Ruckus Wireless and Pinacl Solutions have extended the City of York’s high capacity, high-speed, Ruckus Smart Wi-Fi network, the two companies announced today (14 May 2014).
The deployment follows a successful pilot Wi-Fi network deployed in the city centre last year by Ruckus and Pinacl, a UK managed services provider of wireless, IP networks, and WAN services, that generated one million hits in its first three months of operation.
The extension to the City’s Wi-Fi network is part of its Super Connected City initiative to enhance its role as a great place to visit, invest, do business and harness talent. The city council views Wi-Fi as a central part of this initiative, providing connectivity to the 7 million visitors the City attracts every year, as well as local businesses, residents and students.
Roy Grant, head of ICT, City of York Council, said: “York’s goal to become the best connected city in Europe is now becoming a reality. We’ve had the recently announced private sector investment plans from Talk Talk, Sky and City Fibre to build a new fibre broadband network in York, we’ve seen the upgrade to some of the existing digital infrastructures though BT, VM and others, and we don’t want to stop there.
“Following the success and popularity of last year’s Wi-Fi deployment across York’s main shopping street, Rowntree Park and the Museum Gardens, we want to extend the network to other parts of the City. We want as many visitors, businesses, students and residents to be able to appreciate the vast benefits of a complimentary Wi-Fi service,” said Grant.
In order to provide wireless connectivity to visitors when they arrive in the city, the council wanted to deploy hotspots at the city’s strategic transport terminus hubs including the main railway station and its exemplar Park & Ride services.
Providing reliable Wi-Fi services on entry to the city means that visitors would be able to access the city’s information services and receive relevant local business adverts on the network; promoting the city’s offerings to the full.
The city also wanted to extend the Wi-Fi into areas that have traditionally attracted less tourist footfall, enticing people into these areas with the aim to improve commerce for the local businesses.
Pinacl, the council’s managed services provider, turned to Ruckus Wireless, following the success of the previous deployment, and the company’s track record in delivering innovative and scalable Wi-Fi.
Due to the challenging demands of the city’s English Heritage architecture, the City of York needed access points (APs) that would offer minimal disruption. They selected Ruckus ZoneFlex 7782 (2.4/5GHz) outdoor 802.11n access points, featuring Ruckus BeamFlex adaptive antenna technology.
This provides greater coverage and the ability to deliver stronger Wi-Fi signals to users, even as environmental conditions change. The network is centrally managed by a Ruckus ZoneDirector to control and monitor service delivery and performance.
“Due to its scalability and ease of management, the Ruckus network works in harmony with the city’s existing infrastructure and architecture. The network has been extremely popular with visitors, residents and businesses and students,” said Mark Lowe, director of major accounts, Pinacl Solutions.
“It has provided a commercial gateway for local businesses that can use the network to advertise themselves and target people with relevant offers based on their location. And some businesses have even been using the network to host some of their core communication services, as the network actually offers better and more reliable connectivity than their proprietary wireless connections.”
The City of York continues to deliver on the Super Connected City initiative and is confident that its Wi-Fi network will encourage international, national and local investment, seeing businesses both small and large grow.
The city plans to complete phase 1 of this extension to its Wi-Fi network by July this year when the City hosts the Tour de France. The event will create an influx of visitors to the city, many eager to receive updates about the race on their mobile devices.
The Wi-Fi network will be vital in providing the required connectivity to handle the increase in traffic seen throughout the event. Moving forwards, the city hopes to roll out Wi-Fi to the cover all areas of the city, with another two phases of the roll-out expected to happen within the next 18 months.
See also: City of York deploys Ruckus Smart Wi-Fi solution