Red Hook Wi-Fi

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Red-Hook Wi-Fi
Mission statementResilience, Opportunity, Community and Social Justice.
Type of projectNon Commercial
ProductsMesh Networking
LocationRed Hook, Brooklyn. United States of America.
OwnerRed Hook Initiative
EstablishedNovember 2011
StatusActive
Websiteredhookwifi.org

Red Hook Wi-Fi is a free-to-use, Wi-Fi mesh network that provides free internet access to the Red Hook neighborhood of Brooklyn, New York.[1] It is operated by the Red Hook Initiative.

Background[edit]

Due to the location of Red Hook, Brooklyn, between the Red Hook Channel and the Buttermilk Channel, many of its residents face various challenges in accessing broadband service.[2]. A survey found out that many people in the area accessed the internet primarily through mobile phones and that over 30% of the population did not have broadband access at home.[2][3]

First Red Hook WiFi mesh network node (Ubiquiti Nanostation) installation on the Red Hook Initiative rooftop
Running (PoE) ethernet cable to install a mesh network node on the roof of apartment building north of Coffey Park

Beginning in Fall 2011, the Red Hook Initiative (RHI), a Brooklyn non-profit, approached the Open Technology Institute about collaborating on a community wireless network. RHI wanted a way to communicate with the residents immediately around its community center.[citation needed]

When the network was initially launched, it had support for up to 150 simultaneous users and ran on an open-software platform called Commotion.[4]

Repairing Red Hook WiFi mesh network node after Superstorm Sandy

Hurricane Sandy[edit]

In 2012, after Hurricane Sandy struck the area, and many internet and communication systems were down throughout much of the city,[5] Red Hook remained connected through its mesh network and the headquarters of the Red Hook Initiative became a hub for volunteer coordination, donation collections food distribution as residents came to the Red Hook Initiative's office to charge their devices and connect to the internet.[6][7]

Shortly afterwards, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) connected Red Hook Wi-Fi to its satellite system,[8] linking itself, the residents and the Red Cross into a communication matrix that could be used to find out about emergency relief, food banks as well as shelter locations.[9][10][6]

After the relief efforts had finished, a team led by the Red Hook Initiative continued to make improvements to the mesh network by installing nano stations powered by solar panels on rooftops around the Red Hook neighborhood.[11]

Though the Red Hook Wi-Fi project was already in the works before Hurricane Sandy struck, it gained additional media attention after the storm.[12]

In 2015, Red Hook Wi-Fi was selected to be part of the city's resiliency initiative — from a group of 27 finalists competing in the Resiliency Innovations for a Stronger Economy.[13][14]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Kasakove, Sophie; Williams, Tracie (29 January 2019). "Is New York City's Public Housing Ready for the Next Storm?". Retrieved 16 April 2019.
  2. ^ a b Staff (25 September 2013). "Local Connections: The Red Hook WiFi Project". Urban Omnibus. Retrieved 15 April 2019.
  3. ^ Burrington, Ingrid (31 October 2017). "What Happens to the Internet After a Disaster?". Intelligencer. Retrieved 15 April 2019.
  4. ^ "Do-It-Yourself Internet in Brooklyn". The Washington Post. Retrieved 15 April 2019.
  5. ^ "Rising to the Challenge: Red Hook Initiative". NYCEDC.
  6. ^ a b Kazansky, Becky. "In Red Hook, Mesh Network Connects Sandy Survivors Still Without Power". TechPresident.
  7. ^ Zandt, Deanna. "What Sandy Has Taught Us About Technology, Relief and Resilience". Forbes.
  8. ^ Masterson, Andrew (15 May 2014). "Meshnets serve communities when internet fails". The Sydney Morning Herald.
  9. ^ Cohen, Noam (22 August 2014). "Red Hook's Cutting-Edge Wireless Network". The New York Times.
  10. ^ Robbins, Liz (1 March 2016). "New Weapon in Day Laborers' Fight Against Wage Theft: A Smartphone App". The New York Times.
  11. ^ Dodd, Justin. "After Superstorm Sandy, This Brooklyn Neighborhood Reinvented Community Wifi". Inverse. Retrieved 15 April 2019.
  12. ^ "United States of America Global Information Society Watch". www.giswatch.org. Retrieved 15 April 2019.
  13. ^ "Mayor De Blasio Announces Selection Of RISE : NYC Technologies To Be Deployed At Sandy-Impacted Small Businesses Across New York City". NYCEDC.
  14. ^ Melendez, Steven (5 May 2015). "This Mesh We're In: Why Communities Are Building An Internet That's More Local". Fast Company. Retrieved 15 April 2019.

External Links[edit]