South Beach now has free live WiFi !
Post date: May 19, 2010 3:23:59 AM
FAQ - Frequently Asked Questions
Can I use the network in my business?
- The City’s WiFi network should not be regarded as business-grade or for enterprises .
- The speed offered by the City’s WiFi Network may not meet the needs of your business.
How much will the service cost?
Wireless Miami Beach will provide FREE public access to all residents, visitors, and businesses across the City.
Will I need an account to use the network?
When you first connect to the network, you will be prompted to register for access to the network. You will be asked to create a username and password. Once you've completed registration you will be asked to accept the Terms and Conditions.
How will I know I've successfully joined the service?
Once you have registered and successfully connected to the City of Miami Beach WiFi network, you will be redirected to the City of Miami Beach WiFi Landing page when you attempt to visit a .com website. At that point you can create a username, log in to the network and navigate to your preferred web site.
What if I can't see a WiFi access point from my location?
You don't have to be able to see an outdoor access point to connect to the network. Most current devices with WiFi capability will display the wireless networks that are detected for connection. If you can see the City_of_Miami_Beach_WiFi wireless network, you should be able to connect if the signal strength adequate.
How do I set up a Mac?
If you have a computer with a AirPort card, you can see a list of available wireless networks, and then connect to one of those networks, no matter where you are. You need to make sure your AirPort Card is enabled. Review the documentation provided with your computer or contact Apple if you need help determining if your AirPort card is operational or activated.
- Open Internet Connect in the Applications folder
- Click AirPort in the toolbar.
- If you don't see the AirPort icon in the toolbar, you either don't have an AirPort card installed or it hasn't been installed correctly.
- If AirPort is turned off, click Turn AirPort On.
- Choose City_of_Miami_Beach_WiFi from the Network pop-up menu. Optionally, you can select the MBKIDS network.
- Click Connect.
Will my current internet applications and software work with this service?
There are no limitations as to which applications you may run. If you use your application with the Internet today, you should be able to use it on the Network.
How do I connect with a BlackBerry?
To scan for available Wi-Fi® networks, complete the following steps:
- Click Set Up Wi-Fi.
- Click Next.
- Click Scan For Networks.
- If prompted, click Turn Wi-Fi on.
- From the list of available Wi-Fi networks, click City_of_Miami_Beach_WiFi Wi-Fi network. Optionally, you can select the MBKIDS network.
- Click Connect to connect to the Wi-Fi network.
To save the Wi-Fi network connection as a profile, click Yes in the Save this Wi-Fi Network as a Profile field.
What is the coverage area?
The City of Miami Beach entered into a contract with IBM to install a citywide wireless broadband network, also known as WiFi (wireless fidelity).. The system was built so that at least 95% of the City will have outdoor WiFi coverage and at least 70% of the City will have indoor coverage up through the second floor of a building. It is important to point out that the limit of how high the WiFi signal travels is basically governed by physics and where the WiFi equipment is mounted throughout the City. There may be places where the signal may be received higher than the second floor.
There is, however, a way for high-rise buildings to distribute the City’s WiFi signal up to the higher floors that would be beyond the reach of the City’s WiFi Network. To ensure that everyone has the opportunity to receive a signal, the City negotiated a 25 percent discount on labor and materials for those high-rise buildings including hotels, apartment buildings and condominiums that wish to utilize IBM to bring the WiFi signal to the units above the second floor.
Should I replace my cable modem or DSL service with the City's free Wi-Fi?
Before making such a decision, the following should be considered:
- In many instances, a cable modem or DSL service subscription is going to offer much higher performance for Internet access than what you will experience on the City’s wireless network.
- The citywide WiFi offers best coverage in outdoor areas, and may not be usable inside some buildings and locations.
Aren’t Cable and DSL broadband services already available in most of the county?
Even in areas where DSL and Cable Internet access is currently available, it is cost prohibitive for many residents and businesses. In addition, these wired services do not support mobile broadband access, which has become widely used to provide efficient government services, and is increasingly important for residents, businesses, business travelers and visitors to our community.
What equipment do I need to connect to the network?
You can use any device that is wireless-enabled and has a web browser.
Most wireless-enabled devices will be labeled as WiFi Ready or WiFi Compatible. You will need a WiFi enabled device like a
- Computer - Laptop and some desktop computers include a WiFi adapter. If your computer does not have a WiFi adapter, your local home electronics retailer carries devices compatible with most computers.You will need an adapter that specifies WiFi 802.11 b/g compatibility.
- iPhone or iPod Touch - These devices are WiFi ready.
- BlackBerry - Some BlackBerry models are WiFi capable. Check with your cellular carrier.
- WiFi enabled smartphone - Check with your cellular carrier to determine if your device is capable of WiFi connectivity.
You will want make sure you have the latest device drivers, connection software, and web browser.
How can I be sure children aren't visiting internet sites with inappropriate content?
