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Location : City Government > WiFi > WiFisecure
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Is Ponca City Free WiFi a secure network?

The wireless network recently completed by City of Ponca City is more secure than other networks such as cable modems, DSL, dial–up, or any free Internet hotspot used as you travel at airports, McDonalds, Hotels, etc. All traffic transmitted between Ponca City Wi-Fi nodes and the internet is secure and encrypted. The Ponca City Wi-Fi nodes are more secure than any other wireless or wired Internet providers (ISPs) you will use due to the technology used in this wireless network. These wireless radios do not allow one computer to see another computer and thus all network traffic is secure. This network was installed as an open and free network to allow all types of wireless devices such as laptops, cameras, iPhones, iPod Touches, etc to connect easily, but still remain secure and encrypted.

The mis-understanding is that when you pull up a list of wireless networks on your computer, Microsoft Windows list the Ponca City Free WiFi as unsecure network. This is not a statement of security but the way that Microsoft Windows reports a network that does not require a password. These wireless radios are of a high end commercial quality and are used in wireless networks, large and small, that provide municipal as well as public free internets, such as Philadelphia, PA. The Ponca City Free WiFi is built with the latest, most advanced wireless technology available today making it a World Class network.  If you have a Pepwave modem and want o make it more secure follow the
steps given by clicking here.

This network was created for Public Safety which by law, has to be secure. During testing, it was determined that the network was one of the most robust networks in the World by the vendor and suggested that we sell the extra Internet access to Ponca City residents. Your Mayor and Commissioners decided it would be a great benefit to the Ponca City community to give the Internet to the residents and thus Ponca City Free WiFi was created.

Ponca City recommends using a third party encryption tool like Symantec 360. if you are doing any kind of internet information transfer that you are concerned about.   Ponca City reccomend you use a tool like this on all wired or wireless internet connections through any provider as the Internet itself is the weak link in secure transactions. When you connect to a bank, a college, a school, or any other network on the internet and they create a secure connection using https: in their web browser address instead of the normal http: then you are double secure as that is another layer of encryption on top of the radio's encryption. Some businesses, school, and colleges use a VPN (Virtual Private Network) connection. This is also double secure as the VPN connection creates another security layer as well. On any network, wired or wireless, you should also ensure you have a firewall on your computer. One comes free with your computer you just need to turn it on or you can buy more elaborate ones like Symantec 360 at any local retail shop.

When you start a connection with your laptop or home computer to Ponca City Free Wi-Fi, your computer normally connects either to a Pepwave wireless modem in your house or directly to a wireless radio outside on a light pole. If you connect to a Pepwave in your house than all data from your laptop to the Pepwave is encrypted and from the Pepwave to radio outside is encrypted. If you connected directly to a radio outside than you cannot be seen by other users, laptops, or someone on the internet. This is more secure than using common DSL or cable type Internet modems. The wireless network allows no Peer-to-Peer viewing so every connection acts as if it has its own connection to the internet privately.  You still need to ensure that when you use any kind of sight that asks you for your credit card or other secret information, that web site starts a HTTPS: connection and not a standard HTTP: connection.  You can tell this by looking at the top of your Internet browser where it says what web site you are connected to and instead of saying something like http://www.website.com it should say https:/wwwwebsite.com meaning that you are usimg a website that has installed security and now it is ok to give your information.  Always know who you are giving your information to and not just any website that asks for it.

There are other cities around the world using “open” Wi-Fi networks today, including but not limited to Philadelphia in Pennsylvania mentioned above, Mountain View and Lompoc in California; Chaska and Moorhead in Minnesota; St Cloud in Florida; Amory in Mississippi…and the list goes on. The military also uses metro-scale wireless broadband networks to communicate (as you’re probably aware, the military has some of the most stringent requirements as it relates to security).

Karl Garcia, from Google states "Google Wi-Fi in Mountain View, California enjoys many thousands of people accessing the open or unsecured network daily." This is the same type of network that Ponca City has made available to the community.

From the Wireless Access Point to the Internet, there are multiple layers of security built in to the network itself. Accessing your bank account “online” is still inherently secure – whether you’re on a wired or wireless connection. How can this be? It’s because banks and other on-line transaction applications all are secured end-to-end (from your PC, through the Internet, to the bank) using technology called SSL or Secured Sockets Layer. Whenever you perform a transaction over the internet either wirelessly or wired, it is this technology that secures your vital data. Your web browser even notifies you when you're using SSL technology so you know your transaction is completely secure by switching to HTTPS as mentioned earlier.

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