Aruba Networks is enabling a free public Wi-Fi network in Cambridge, UK, as part of a year-long trial launched by Connecting Cambridgeshire and The University of Cambridge, which was up and running in time for the arrival of the Tour de France on Monday 7 July 2014.
The free Wi-Fi will allow people to stay connected with friends, work or study on the move and share experiences of events such as the Tour de France. Supplied by Aruba Networks, the service is being provided through BskyB-owned The Cloud, which has over 22,000 hotspots across the UK.
Cambridgeshire County Council, Cambridge City Council and the University of Cambridge have worked in collaboration to set up the free public access Wi-Fi, which builds upon existing University networks to provide lasting benefits for the region. The roll-out in Cambridge marks the first step of Connecting Cambridgeshire’s ambitious programme to make free Wi-Fi more widely available across the county.
More than 20 new Wi-Fi access points have been installed on lighting posts, CCTV poles and public buildings at key locations including Parker’s Piece, King’s Parade, the Senate House and the market area. They include traditional looking lamp posts units designed by AV Engineering that have been specially engineered to host the latest Wi-Fi technology discretely - see photo below of lamp post unit next to white Wi-Fi access point.
Chris Kozup, senior director at Aruba Networks, said: “Cambridge has long been at the forefront of tech innovation and this development is a further example of this. Connecting Cambridgeshire and the University of Cambridge have recognised that in this always-on world we all expect connectivity wherever we are - it’s now an essential part of life for everyone.
“The roll-out will also further empower the always-connected, mobile workforce that we’re calling #GenMobile, boosting productivity for this new breed of worker. Providing free Wi-Fi over a secure, reliable network will be of huge benefit to Cambridge’s workforce, residents, visitors and students.”
Jon Holgate, head of network, University of Cambridge, said: “The University of Cambridge has taken this opportunity to invest in free public Wi-Fi because of the value of extending our existing University networks and bringing a lasting legacy for the city, which everyone can benefit from. This project represented an excellent opportunity to work closely both with University colleagues as well as local partners across the City to deliver genuinely innovative and leading-edge services to academics and the general public alike.
“We expect thousands of people will use the free Wi-Fi for the Tour de France event which will be a challenge for the network capacity, and the good news is that the service will still be available when the cyclists have moved on.”
Users of the free Wi-Fi can connect to the Internet by logging in, or registering, via a shared landing page on The Cloud, which will provide links to useful information and event updates.
Connecting Cambridgeshire is leading the introduction of public access Wi-Fi as part of the Government-funded Super Connected Cities project to improve superfast broadband connectivity and expand wireless technology in Cambridge and surrounding economic areas of South Cambridgeshire.
The University of Cambridge is investing in the network as part of plans to extend its existing education Wi-Fi networks to all Cambridge and Anglia Ruskin students, staff and visiting academics to cover open spaces such as Parker’s Piece (pictured below) and Jesus Green.