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Norwich turns on UK's largest Wi-Fi network

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The people of Norwich should be enjoying the pleasures of free Wi-Fi today thanks to a project backed by Norfolk County Council and the East of England Development Agency.

The £1.1m project covers 30 square kilometres - most of Norwich city centre, outlying business parks, the hospital, and the University of East Anglia.

The network provides free access to public sector workers and the general public. But access is limited to 256Kbps so the network won't compete with commercial providers. Public sector workers will have internet access at 1Mbps.

Later this year, the service will be extended to 20 rural areas around Norfolk.

The network is a Wi-Fi mesh - 200 devices, mostly attached to lampposts, which have two radios - one providing network access to laptops, PCs and smartphones in range, while the other communicates with other mesh devices.

The devices then find the nearest of "nine WiMAX-class" upload points which then go to a 40Mbps internet feed at County Hall. The network was designed and installed by Synetrix.

Telabria Networks provided both the mesh radios and the WiMAX boxes.®

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