City making wireless connection

3Com Corp. will announce July 17 the official launch of a project designed to connect the residents, schools and local government agencies of Rolling Meadows, Ill., through a common network using wireless technology.

The Rolling Meadows Metropolitan Area Network (RMMAN) project will integrate 3Com's wireless and telephone equipment to create a wireless connection among the city's buildings — including city hall, park district buildings and libraries — to improve interagency communication.

"We have developed a unique wireless connection between all the local agencies," said Michael Broccolino, president of Eswoosh.com, a technology consulting and development company based in Rolling Meadows and a 3Com partner. Connecting all these entities on one wireless network saves money by eliminating individual purchases for T-1 lines, he said.

In addition to the wireless network, the existing local-area networks of each of the participating city agencies will be upgraded to Gigabit Ethernet networks that will increase technological capabilities within their respective agencies.

"We have been trying to find ways to differentiate ourselves from all the other municipalities in the area," said Rolling Meadows Mayor Thomas Menzel. "We like to be innovative and creative."

The third component of the project is a new Internet gateway (www.rmman.org), where residents can sign up for free e-mail accounts, obtain information on public services and park district programs and download city forms, such as applications for vehicle registration and animal licenses. All of this information will be retrievable from any computer with an Internet connection.

"We wanted to give residents a place to access city information," said Bill Swift, manager of corporate donations for 3Com. "Eventually, we plan to give citizens the option of paying their water bill online, as well as many other things."

According to Menzel, the RMMAN project is a great example of a collaborative partnership between the private and public sector. "Everyone is going to benefit," he said.

The project is being funded by a $1 million pledge in products and services from 3Com. The network will be maintained by RMMAN, a nonprofit organization created by this project.

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