?
However you end up using it, Happy Surfing!!