Town Square

Google prepares to spiff up city WiFi

Original post made on Jul 16, 2009

The Google managers behind Mountain View's free WiFi say it's the most-used network of its kind in the country. And while Google has yet to make any money by giving away Internet access to local residents, the company appears poised to accommodate the network's future growth with new uses and new infrastructure.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Friday, July 17, 2009, 12:00 AM


Posted by T-BONE, a resident of Old Mountain View
on Jul 16, 2009 at 3:43 pm


Posted by Rombo, a resident of Old Mountain View
on Jul 16, 2009 at 6:57 pm

If Mountain View cops have to depend on Google Wifi than you can kiss your ass goodby!

Posted by Bob, a resident of Cuesta Park
on Jul 16, 2009 at 7:36 pm

Fry's is stocking a Buffalo device, to access Google wifi, about $80.

I have not this, but a funky Compaq with g and n, from an Airlink 300 port card.

Dual n cards are enough, but the Buffalo should work, or what?

When MVPD or any other wonky warriors start letting the accountants at their riot, we might see restored jurisdictions, not before.

The City Attorney and several councilmembers seem to have suppressed how the State was doomed to flop, and suppressed my testimony, since 2001, for revision of the yet enacted California State Department of Water Services Power Contracts, in bad faith, passing costs, globally.

And so, bailouts and illegally interested stimuli prevailed, all the way through the campaign, and thereafter! Guess why MTV's Jackass?

It's BACK, like STAR TREK, all about President Obama, just like Newman on Seinfeld is all about Councilmember Tom Means being an SJSU Professor of Econ who is shagging us, here in the View, all night!

What will Barry do for infrastructure, pray?

Posted by Bob, a resident of Cuesta Park
on Jul 16, 2009 at 7:45 pm

And before I forget, you should get AVG anti-virus FREE, Iobit dual care FREE, and run their updates, AFTER you start up Google Chrome, which gets to Google WiFi before most IE crashers can get to Windows Update.

You still get to keep IE, or you cannot run modern update to Windows.

If you have Firefox on Windows, you may be a mess.

So if you run Mozilla, have their OS working, and their Firefox tethered to keep cookies out, since you have to run AVG at it, day after day, to get Mo-cookies out of IE and Google and preferences, and then they cook back, in Firefox.

So whatever browser they have wants to be on Sun's OS, REALLY, or you get to eat Adimints. Good luck getting online and signed in, if Mo-cookies eat your mo-chine.

Posted by SonicPony, a resident of North Whisman
on Jul 16, 2009 at 7:46 pm

The story states that most of the Old MV area is not covered due to PG&E owning the the light poles there and wanting an excessive amount of money for Google to install their equipment on PG&E's poles... and your ability to use the service depends on how close you are to a light pole mounted access point in your neighborhood, not how close you are to Google headquarters

That being said, I agree with Rombo that in it's current state, If MVPD were to use this, you just might have to kiss your donkey goodbye! Keep the cell phones charged!

Posted by MV surfer, a resident of Castro City
on Jul 17, 2009 at 12:45 am

Oh, the MVPD will find the Google wifi works just great - until they try to use it between buildings, or in a parking garage, or near the edge of town... or anywhere except the on sidewalk near a light-pole node.

And when the google servers get overloaded, good luck making your calls.

Better hang onto the cellphones for now, and maybe keep the old 2-way radios for back-up!

Posted by Mtn View resident, a resident of Old Mountain View
on Jul 17, 2009 at 8:40 am

Dear Google, I for one, am extremely grateful to have had free WiFi the past several years. I am on the very border of the dark zone and occasionally cannot connect, but for the most part have been able to log on.
Thank you for bringing this to the community.

Posted by SP Phil, a resident of Shoreline West
on Jul 17, 2009 at 2:29 pm

For the first couple of years I was unable to pull in the Google signal because the nearest City-owned light pole is a couple of blocks from my home. Google declined my offers to install a community node on my roof. Eventually I paid about $400 to ExpressNets to install an antenna on my second-story roof, which is connected by cable to a Ruckus router inside my home, and I'm getting good coverage throughout my home.

Thanks, Google and ExpressNets. Goodbye, Comcast internet bill.

