Update: OPB discovers that Metrofi is crap unless you are Kristian Foden-Vencil ( or at the Thirsty Lion)

You can Digg this here

By the way, I like college football. So, after work yesterday, I went over to the Thirsty Lion to watch Rutgers “play” Navy. Amazingly, I was able to connect to Metrofi there and be directed to their lovely 1 megabyte Msn.com page on my cell phone.

Are they owned by Microsoft? They are in Mountain View (so why not Google?). What is the real relationship here b/w them, Microsoft, and the Shaolin shadowboxing Ruckus modem makers?

Below you will see my original post (which got some great comments/insight) as well as what MetroFi sent me…


OPB discovers that Metrofi is crap unless you are Kristian Foden-Vencil


From their article/story:

PORTLAND, OR 2007-07-02

It's been about six months since MetroFi first started building a free wi-fi network in Portland. So far, antennas have been installed across about one fifth of the city. By this time next year, the company says the whole city will be wireless. But the question is: How's it going? Can you surf the web from a street corner or log-on from home? Kristian Foden-Vencil dragged his laptop downtown to find out.

Metrofi Ad Van

"But not everybody has had such a positive experience.” —REALLY? There is a Metrofi node directly outside my apartment and no signal inside. On Saturday, I was at the Rogue Brewery with Eric Diamonds and Enigma. There was a node right there, we were outside, and Enigma had the new IphoneONE Bar… I vote to fire these people and give the money to Project/Personal Telco!

If you want to check the nodes where you live (and comment on your reception), go here:


You can find how close you are to a Node:
Click the neighborhood links below to download high resolution maps.
North | Northeast
Downtown | Southeast | Southwest

Posted in metrofi, opb, internet.


FROM Last night when I was able to actually connect and go to the lovely MSN home page:

Registration Confirmation

Hello!Thank you for choosing MetroFi! Now you can enjoy FREE Internet access from anywhere within our service area with access speeds up to 1Mbps.When using MetroFi, you'll notice advertising on your screen. These businesses are sponsoring our network and they are why your connection is FREE. If you find something interesting that is advertised, don't hesitate to click on the ad to find out more about the sponsor and what they have to offer. If you do not wish to view online advertising, you can subscribe to a fee based service for $19.95 per month. First Time Access Tip

As this is the first time you are accessing our network, you might find the following information helpful:

1. Now that you have registered, we're not going to ask you for your information again! You are now able to use the network whenever you like, from wherever you like, provided you are within our network serving area.

2. To ensure access for everyone, we do timeout inactive sessions after 15 minutes.

Connection Tip
Here's a tip for you as a newcomer to the network:

Laptop wireless cards have a limited range and work best within 300 feet from a MetroFi access point, with minimal obstructions. When trying to connect outdoors from a distance greater than 300 feet or inside a building, we recommend that you purchase a Wi-Fi modem. Our customers have reported success with indoor Wi-Fi modems from Ruckus MetroFlex. Click here for more information. If your connection point is more than 500 feet from a MetroFi access point or deeper inside a building, then review our outdoor antenna option.


If you have questions about our service, you may want to check out the following link before sending us an e-mail. We're trying hard to answer most commonly asked questions to save you time!


If you can't find the answer you're looking for, send us an email by completing the information found at the following link:


Thank you for choosing MetroFi, we hope you come back often!


The MetroFi Team

  MetroFi's FREE Wireless Internet is a great value! We are committed to continuing to deliver the latest and greatest in wireless technology. Thanks for choosing MetroFi.

MetroFi Inc. | 516 Clyde Ave | Mountain View | CA | 94043

, ,

0 Responses to Update: OPB discovers that Metrofi is crap unless you are Kristian Foden-Vencil ( or at the Thirsty Lion)

  1. BrianEnigma September 8, 2007 at 12:12 pm #

    I don’t believe they are owned by Microsoft. They do have a press release from last year announcing a partnership with M$, though: http://www.metrofi.com/press_releases-24.html

    A quick Googling of MetroFi’s management team and board of directors does not bring up a strong Microsoft connection (aside from one of the board is in a VC firm that worked with a company that M$ swallowed up.) But there’s hardly any indication that anything shady is going on.

    Most likely, it’s just another money-grab because people aren’t paying for the non-free service and people aren’t dumb enough to shell out $99 for an overpriced, crappy-ass WiFi “modem.”

  2. Julian Chadwick September 8, 2007 at 12:37 pm #

    agreed….i think the real point (for me) is that why?!!!

    you are in google’s backyard…they would probably have been down to support you with ad revenue and help with the set-up–IF you weren’t a jerkface company that isn’t serving the people it is supposedly helping (and trying to sell that modem).

  3. Bizill September 8, 2007 at 1:35 pm #

    I’m right off SE Belmont and I get a pretty good signal. Comes in handy when Comcast is down :-)

  4. doretta September 12, 2007 at 12:27 pm #

    I think the thing you are missing is that there is no money to give to Personal Telco. The money being used to build the network is coming from MetroFi.

