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Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Panel Recommends Wi-Fi System for City’s Parks

BY BILL KOENEKER


During a series of meetings, Malibu’s Telecommunications Commission has taken steps in evaluating the wireless status at various city-owned parks to make recommendations to the city council.
The commission, at a special meeting, met at Bluffs Park and was given an update by the city’s information systems administrator about existing wi-fi capabilities currently in place at Bluffs Park.
The commission was told that any changes to the current system would need to be incorporated into the plans for the new building proposed for the site. Parks and Recreation has plans to demolish the current Michael Landon center structure and construct a new two-story building on the site, according to city officials.
The commission agreed to recommend incorporating a wireless network system at both Bluffs Park and Legacy Park using solar power to provide continuous operation during local emergencies and for FEMA use during disaster emergencies.
During non-emergencies the wi-fi could be accessed by municipal employees working on the premises and for parkgoers to use without fees or registration, according to a commission report.
There was also a consensus to recommend the use of existing structures such as foul ball poles at the baseball diamonds, and street lights along Pacific Coast Highway to mount antennas.
The panel also considered recommending a radio frequency consultant, who might be needed to determine optimal placement of the antennas for complete coverage.
The installation of security cameras at designated areas around the parks connected to the mesh wireless system with monitoring screens at the new city hall, was also discussed as a possibility of use.
The panel established a priority for installation or use of wireless and decided to recommend Bluffs Park at the top, Trancas Park, Las Flores Park and Legacy Park..
Upon additional research, staff noted that mesh systems unlike conventional wi-fi or wi-Max wireless systems work through the deployment of a grid of radio repeaters and components that use solar power, require no FCC license and anchors on trees, poles and structures in the park and may include easements with right-of-way grants from neighboring businesses such as the city-owned Lumber Yard shopping center, the library and the veterinarian hospital, according to the report.
The wi-fi evaluation is ongoing and the same process will continue with research at Trancas Park and Las Flores Park during 2011.

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