Ruckus Wireless and managed services provider Pinacl Solutions UK have completed the installation of a high capacity, high-speed, Ruckus Smart Wi-Fi network for the City of York. The city centre Wi-Fi network has already received one million hits in its first three months of operation.
The City of York Council needed reliable Wi-Fi meshing, simple deployment, small, aesthetically pleasing form factor access points (APs) to blend in with the historic architecture, high capacity per AP, and an extended range to reduce its capex.
As the council’s managed services provider, Pinacl investigated solutions which would recede into the background and be as unobtrusive as possible given the listed buildings requirement. It selected Ruckus ZoneFlex 7363 dual-band (2.4GHz and 5Ghz) indoor 802.11n mid-range APs.
The APs feature Ruckus BeamFlex adaptive antenna technology, which provides reliable, consistent, high-performance coverage, while the Ruckus ZoneDirector management platform was deployed to control and monitor service delivery and performance.
The City of York gets around seven million visitors a year and, prior to the latest deployment, was an already well-connected city with the largest metro fibre network in the UK, providing gigabit connections to nearly 200 locations. The city council views Wi-Fi as a key enabler of a thriving business community, and an essential service for its millions of visitors and its residents as well as a key driver for council information services.
Roy Grant, head of ICT, City of York Council, said: “With an outdoor focus, this deployment evolved to encompass a city centre Wi-Fi solution that would light up key hotspots in the city centre, with a view to joining them together to provide complete Wi-Fi coverage across as much of the city as possible. With that in mind, one of our key requirements was for scalability so that we can avoid having to reinvest in core infrastructure in the future. We also wanted to provide an easy way for residents, visitors and businesses to access the council’s wide range of information services.”
Mark Lowe, director of major accounts, Pinacl Solutions, said: “The Ruckus solution is straightforward to deploy and manage, and did not require a significant degree of training for our engineers. The Ruckus equipment supports mesh operation, which meant, in the majority of cases, we only needed to provide power to the device — no cabled network connection was necessary, which meant there was minimal disruption to the city’s infrastructure.”
Grant added: “The things that set the Ruckus solution above its competitors are its minimal impact on the environment, its scalability, and the way it offers very granular management so we can actually improve the user experience without negatively affecting power consumption. Ruckus access points are very self-aware so they can adjust their power consumption automatically.”
He concluded: “The Ruckus equipment gave us a great experience from day one. It has supported and improved our flexible working aspirations and opened up another channel of access for our customers, citizens, visitors and the business community. To communicate directly with the council they can use the Wi-Fi through a smartphone application to log complaints, post requests or log on for the services we provide. It’s a tremendous, comprehensive solution that we’re satisfied with.”
The ease of installation of the Ruckus equipment directly addressed the Council’s requirement for rapid fitting – all three city centre sites were installed, up and running in the space of a few days, primarily using the city’s lamp-posts as they already have an accessible power supply. With over one million hits in the first three months, not one of them has resulted in a complaint from users, the Council reported.