ResourcesNet, MetroMesh and free wifi in Perth

When ResourceNet was announced last month, I was a little suprised. I did not expect a free wifi ser­vice to be launched without so quietly and to cover such a large area of Perth’s cent­ral busi­ness dis­trict (CBD). I also wondered how Met­roMesh a com­mer­ical pro­vider of wifi over most of Perth’s CBD would react to the com­pet­i­tion. These ques­tion where answered at a West Aus­tralian Inter­net Asso­ci­ation break­fast sem­inar with rep­res­ent­at­ives of both ResourceNet and MetroMesh.

Depend­ing on how cyn­ical you are, ResourceNet was setup by the Cham­ber of Min­er­als and Energy West­ern Aus­tralia with fund­ing provided by three big min­ing com­pan­ies to:

  • Get good PR, give some­thing back to people from West­ern Aus­tralia as part of the min­ing boom and to help revital­ise a part of the city that is very quiet out­side busi­ness hours.
  • As the quick­est and easi­est way to mark the area of the city that includes the headquar­ters of most major min­ing com­pan­ies the Resource Quarter.
  • To allow employ­ees of these min­ing com­pan­ies and oth­ers, access to inter­net ser­vices such as web­mail and social net­work­ing sites nor­mally blocked by their cor­por­ate net­works, dur­ing lunch and other breaks.

Whatever you think of the reason why it was done, it is a pretty impress­ive pub­lic net­work, cov­er­ing a num­ber of city blocks includ­ing 70 res­taur­ants and cafes, a few bars and 7 pub­lic open spaces with seat­ing. The speed is reas­on­able 256kps both up and down (though it could be restric­ted to 128kps if it is heav­ily used). While access is restric­ted to cas­ual users, it is not inten­ded as a replace­ment for your own broad­band con­nec­tion or com­mer­cial use of met­romesh, users should be able to get a couple of hours a day of reg­u­lar web use if you live or work in the area.

Resources­Net was setup in part­ner­ship with Met­roMesh, using a num­ber of their exis­it­ing wifi nodes and done in 20 days. Which was why nobody heard any rumours.

The tech­nical talk from Met­roMesh was inter­est­ing, the prob­lems of providng wifi 30 storeys up, the chal­lenges arising from the rapid build­ing cycle cur­rently hap­pen­ing in Perth. How people in South Perth and Vic­toria Park can get a sig­nal. And suc­cess stor­ies from Ger­man boat engin­eers, QANTAS pilots, the Peugeot WRC team and the Nin­ga­loo Reef Cara­van Park.

With my mobile broad­band I have never needed to use Met­romesh, how­ever I had heard have only heard pos­it­ive things about them from jeal­ous inter­state vis­it­ors. As for Resources­Net, that is not my side of town, I would like it cover a little more of the Perth CDB and bey­ond, like just over the rail­way line to the Cul­tural Centre. But I would like to thank the the Cham­ber of Min­er­als and Energy West­ern Aus­tralia and the big min­ing com­pan­ies for provid­ing Resources­Net it will be help­ful to a num­ber of people.

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13 Responses to “ResourcesNet, MetroMesh and free wifi in Perth”

  1. Ruth Ellison Says:

    That’s very cool. Perth really seems to be pick­ing up in the whole internet/web space. Another reason why hubby wants us to move back to Perth ASAP!!!

    By the way, I can’t seem to can’t the first link to work (the announce­ment). I think it requires a log in as well?

  2. nick Says:

    Ruth, the first link does not require a login, it needed me to cut and paste a URL cor­rectly. All fixed now.

  3. Matty Says:

    ResourceNet is not access­ible to the pub­lic. I went down Hay street, west of Wil­liam Street and went as far as the post office and I sat on a bench out­side. I found the SSID “resourceNET” and attemp­ted to con­nect. It wouldn’t allow me to con­nect at all. The Sig­nal Strength was 75% so I don’t see why it shouldn’t have worked if it was Open-Access Free Wifi. I couldn’t see any encryp­tion on the net­work either. So maybe they’re MAC-address filtering?

  4. nick Says:

    Matty, ResourceNet should be access­ible to the pub­lic, as I said I have not tried.

    When you first con­nect to ResourceNet you need to open up a browser and accept the terms and con­di­tions of use. This may involve set­ting up an account. If this is not hap­pen­ing you should con­tact Met­roMesh as they handle sup­port for ResourceNet and if you can not con­nect to ResourceNet you prob­ably can not con­nect to Met­roMesh either, and they would like to know why?

    I believe they do MAC-address fil­ter­ing, but only of people who abuse the system.

