The downtown Raleigh wifi, provided to you at no cost, is up and running. I’m actually writing this blog post while sitting on a bench on Fayetteville Street and the results are very satisfying. I have all my social media applications running just fine and checking my e-mail is pretty snappy. I’m actually quite impressed with the way YouTube runs and if you are patient, pre-loading HD video is not impossible. SpeedTest.net clocked the download AND the upload speed around 1 megabyte. That’s not bad at all for free wifi.
The real question is available bandwidth and how several users at once may slow down the network. A new user will find that multiple access points are spread out around downtown, the closest having the best signal strength. This should alleviate network drops during high usage but I’m curious as to how big the pipes are behind the scenes.
The wifi is available in the highlighted areas shown on this map from this pdf on the city’s website.
These areas make sense as they have lots of foot traffic already and open public spaces where people can sit down and use the internet. Fayetteville, Wilmington, and parts of Blount Street have the most walked on sidewalks. City Plaza, Moore Square, and Nash Square will always have congregations of people that can take advantage of the wifi. The Convention Center is an obvious choice as lots of business takes place here.
This is a great addition to make downtown more marketable.