Imagine closing a business deal from the charming sidewalk seating of one of Auburn Hills downtown restaurants, or sending an e-mail to family and friends from a park bench. Auburn Hills has gone high-tech to bring residents, business people, and visitors convenient access to cyberspace. Auburn Hills outdoor wireless network offers immediate access to the Internet almost anywhere in the downtown area.
The City of Auburn Hills’ outdoor wireless network is free to users and is accessible along Auburn Road. The Wi-Fi Network is supported through Tax Increment Finance Authority (TIFA) funding.
What you need to connect
A computer, pocket PC, or personal digital assistant (PDA) with a wireless networking card. Many modern devices are Wi-Fi capable. If yours is not, an 802.11b or 802.11g card or a USB adapter can be purchased from electronics stores for less than $40. Apple Airport is also compatible.
Any web browser, Dual-band phones, which work off standard signals as well as Wi-Fi, can use the system.
How it works
Access points have been placed in several locations to give you complete outdoor coverage no matter where you are in the downtown area. Access points transmit radio signals at a specification of 802.11. They communicate with your wireless device, as well as with one another to create a wireless local area network (WLAN). Access points relay your connection between them until it reaches the unit with a direct connection to the Internet.
How to connect
- When in range, your wireless device will detect the system. Choose “ah_freewifi” and accept the connection.
- The greeting page will appear with user links and sponsorships.
- If you have access to a virtual private network (VPN) to encrypt your transmission, first log on to “ah_freewifi” access point then launch your VPN software.
Words of warning
Eavesdroppers - The system is public, free, and unsecured. If your e-mail is not encrypted, sending a note about a dinner meeting is fine; sending your accountant your Social Security Number is not. Also, do not enter credit cards or other personal account information on Web sites.
Public Eyes - Your screen can be visible to passers-by. Surf sites appropriate for all eyes.
Protect Yourself - Update your spyware and antivirus software. Just like with any connection, you can catch nasty bugs coming off the Internet.