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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