The City is providing a separate wireless network that is content filtered to block Internet content that may be inappropriate for children. If you wish to access the content-filtered wireless network, ensure that your computer can only connect to the WiFi network MBKIDS rather than the open, unfiltered City_of_Miami_Beach_WiFi wireless network. If you are a parent, guardian, who wishes to control which wireless network is being used by those persons using your computer, you should ensure each computer user has a unique and separate account and login configured to only provide access to the content filtered SSID.
For users of your computer(s) that must only access the content filtered network, access to only the content filtered wireless network can be restricted via the operating system controls found in Windows, MacOS, and other operating systems. Enabling this control and restricting access to deny wireless connection utilities and controls will permit your computer to connect only to the filtered network. Detailed information regarding establishing user accounts to control access privileges to your computer is available directly from Microsoft, Mac, or the maker of the device you are using.
Is there a firewall?
The City of Miami Beach has installed a firewall to protect the infrastructure and network components that have been installed. This firewall does not protect your computer.
Will it interfere with the WiFi network I already have?
Wireless signals do not penetrate building walls easily, and therefore it is unlikely that the City of Miami Beach network will interfere with an existing home network. 802.11 devices communicate on a variety of channels. Most equipment selects the clearest channel automatically. If you are concerned about interference between your network and City of Miami Beach network, you change the channel of your home access point manually.
For instructions on changing your home wireless network router channel, contact the equipment provider.
What are the hours of service?
The network will be available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. There may be occasional maintenance and updates to the network that may create temporary outages. These will be scheduled to minimize impact to users. Maintenance will be communicated via the City of Miami Beach WiFi web site.
What kinds of devices can interfere with the WiFi Network?
Because wireless networks share radio frequency with other devices, they are susceptible to interference from other devices. Wireless devices such as:
- Microwave ovens
- video and audio transmitters
- 2.4gHz cordless phones
- Video game systems
- Baby monitors
- Car alarms
- Some components of home security systems
How do I connect using an iPhone or iPod Touch?
To find the list of Wi-Fi networks,
- Tap Settings
- Tap Wi-Fi.
- Tap City_of_Miami_Beach_WiFi or MBKIDS to join the network.
Can I have more than one device connected to the service at one time?
- Multiple computers in a residence can be connected, provided each has a wireless networking card and is receiving adequate signal from the City’s WiFi network.
- The City’s WiFi network should not be regarded as a business-grade or commercially viable service for enterprises
Apartments, Condos, and multi-story buildings?
The network was designed to provide indoor coverage up to the second floor for a large part of the City. It is important to point out that while the network was designed to cover up to the second floor, in fact, the limit of how high the WiFi signal travels is basically governed by physics and where the WiFi equipment is mounted throughout the City. There may be places where the signal may be received higher than the second floor.
Will anyone have access to my computer after I register?
You are not granting or denying any specific access to your computer by using the City of Miami Beach Network.
As with any Internet connection, you should take appropriate precautions to protect your computer. You may want to consider installing commercially available utilities like a personal firewall, anti-virus, spyware detection, identity protection, and similar other commercially available solutions. You should also keep your operating system and networking software updated with the latest security patches and fixes.
The City of Miami Beach does not endorse any specific security utility or suite.
How will Wireless Miami Beach meet the needs of the community?
The goal of Wireless Miami Beach is to provide basic access to the internet for residents, visitors and businesses and to enhance communications by providing the access in almost all (95%) outdoor areas throughout the City, including our parks and most beach areas.
How does the network work?
The WiFi networking card in your computer or other WiFi enabled device connects to an outdoor WiFi device located near you. The device connects to other devices and a gateway to route your signal to the internet.
Why can't I connect from my location?
The network signals will be stronger outdoors than indoors. The signals transmitted by the WiFi network devices don't transmit through walls and other obstructions well. Limiting factors to coverage include your location indoors, how far away you are located from the nearest outdoor WiFi device, the construction of the building you are in, and interference from other electronic devices.
Similar to using your cellphone and moving closer to a window for a better signal, moving your wireless device or computer closer to a window or the outer wall of a building may improve your signal. Moving your wireless device or computer a few feet is the simplest and least cost way to improve your signal. A better signal will provide a faster, more reliable connection.
Are there areas that may not be covered?
Access may not be available in the following areas:
- Fisher Island
- Some beachfront areas
- Mount Sinai Hospital Area
- Third floor and higher in multi story buildings.
Do I need to be a resident of the City of Miami Beach to use the Network?
No. This is a free network for all residents, visitors and businesses in the City of Miami Beach.
Is the network secure?
The City of Miami Beach has applied generally recognized and recommended methods and practices to secure the infrastructure supporting the public Wi-Fi network. However, the communications between your Wi-Fi device and the City’s wireless network and the Internet are not encrypted WiFi systems set up for public access are typically not secured.