Posted by NW Resident, a resident of North Whisman
on Jul 17, 2009 at 4:00 pm

My understanding is that MVPD would only use WiFi for the data terminals in their patrol cars, since those terminals currently use cell phone networks to communicate. They would still use two-way PTT radios for emergency communications and cell phones as needed to stay off the UHF public safety radio band.

Agreed though, that even for data service the Google WiFi network will need to be much more robust to handle public safety traffic as well.

Posted by JP, a resident of North Whisman
on Jul 17, 2009 at 10:40 pm

I do not have $500 to set up an antenna or node to receive free Wi-Fi from Google. The Google Wi-Fi signal runs right through our property and I am unable and have never been able to connet to this so called free wi-fi.

Posted by Jenny, a resident of North Whisman
on Jul 18, 2009 at 8:15 pm

Thank you google for bringing free wireless to the city. I am a very proud and happy resident and homeowner of Mountain View. I got a Ruckus wifi router, ever since, I kissed good bye to Comcast / ATT. Can't be happier.

Posted by steve, a resident of another community
on Jul 18, 2009 at 8:42 pm

I live Old Middlefield way between Independence and San Antonio Rd right across 101 from Google and have never been able to get Google WiFi.. I even emailed them about the problem and they said they were going to look into it, that was a few years ago.. They Suck!!!!!

Posted by Peter Langlotz, a resident of Shoreline West
on Jul 19, 2009 at 12:19 am

When will Internet be universally accessible anywhere from any laptop for instance and totally free? It seems to me we could get coverage as good or better than cell phones if all the resources of all the high tech companies got pulled together [maybe greed is the primary factor preventing this? &

Posted by Commander Taco, a resident of Whisman Station
on Jul 19, 2009 at 1:35 am

I wish Google will install WiFi in Whisman Station. There are so many Google employees living here and the rates from Comcast and Pacbell are ridiculus. Please Google, come install your WiFi here :-)

Posted by Whisman Parkman, a resident of Whisman Station
on Jul 19, 2009 at 1:37 am

You should install it in Whisman Park in Whisman Station. It's a public park, so I am surprised Google is not installing here.

Posted by Bill Lee, a resident of Old Mountain View
on Jul 19, 2009 at 10:02 am

Why are people so negative about a free service?

Posted by Bill T, a resident of Shoreline West
on Jul 19, 2009 at 1:30 pm

I bought the Buffalo device at Fry's but was never able to get it to connect to Google wifi. I took it back. I have never had any success in connecting to Google wifi. I wish I could. It would save me nearly $50 every month (I currently have Comcast internet).

Posted by Steve, a resident of Castro City
on Jul 19, 2009 at 4:37 pm

What time is the meeting on Wednesday, July 22?

Posted by Jaclyn, a resident of another community
on Jul 20, 2009 at 1:46 am

I refuse to pay for the high prices of Comcast internet so i use Google WiFi whenever I can. I live off El Camino, in Mountain View, close to El Monte and Miramonte and I get a decent signal. At times it is strong and at times it is completely absent. Not sure where the nearest node on a light pole is, but I hope they install one a littler closer. What is this Buffalo antenna people are talking about? Does it automatically increase the signal of Google Wifi?

Posted by Adrian, a resident of Monta Loma
on Jul 20, 2009 at 9:34 am

You get what you pay for - and sometimes more. It is, sadly, human nature to demand the most of what we take for granted - we think we are promised something (oftentimes, allowing our hope to inflate what we think we are promised - see the people living in non-served areas who thought the promise was that the entire city, without exception, would be covered, then see the partial list of reasons in the article why that is not the case), and if it fails to be all that we expected, so we are angered.

But again: you get what you pay for. As the article indicated, if you don't get service, there's a forum where you can ask ( - and you have to be persistent (as in, asking day after day); don't just stew in your anger and do nothing. This network already takes the volunteer efforts of a lot of people, who do not get paid directly for their time (the Google employees could be using their 20% time on stuff that gives them additional salary, for instance). You may have to meet the same standard, if you are to get access for your neighborhood (if you don't already have it). Yes, that means others will benefit from your labor without you getting paid directly for it. That's how it works (a specific instance of, "life isn't fair; deal with it").

