Wireless Alexandria Provides Free Internet Access in Old Town

Page archived as of July 31, 2008


Wireless Alexandria Provides Free Internet Access in Old Town
Largest Wireless Internet Zone in the DC Metro Area

As summer weather arrives, the City of Alexandria reminds visitors of its “Wireless Alexandria” service.  The service, which began in April 2005 and was the region’s first free, outdoor, wireless Internet zone, allows any user with a wireless device in the coverage area to access the Internet at no charge.

“With the free trolley from the King Street Metro Station to the waterfront, and the new water taxi from National Harbor, there’s never been a better time to visit Alexandria,” said Alexandria Mayor William Euille.  “Wireless Alexandria is another great amenity for visitors that sets our City apart.”

The outdoor coverage area—the largest of its kind in the region—is centered on the King Street corridor in Old Town between Washington Street and the Potomac River waterfront. Coverage also includes Market Square and the City Marina. Depending on building locations and other conditions, the signal is available for some distance around that corridor in each direction. Wireless Alexandria is also available at all Alexandria public library branches.

In addition to serving as a convenient pubic service to users, the system is also intended to stimulate economic development and tourism by drawing people to Alexandria, promoting the image of Alexandria as a high-tech community, and providing City staff with the ability to test the feasibility of using wireless devices for government operations.

The service is optimized for outdoor use. Although some indoor users may be able to connect to the system, the service is not intended to compete with commercially available Internet service and should not replace existing home or business Internet access. The network is not secured, which means that sensitive personal or financial information sent across the network will not be encrypted. Commercial Internet service is more appropriate for these types of uses.

Wireless Alexandria is available to anyone using a "Wi-Fi"-enabled laptop or personal digital assistant (PDA). Wi-Fi devices (also known as 802.11 devices) can connect to the Internet wirelessly, without the need for any cords, cables, or special software. Many new laptops and PDAs come standard with Wi-Fi capability. Laptops (and some PDAs) without the feature can be upgraded inexpensively.

For more information about Wireless Alexandria, contact E-Government Manager Craig Fifer at craig.fifer@alexandriava.gov or 703.519.3468.