Ruckus Wireless, provider of Wi-Fi equipment and solutions, has announced the successful completion of a high capacity, high-speed, city-wide Smart Wi-Fi network for the City of York.
The City of York gets around seven million visitors a year and, prior to this 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 says: "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."
To address these requirements, the City of York Council wanted a pervasive and high performance outdoor Wi-Fi network to support public access and other municipal applications across three sites: the main shopping street in the city centre; Rowntree Park – an expansive recreational space including tennis courts, a skate park, children’s play equipment and a venue for outdoor concerts; and Museum Gardens, home to York Museum and numerous other historic buildings. Due to the sensitive nature of an environment characterised by a wide range of listed buildings, the council also specified that the form factor of the access points (APs) selected for coverage should be as aesthetically pleasing as possible and involve minimal disruption when being installed.
York needed reliable Wi-Fi meshing, simple deployment, small, aesthetically pleasing form factor APs, high capacity per AP, and extended range to reduce their capex. With Pinacl, Ruckus Smart Wi-Fi products and technology provided it all to create a reliable and scalable Wi-Fi network.
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. They selected Ruckus ZoneFlex™ 7363 dual-band (2.4/5Ghz) indoor 802.11n mid-range access points featuring Ruckus BeamFlex™ adaptive antenna technology to provide reliable, consistent, high-performance coverage, and the Ruckus ZoneDirector™ management platform to control and monitor service delivery and performance.
"The Ruckus solution is straightforward to deploy and manage, and did not require a significant degree of training for our engineers," says Mark Lowe, director of Major Accounts, Pinacl Solutions. "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."
Grant concludes: "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 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.
Rob Mustarde, VP of Worldwide Marketing at Ruckus Wireless, said, "The market for outdoor Wi-Fi in dense urban environments requires a new class of Wi-Fi built for capacity and reliability, which is able to address a wide range of siting challenges. Ruckus has clearly innovated in these areas, and in the case of the City of York was also able to offer an easily mountable, completely weather resistant small cell configuration with a highly pleasing form factor."
With over one million hits in the first three months, not one of them has resulted in a complaint from users.