“The things we’ve traditionally done at home or at work using technology are moving into ‘third places,’ which are increasingly outdoor public places,” says Robin-Eve Jasper, president of the NoMa Business Improvement District (BID), named for the neighborhood north of Massachusetts Avenue in Washington, D.C. In response to this shift, the BID runs an outdoor wireless network to offer residents and visitors free Wi-Fi.
The NoMa BID chose Cisco’s cloud-managed Meraki platform because of the vendor’s proven track record and product versatility, says Otavio Thompson, a hospitality program manager who oversaw the wireless deployment. “The Cisco APs can be used interchangeably as repeaters or gateways,” he says. “After a gateway enables connectivity to the Internet, it automatically switches to being a repeater to maintain continuity of the network.”