Encryption of the wireless connection from your computer to the site you are accessing for additional privacy is your responsibility. The most common way to do this is by using Virtual Private Networking (VPN) software or similar access methods. The same types of VPN methods you may already be using at Wi-Fi locations such as coffee shops, hotels, and airports should with the City’s Wi-Fi network.
Contact the organization or service you wish to access (e.g. your employer, financial institution, or other organization that requires secure access). The City of Miami Beach does not provide any particular VPN method, nor is any particular method restricted or blocked.
How can I improve my signal strength?
- How can I improve the signal I'm getting?
- Because the City’s Wi-Fi devices are mounted on street lights throughout Miami Beach, the wireless service has better coverage outdoors than indoors. Similar to using your cellphone and moving closer to a window for a better signal, moving your Wi-Fi device or computer closer to a window or the outer wall of a building may improve your signal. Moving your device or computer a few feet is the simplest and least cost way to improve your signal. A better signal will provide a faster, more reliable connection.
- Another important and usually free or low-cost step for improved Wi-Fi is to ensure your device’s wireless software and drivers are up to date. The best source of current software and updates for your laptop, computer, iPhone, Blackberry, or other smartphone is the manufacturer’s Internet website If you have no other Internet access, an alternative is to contact the manufacturer directly via phone, or in the case of smartphones and many computers, the store or service location for your device.
- It is possible to purchase devices to improve the signals to and from your wireless device or computer. These devices are usually known as Wi-Fi signal boosters or range extenders. Typically, they connect through a USB port on your laptop or desktop computer, allowing an external antenna and amplifier to be connected and placed closer to a window or outside wall. Examples of these devices are
- “Wi-Fire Wireless Internet Getter II” made by hField and available from the C Crane Company http://www.ccrane.com/antennas/wifi-antennas/wi-fire-wireless-internet-getter-ii.aspx or directly from hField http://www.hfield.com/the-wi-fire
- Several types of devices from QuickerTek
- Ruckus MetroFlex MM2211-DZ
- Pepwave Surf-200
- Several types of devices from QuickerTek
- NOTE: The City of Miami Beach has not tested these products, and does not endorse or recommend specific products. Successful operation using any of these products is not guaranteed.
How fast is the network?
The Miami Beach WiFi network is expected to deliver a minimum of 1 megabit per second (Mbps) connectivity, both upstream and downstream.
Can I use the City's WiFi Network for streaming video and music?
There are no limitations as to which applications you may run. If you use your application with the Internet today, you should be able to use it on the Network. However, streaming video and/or music is likely to work better on a DSL or cable modem wired Internet connection.
Is there telephone support?
Basic support for connecting to the network is available by calling the City of Miami Beach Wifi Network Call Center at 305-722-1917. You will have access to automated instructions for connecting to the network as well as access to an agent, if necessary, to assist you with connecting to the network.
Do you provide or support VPN client software?
The City of Miami Beach does not provide or support any particular VPN method, nor is any particular method restricted or blocked. The same VPN method you may already be using at Wi-Fi locations such as coffee shops, hotels, and airports should work similarly with the City’s Wi-Fi network.
How will the weather affect the network?
Severe thunderstorms and high winds can temporarily disrupt the network service.
What do I need to connect to the service?
All you need to access the City of Miami Beach WiFi is a WiFi-enabled device, such as a laptop computer, smart phone or other WiFi enabled device and a web browser such as Microsoft Internet Explorer.
What is the City of Miami Beach WiFi Network?
Wireless Miami Beach is an initiative to create a wireless environment citywide that is available for the free use of citizens, visitors and business.
How do I connect using MS Windows?
If you have a computer with a wireless networking card, you can see a list of available wireless networks, and then connect to one of those networks, no matter where you are. You need to make sure your wireless networking card is enabled. Review the documentation provided with your computer or contact it's manufacturer if you need help determining if your wireless networking card is operational or activated.
Connecting with a Windows Vista Computer
To find the wireless connection on a computer with a Windows Vista operating system:
- Open Connect to a Network by clicking the Start button , and then clicking Connect to.
- In the Show list, click Wireless.
- You'll see a list of the wireless networks currently available.
- Click a network, and then click Connect.
- Select City_of_Miami_Beach_WiFi. Optionally, you can select the MBKIDS network.
If you don't see the City_of_Miami_Beach_WiFi network, click Set up a connection or network. A list of options will appear that includes manually searching for and connecting to a network, as well as creating a new network connection.
Connecting with a Windows XP Computer
To find the wireless connection on a computer with a Windows XP operating system:
- Locate the ‘Network Connections’ folder in the ‘Control Panel’ under the Start menu.
- Right click on the ‘Wireless Network Connection’ option to view all the wireless network signals available.
- Find the wireless network named ‘City_of_Miami_Beach_WiFi.’ Note, you may see several available wireless networks. Optionally, you can select the MBKIDS network.
- Select the ‘City_of_Miami_Beach_WiFi’ option and click ‘Connect’ to establish your connection.