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Connecting smart cities the smart way

Michael Lok, Managing Director, South East Asia, Ruckus Wireless | Sept. 24, 2014
There is an emerging need and importance of Wi-Fi for modern cities, and here are some of the factors to consider for implementation.

Supporting Wi-Fi in an existing environment can be very challenging from a wireless performance perspective, however. One problem is that there is typically little or no existing networking infrastructure to build on, especially in structures that are decades old. Additionally, traditional Wi-Fi technology does not function properly in many indoor situations, where thousands of people gather and access the Wi-Fi networks. Third, big fluctuations in user volumes or cargo density can occur over the course of the day, dramatically impacting network performance. In the worst case scenario, Wi-Fi exists but connections are unstable, leading to low user satisfaction and the inability to support critical applications.

Governments, municipal authorities and service providers looking to build wireless networks in a Smart City context can now consider wireless LAN infrastructure that can handle dense public environments. They can consider Wi-Fi access points with intelligent capabilities to connect a high denity of smart devices and band steering technology can ensure the optimum connections for challenging environments, for example. What's more important, these smart city ready Wi-Fi networks should enable with built-in capabilities to analyse locations of the citizens, and drill time and predict citizens movement, so that they can plan resources accordingly.

Here is a list of questions to ask technology partners when considering Wi-Fi implementations in a Smart City setting:

  • Is the solution proven?
  • How many access points are required?
  • How consistent is the coverage over the day, especially during peak hours?
  • How good is network performance in locations with traditionally poor connectivity?
  • How is peak demand handled in high density locations?
  • Is the network easily managed?
  • Can accurate location based services, voice over WLAN and similar revenue-generating applications be supported?
  • How detailed are the analytics?
  • Can the system be easily expanded with third party technology?

Wi-Fi infrastructure that works well in dense public environments could benefit members of the public as well as industry, service providers, municipal authorities and the government. Technology providers must offer trials or other ways to test the equipment and survive stress tests. When large numbers of citizens are involved, deploying the best technology to offer effective services creates a win-win situation for all.


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