My hope was to use this thing to get the wires out of my house. At the time I switched to this (and still, I think) you couldn't get dsl without getting a land line. ($15 vs $60!).
My experience has varied greatly trending downward. (I'm in the green area). I picked up a Hawkings usb directonal adapter and pointed it right at the visible access point about 150 feet away. The utility that comes with this unit tells me I have 84% of the maximum signal strength. Key point; it never varies from that. (I wish I could get the strength in signal-to-noise terms but the hawking indicator won't read that way.)
According to that utility, if the access point could handle it, I could hit 54 Mbps but of course, it can't. (I found that I had to limit upload speed or I could overwhelm the access point to the point where it disappears for ahile - it runs better with that limit.)
Two things happen that are problematic.
First, some kind of load beyond the access point occurs that bogs this down to less than dial speeds (as tested to remotediag.com). Strangely this load happens most predictably after 10 pm but also erratically at other times. I have no sense that madcitybroadband is looking into this. They are content to rest on their disclaimer about how the speed can vary depending on other users (at 10 pm?). All through this, signal strength remains strong according to the adapter utility.
Second, the access point just loses its brains periodically and seems to be starting from scratch, requiring you to go back to the clunky "storefront" login that never passes you to your originally requested page after you complete the login. (I have to wonder if others are hitting this access point at greater-than what it can handle like I was.
I read the posted story and it seems kind of dumb.
1) If the implementers of this system are focused on signal strength, they are ignoring a separate problem as indicated by the post= 10pm load thing and the access points losing their brains periodically. This is not "trees getting in the way" or "poles that are too low."
2) I also need clarification on Twigg's point that no city funds have been expended. Does he he means that there were no expenditure for the installation of the network or only does he mean no costs are incurring in managing it as it currently "exists" or both. Inquiring minds want to know.
3) I heard that the city was going to use this structure for conveying signals and communications at one point. That cannot possibly be happening in a functional way right now the way this thing is working, can it? If not, What alternatives will become necessary for those communications?
I recall some pretty glowing rhetoric about this development at its inception. I'd search the madison.com archives for some examples except for the fact that I am keying into a notepad right now due to the fact that my link just went away.