  5. Chris Morgan Says:

    Hi there,

    Just like to thank you on behalf of met­romesh and aCure Tech­no­lo­gies for your post on our wire­less net­work sys­tem in the Perth CBD. You are cor­rect in the fact that we have a wire­less access point in the cara­van park at Nin­ga­loo Reef. You may also be inter­ested to know that we also have a wire­less sys­tem set up in New­castle, New South Wales in Hamilton, we also have a net­work sys­tem being installed in Fre­mantle, WA, with cur­rently 2 act­ive nodes.

    I’d also like to take the oppor­tun­ity to cla­rify the con­cerns about the Resources­net sec­tion of met­romesh . This is an open net­work and there are only really 2 things you need to be able to access the net­work. A: you obvi­ously require a wire­less net­work card installed in your com­puter and there­fore have it turned on, and B: your win­dows fire­wall, or any fire­wall, switched off, as it con­flicts with the net­work set­tings and will not allow you to access anything.

    I would like to once again thank you for your sup­port of this network.

    Chris Mor­gan
    Net­work Engin­eer
    aCure Tech­no­logy Pty Ltd

    Email: ChrisM@acure.com.au
    Phone: (08) 9201 9151 Fax: (08) 9201 9215
    Web: http://www.acure.com.au and http://www.metromesh.com.au

  6. j konig Says:

    May I ask why wasn’t there any publicity/campaigns/adverts in releas­ing such great service?..in my opin­ion, it’ll be nice for perth goers to know that they can access the inter­net for free…but they will not know…and instead they’ll goto an inter­net cafe and pay $6phr..
    And also now, will their be any plans for future extensions(extending the wifi range) for fur­ther west to fur­ther east? or per­haps cov­er­age of the Perth Esplanade Bus­port & Con­ven­tion Centre?

    well keep up the good work guys

  7. Nick Says:

    Jeff, there was a little pub­li­city when ResourceNet went live, but has been little since then rely­ing on word of mouth and people dis­cov­er­ing the service.

    The same with Met­roMesh, not a lot of pub­li­city loc­ally that I have found. Still a lot of east­ern state vis­it­ors know about it.

    Altern­at­ive to ResourceNet or pay­ing $6 or more for an hour of inter­net access. There is free wifi in a few cafes in Perth, my recom­mend­a­tion is Tiger Tiger, great cof­fee, addi­cit­ive chocol­ate fudge. You can also use Met­roMesh com­mer­cial wifi ser­vice, which is a pay as you go ser­vice which cov­ers most Perth CBD. And if you do not have a com­puter head to the State Lib­rary you can get access to a com­puter and the inter­net for free.

    As for free wifi at the con­ven­tion centre, unless the con­ven­tion centre decides to do it, I don’t think it will hap­pen. Who else would have an interest in provid­ing free wifi access to the con­ven­tion centre?

    There will be more free wifi in Perth soon, just not in the dir­ec­tions you asked about. Stay tuned for more inform­a­tion in the next couple of weeks.

    ps I do not work for Met­roMesh or ResourceNet

  8. ben Says:

    i have an iphone and live in fre­mantle and am hav­ing great prob­lems con­nect­ing to wifi through it any suggestions?

  9. Simon Says:

    Ive tried con­nect­ing to resources­net many many times.…. only once did it ever con­nect, but then timed out on google.com.au. I have no troubles con­nect­ing to any other wire­less net­works mind.

    Doesnt seem to be of any use.

  10. Grant Says:

    I too have tried to con­nect to ResourceNet. I live near Mil­ligan st, and get a 55% sig­nal strength to ResourceNet, but I can never actu­ally con­nect and get an IP address.

  11. Nick Says:

    Grant what OS/browser combo are you using. Vista has a few prob­lems, espe­cially when laptop man­u­fac­tur­ers add own wire­less device man­ager on top of Vista’s.

    Inter­net Explorer on Win­dows Mobile 6 does not work with MetroMesh/ENABLEnet/ResourceNet authentication.

  12. Nicky Says:

    I can con­nect to met­romesh and browse with no prob­lems but couldn’t even find Resources­Net. I am using an iphone, by the way.

  13. Nick Says:

    Nicky, ResourceNet cov­er­age is/was lim­ited to St Georges Ter­race, from Wil­liam Street up to the freeway.

    I have heard rumours that the Cham­ber of Min­er­als and Energy might not be renew­ing the con­tract for ResourceNet. But that was from a third party and see­ing I do not visit that part of the city, I don’t know if ResourceNet is still cur­rently operational.

    Your iPhone will find and con­nect to Resources­Net if you are in the right loc­a­tion and it is still oper­a­tional. Other choices, pay for Met­roMesh, visit Tiger, Tiger and get the pass­word with your cof­fee or chocol­ate fudge or go to the Cul­tural Centre and use ENABLEnet.

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