Posted by Don Frances, Mountain View Voice Editor
on Jul 20, 2009 at 10:40 am

Don Frances is a registered user.


The meeting is scheduled to start at 7 p.m.

Posted by Bob, a resident of Cuesta Park
on Jul 20, 2009 at 11:16 am

1. Have a Google account and password, ready;
2. Have most OS and browser access installed;
3. Install Google Chrome as one of the browsers, keep it updated, and keep the maps and other Google and MSN junk out of your life and off your machine, and if you blow it, don't put up ICONs, and crash;
4. After Google Chrome, you must have Internet Explorer and keep it updated, if you also have a Windows Operating System, period;
5. Install Mozilla Firefox, and its updater, or the other browsers will stink up the universe with poor performance, forever and ever;
6. IObit Freeware offers System Care FREE edition, 3.1.1 or so, and if you run this, a LOT, you can stay tuned;
7. AVG anti-virus FREE edition from Major Geek or somewhere good will be mandatory, to boot up and update, AS SOON AS YOU HIT Google WiFi;
a. AVG updates well, only AFTER you engage Google, and you need it, to sweep, at the end of the day, as soon as you think you get to install a Mozilla browser, on a Windows OS, and somehow not catch and detain the legion of hostile tracking cookies, installed by Mozilla, in the course of its rampage through your little PC, when you let it clobber Internet Explorer and take Chrome out, just to kick it, so run that AVG in the evening, and you can pick up your session, in morning.

Posted by MV renter, a resident of Old Mountain View
on Jul 20, 2009 at 6:56 pm

I picked up one of those Ruckus WiFi modem as recommended by Google at the time. Hey, it worked! They were very clear about the limitations of the free system when they first offered it. I think those who use the Mountain View library are very happy it is available too.
Way to be a good citizen Google. Thanks.

Posted by David, a resident of Old Mountain View
on Jul 22, 2009 at 12:00 am

I live in downtown in their "dead spot" and am happy to not have their service. I really would rather have less radiation and more bees and I'm not a tree hugger.

Posted by Mr. Big, a resident of North Whisman
on Jul 22, 2009 at 5:23 am

Thx Google for the free WIFI.

For those of you trying to use a laptop or PC indoors, you need to upgrade your WIFI modem (don't rely on the built-in one).

You don't need to spend $500 for it either, it should cost you between $60-100.

Got to Expressnets (they are local, go pick it up) and buy a 200mW or greater USB WIFI device:
Web Link
Scroll down to the bottom of the page (~$60). You could probably go online and find more powerful devices, but these guys are local and know the Google WIFI system and you can return the devices if you are too far from a node.

If you want to get an even better connection, buy a directional antenna booster ($40 @ Expressnets or $10 for an Airlink at Fry's).

For those truly far from a node, you might try adding a Cantenna directional antenna ($40 @ Fry's to a 200mW or greater device).

Web Link

Web Link

If you can't connect with a 200mW or 400mW WIFI modem and a Cantenna, then you are not getting on. You will have to stick with DSL or Cable.

Posted by Jack, a resident of Cuesta Park
on Jul 22, 2009 at 10:04 am

Google Wi-Fi is unreliable. I can't even get it when sitting under a light pole with one of their hideous antennas attached. Weak signal that drops all the time...bleh, useless.

Posted by hstate, a resident of Shoreline West
on Jul 22, 2009 at 11:04 am

Google wifi is a joke. Weak signal, frequent drops. I live line of sight of three wifi relays and can't get an IP address, even with an amplifier.

Posted by lord fogg, a resident of Blossom Valley
on Jul 22, 2009 at 6:48 pm

big bohter and the holding company is comeing soon.the police state is comeing. welcome big bother now in mt.view is now a police state.

Posted by Bobby, a resident of Whisman Station
on Jul 22, 2009 at 9:19 pm

Definitely need to get this wifi into Whisman Station. It's a huge neighborhood.

Posted by Michael Jackson, a resident of Old Mountain View
on Jul 23, 2009 at 5:04 pm

Google has saved me several thousand dollars in the last few years and never raised my taxes. Long live Google.