There have been multiple tall claims in WiFi technology over the years; the latest one being of a WiFi router capable of providing 2 km coverage.
Let us get our facts right. By public WiFi, we mean we are providing a WiFi hotspot to the public, who use their portable computing devices like smartphones, tablets, etc. to access the Internet.
These devices have limited capabilities. Obstructions like walls take away most of the capabilities of these devices. It is not about how strong your wireless access point is; it is about whether it can efficiently communicate with the client and deliver requisite throughput (bandwidth).
The smartphone has a radio built-in with limited capabilities. We have to consider the devices with average capabilities & not smartphones with super charged connectivity capabilities.
It would be a different matter if we are talking about outdoor CPEs. Those CPEs can drive more than 2 KM for point to point connectivity. People would easily get confused about point to point 2.4 GHz radio with the requirements of public WiFi.
We went out of the way and tested our theory with various WiFi routers commercially available in the market. There is a 25% difference between a inexpensive wireless router designed by us and and Rs. 14,000 Mikrotik wireless router with 16 dBi omni antenna in field conditions.
We have implemented a public WiFi solution in Koti and Mallepally areas in Hyderabad (where we have ground operations) and found out the hard way the parameters in delivering public WiFi.
By placing decent routers around 60-80 meters from each other, we almost get continuous coverage.
We have installed over 200 routers in our commercial beta implementation. Before we got here, we must have tested over 100 different WiFi devices.
( I would like to thank our vendors who have made a large number of WiFi routers available to us for 3-day testing purposes. We even felt bad for opening product packing and returning them in original package every time. Thank you.)