  5. Julian Chadwick September 12, 2007 at 1:20 pm #


    I am not missing that point. Personal Telco bid on that project and did not win even though they had a proven record. Plus, I’ve spoken with them about it as well.

    In fact, there is worse service (in my and other experiences–see comments from the earlier post) now in places that were formerly served by Telco but MetroFi has taken over.

    You can read all here: http://pdxpipeline.wordpress.com/tag/metrofi/

    or these two should work

    “Personal Telco/UnWire PDX Responds to the Current Metrofi Debacle”


    OPB discovers that Metrofi is crap unless you are Kristian Foden-Vencil
    July 2nd, 2007 — Julian Chadwick


  6. Stephen September 12, 2007 at 2:55 pm #

    Personal Telco has experience placing higher gain antennas inside of buildings to shoot signal to the outside. They have NO experience what so ever installing networkable gear on top of streetlights, nor do they have experience or the crew to do 24/7 maintenance on their nodes at this point. It’s just a bunch of techs having fun with their companies’ networks.

    I understand the frustration with MetroFi (my girlfriends place is impossible to connect even though she lives outside a node), but I also think you should be thankful when it finally starts to work and in the places it already does work. The cost on the city’s part was minimal and if you are outdoors on any part of their network and can see the node then you can connect.

    Just give it time, let them complete the buildout (which is what they are planning to do before they fix and modify access points) and then let them fix the problems.

  7. Julian Chadwick September 12, 2007 at 3:21 pm #

    I don’t think I am being unfair , and if/when it works as promised, I will put that up…here has been the course on this blog on metrofi

    –cool, we’re getting city wireless

    –metrofi won the bid

    –metrofi says they are up, check to see if you are near a node

    –metrofi has said they are up for 6 months now (opb post), but no one can make it work

    –repsonse from wireless pdx with their assessment

    –metrofi is rolling a big van(s) around portland advertising, but no one I know has made it work correctly (on for more than a minute) yet.

    –i finally connected (yes!) and they took me to a large page of microsoft ad (ehhh, why so big and why them?) and ruckus modem ad ($100 what? boo!)

    –the future hopefully: hey the metrofi node directly outside my place works, and the my one friend who bought the ruckus finally has a use for it besides a beer coaster/paper weight

    When it comes correct, I’ll be posting about it. But, I feel it is fine to call them out when they are emailing and advertising that they work and just buy the ruckus if not or the “premium plan” and the ruckus–that’s BS–that’s not what was promised.

    We were promised a free or nearly free wifi system (many companies said they could/would do it), and there are several places in this country that have made it happen–even here in Eastern Oregon it’s happened (2 years or more ago?)–without the Ruckus modem, the premium plan, the wait, and the Microsoft 1 Meg page.

    It just seems rather pathetic that Cuba (insert at least 15 countries and many towns/villages/cities/regions in the US) will probably have free broadband before us without buying a ruckus or the “premium”.

  8. Lawrence Knight September 12, 2007 at 7:57 pm #

    Tried Metro-Fi, bought the modem..node 250 feet away..lousy signal ..returned the modem for credit and went back to comcast broadband..nice try Metro Fi, I will wait for the TV broadcast wavelength broadband

  9. BC September 12, 2007 at 8:25 pm #

    While I can see a sometimes strong signal from a node in most of the places that I frequent in S.E. Portland, I have only been able to connect from the following locations:

    1) C-Bar (Only works at the third table from the door)

    Well, that’s not really a list… but then again, metro-fi doesn’t really work. For somebody like me that bumps around town in the afternoon, and see’s quite a few metro-fi connections, it’s quite ridiculous that I can only connect to very few.

    If you go to the C-Bar though, and you DO get a connection from the third table from the door, make sure you run Firefox with an addblocker plug-in. In most cases it will take care of the pesky banner.

  10. Michael September 18, 2007 at 1:12 pm #

    You can’t say that “no one can make it work”. I live in North Portland and have a node down the street from my condo. I regularly get 70+% signal and use Metrofi for extended periods with no more problems than I had with Comcast. I used them side-by-side for a month before canceling my cable….just couldn’t justify the expense of Comcast when I could get what I needed from the free service. Good luck in SE… :)

  11. Ben October 27, 2007 at 6:33 pm #

    I can see two Metro-Fi nodes from my apartment. One well within 200 feet. Both listed as “active” on the Metro-Fi node map. I can get 3-4 bars of reception from three different nodes. Still no connection. I even purchased the MetroFlex modem from Ruckus. Still no connection. I tried every different configuration and trick that I could find or imagine. Still no connection. The MetroFlex could barely connect to the signal from the bar next door. My wi-fi *card* can do that (though equally badly). So I sent my modem back to Ruckus and made a deal with my neighbor.

Leave a Reply