Siklu provides WiFi backhaul connectivity for Baltimore’s Inner harbor

Historic landmark required unobtrusive system to support peak use by tourists and locals

Siklu provides WiFi backhaul connectivity for Baltimore’s Inner harbor

The City of Baltimore in the US now provides free WiFi at its historic Inner Harbor using 60 GHz radios from Siklu to transport the communications traffic. 

Siklu’s EtherHaul-600T (pictured) was selected not only for its ability to provide gigabit throughput to support peak WiFi usage by tourists and local visitors, but also for its unobtrusive profile.

When the City of Baltimore initiated a free WiFi project for the Inner Harbor, they turned to local experts Port Networks, a Baltimore WiFi service provider. The city wanted to provide visitors to the Inner Harbor with easy Internet access, but because of the historic landmark status of the Inner Harbor, creating an unobtrusive network was of paramount importance.

The City of Baltimore owns and operates a fibre backbone, but the fibre would not reach every WiFi access point in the harbor, and disrupting operation to lay more fibre was neither feasible nor economical. 

Port Networks identified millimeter waves as the optimal solution, with their combination of high throughput and low interference. The provider opted for the EtherHaul-600T radio, since its compact size would make it far less noticeable when deployed at the Inner Harbor.

“The EtherHaul is literally palm-sized. It was the smallest radio we could find that operated in the 60 GHz spectrum,” said Carl Peterson, network manager of Port Networks.

The EtherHaul-600T provides gigabit throughput that can easily handle peak WiFi performance and is interference free. Units can be installed in close proximity if needed. It also keeps operation costs low by operating over unlicensed spectrum.

Port Networks installed the entire WiFi network, including the backhaul connectivity links. “Installing the EtherHaul-600T was very easy,” said Peterson. “Its small size and light weight make the physical installation very simple, and aligningthe link was surprisingly uncomplicated and fast.”

The network’s performance has been flawless since installation, according to Siklu. “We’re confident our EtherHaul backhaul will be able to handle anything Baltimore’s WiFi network can throw at it,” said Ilan Moshe, head of Siklu’s North American operations. “The EtherHaul-600T has proven performance under peak WiFi conditions, even in situations where the upload rate greatly exceeds the download rate.” 

Port Networks, impressed by the EtherHaul-600T's performance, is planning to incorporate additional Siklu radios in its other WiFi connectivity networks. “Adding Siklu radios will allow us to easily boost our network capacity,” explained Peterson. 

Siklu will be showcasing the EtherHaul-600T gigabit radio at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona March 2-5, in Hall 2, stand 2D50.

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