Rice students turn Houston home into super Wi-Fi hot spot


by Vicente Arenas / KHOU 11 News


Posted on June 29, 2011 at 5:39 PM

Updated Wednesday, Jun 29 at 5:57 PM

HOUSTON—If you drove by Leticia Aguirre’s home in southeast Houston, you would never know she’s hosting one of Houston’s newest super Wi-Fi hot spots.

The hot spot was created when Rice University students set up a new antenna outside her home on Quince Street. The antenna uses TV bands to deliver an Internet signal.

The students are currently trying to figure out how to deliver Internet to under-served areas that are hard to reach.

Tall trees that surround Aguirre’s Pecan Park neighborhood have blocked established Wi-Fi signals in the past, and many of her neighbors can’t afford traditional Internet connections.

Because of those factors, graduate student Ryan Guerra said Aguirre’s home was perfect for the experiment.

Rice offered Aguirre a free iPad and Wi-Fi service to help them test and develop the technology. 

"I got so excited and I was happy jumping up and down because I knew that it was going to help me a lot," Aguirre said.

Aguirre, 48, is currently out of work, but she said the service has already helped her get an interview.

What’s more, the powerful router at Aguirre’s house sends out a signal for 100 feet, so several neighbors can use it for free.

Rice is planning to establish eight more similar sites in the city.