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Perth expands public wireless network into Northbridge

Perth expands public wireless network into Northbridge

City-owned network now covers 50 hectares

The City of Perth has launched the second phase of its free public Wi-Fi network, expanding service into Northbridge.

The municipal-owned network now covers 50 hectares, including the Perth city centre and popular public locations and commercial areas. The City of Perth has plans to expand the network to more locations in the east and west of both precincts in the future.

“Our network has been designed with a strategic focus on activating public spaces and targeting areas with population driven business that support tourism activities,” City of Perth Lord Mayor Lisa Scaffidi said in a statement.

“Following the success and popularity of last year’s Wi-Fi deployment across Perth’s CBD, we wanted to extend the network to other parts of the city,” she said. “What makes our network special is its blanket coverage – users can now walk from the Bell Tower to Northbridge Piazza without being disconnected.”

Ruckus Wireless and Technical Services Group launched the network for Perth last year.

In phase one, up to nearly 25,000 devices connected to the network at any given time during the month of September, Ruckus said. There were more than 200,000 reliable network connections over the last 12 months, it said.

For phase two, Ruckus has set up outdoor access points on street lamps and furniture around the city, using mesh networking to connect the APs without having to lay additional cable backhaul.

“We chose wireless technology that could cope with lots of interference in a challenging and changeable outdoor environment,” said City of Perth CIO Jonathan Stoate.

It was important for the City of Perth to own its own public Wi-Fi network, said Stoate. “We own the user experience and it’s our own platform for innovation.

“We have already leveraged our Wi-Fi infrastructure to enable the WA Symphony Orchestra to stream the ‘Symphony in the City’ and the TEDx Perth event. In addition, it enables us to choose any ISP to work with in the market and that gives us amazing flexibility for the future.”

Several Australian cities are rolling out public Wi-Fi networks. The ISP iiNet has rolled out networks for Adelaide, Canberra and Melbourne and other Victorian cities.

Australians will also soon have access to a public Wi-Fi network from Telstra. The telco announced in May that it is building a national Wi-Fi network that will be free to its fixed broadband customers and available for a fee to other Australians.

In August, Perth won the IBM Smarter Cities Challenge award, including a US$500,000 grant. It was the fourth city in Australia to win the award.

Adam Bender covers telco and enterprise tech issues for Computerworld and is the author of dystopian sci-fi novels We, The Watched and Divided We Fall. Follow him on Twitter: @WatchAdam

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Tags wirelessWi-FiPerthmunicipal networkpublic Wi-Ficity governmentPublic Wi-Fi network

More about City of PerthRuckus Wireless

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