Around the World in 80 Nodes, 2009

By Wi-Fi Planet Staff

September 11, 2009

Beijing Science Park deploys WLAN; Wi-Fi drives innovation in tourism; RFID passport tags save time, risk privacy; WiMAX in North America defying global trends; WiMAX Gives Boost to Education in Pakistan; Venice uses Wi-Fi to manage pedestrian traffic, encourage tourism; Venice, Italy gets free, city-wide Wi-Fi, celebrates with Wi-Fi treasure hunt; and more.

Hi-Tech International Business Incubator (HTIBI), the incubation center at the heart of Beijing's Science Park, has deployed a campus-wide WLAN network. The new system, based on Trapeze Networks's Smart Mobile architecture, supplements the existing wired network infrastructure.

HTIBI is China's leading incubation center with headquarters located at the Zhongguancun-Jianxiang Science Park in Beijing. It has a global network of affiliates and gives assistance to more than 500 start-up companies across China.

"Trapeze Smart Mobile addresses the main issue in the HTIBI network infrastructure--extend network coverage in the campus where cabling work is not possible. The deployment is easy to implement and cost-effective. The deployment of the wireless network also allows for operation of VLANs with zero configuration installation, which greatly reduces the workload and on-going maintenance. The completion of the wireless network optimizes network resources and enhances the park's image as an ideal environment for technology start-ups," said Zhang Tao general manager of HTIBI in a press release September 8th.

HTIBI utilizes Trapeze's WLAN management software, RingMaster, to administer, control, and monitor their WLAN. The software provides information on the controllers' performance, monitors user access, sets blacklists and alerts, and overrides any rogue APs set up on campus.

"Tenants of the incubation park mainly consist of small enterprises. They are typically highly mobile. HTIBI therefore is required to update their user's network access and virtual LAN setting very frequently," said Tao. "Trapeze's Smart Mobile WLAN can help us to set up our tenants' access to the Internet and network resources anytime and anywhere. From an operational point of view, it helps us achieve unified management of the system and provides on-demand expansion when tenants increase."

The Wi-Fi network includes more than 30 Trapeze Mobility Points and three Mobility Controllers.

Users log into the WLAN network through a Web-based log-in page and users who log in with incorrect usernames and passwords are automatically blacklisted for enhanced security of HTIBI's WLAN.

August 27, 2009

Wi-Fi Drives Innovation in Tourism--From a game that leads you through the streets of Venice--and helps control foot traffic--to a Web-based audio tour of New York’s Museum of Modern Art, Wi-Fi can make information available to tourists in a variety of innovative ways. Click here for the full story.

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The required presence of an RFID tag in U.S. passport cards has raised privacy concerns, but government officials insist the technology is secure--and that the resulting efficiency at land borders is worth the risk. Read the full story here.

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Will North America continue to be the exception that proves the rule--a developed market that embraces WiMAX and sees it compete with more established players and technologies? Full story here.

July 13, 2009

Thanks to widespread WiMAX deployment, organizations working in Pakistan are able to create desperately needed improvements to the public education system there. Read the full story here.

July 7, 2009

Venice, Italy will also be using its citywide free (to locals) Wi-Fi network to help smooth pedestrian traffic flow. Working with IBM, the City of Venice is launching a three-month pilot of a mobile-phone-based initiative to guide tourists to the roads less traveled. The idea is to both provide instant information on lesser known historical sites, while also easing foot traffic, which can become congested in the most popular portions of the historic city.

Using its new Wi-Fi network (more on that below), visitors to Venice can use their Wi-Fi-enabled mobile devices to download an application called "TagMyLagoon."   Passive sensors have been placed at points of interest around the city by the Association of Tourist Guides of Venice. Users can interact with the sensors and connect with people  and gain information about locations using the Wi-Fi network.   "With more than 20 million visitors a year, one of the world's most famous cities is also facing increasing pollution, mounting pressure on a fragile ecosystem and an urgent need to manage the flow of visitors," said Michele Vianello, Vice Mayor of Venice in an IBM press release Monday. "Working with IBM, we hope that the TagMyLagoon project will help to address some of the challenges we are facing and make the city smarter and more efficient by using existing infrastructure to optimize our resources."  
The pilot project runs from July 3 to October 3, 2009. Once it is completed, IBM and the City of Venice will use the project results to evaluate extending the solution.

**

Reuters reported Friday that Venice, Italy is offering free, nearly city-wide Wi-Fi to residents, students, and businesses. Tourists and other visitors must pay 5 euros a day for the service.

"Ten thousand kilometers of fiber optic, a lot of hot spots, covering all the public libraries ... many European cities have Wi-Fi, no other has this kind of wide coverage," Michele Vianello, deputy mayor of Venice, who oversaw the project, told Reuters.

The news agency reports that the Venice city council financed the project with 10 million euros and is now looking for private capital to develop it.

The city celebrated with a unique wireless, digital treasure hunt Friday night. The Wi-Fi treasure hunt--"Whaiwhai"--is based on a plot written by author Alberto Toso Fei.

"Gaming as a way to rethink traveling and knowing ... we had hundreds of tests before releasing it," Tomas Barazza, managing director at LOG607, a start-up he co-founded with Fabio Salvadori, told Reuters. The pair created "Whaiwhai" (www.whaiwhai.com/), which won a top award in Italy for innovation in tourism.

June 22, 2009

The Wi-Fi Alliance will host the second annual Wi-Fi World Conference at the Wireless China Industry Summit in Beijing this fall. The Wi-Fi World mini-conference takes place September 2-3, 2009.

From a statement issued this month from the WFA: "With the increased momentum of Wi-Fi technology in China and a 26 percent sales growth increase to 387 million units worldwide in 2008, Wi-Fi is a topic of keen interest to Chinese technology companies, regulators, consumers, and IT managers alike. Wi-Fi World will provide in-depth industry discussions on what is driving today's mobile, always-connected world and the role that Wi-Fi plays in that experience."

Wi-Fi Alliance executive director Edgar Figueroa will give a keynote address. Panel discussion topics will include:

  • Wi-Fi in Enterprise and Large Deployments: Moving from the Edge to the Core of the Network
  • Wi-Fi: Indispensable Technology for the Digital Home
  • Wi-Fi in Your Pocket: Connected Productivity and Entertainment on Handsets, Mobile Internet Devices, and Netbooks
  • How Wi-Fi coexists with 3G, WiMAX, and other wireless technologies
  • Future directions and market trends for wireless in China and around the world
  • Future directions for Wi-Fi: 802.11n, very high throughput and vehicular Wi-Fi

The Wi-Fi Alliance will also hold a multi-vendor demonstration event of Wi-Fi device-to-device connectivity. Details and registration for the Wireless China Summit are available at www.wirelesschina-summit.com.

**

Like other regions marked by relatively undeveloped economies, Latin America and the Caribbean basin could be a bonanza for WiMAX. If regulators push ahead with allocations and other regulatory changes needed to foster growth.

The same WiMAX-friendly conditions apply here as in Eastern Europe, Africa and much of Asia-Pacific, namely low penetration of wireline broadband service—indeed, low penetration of wireline services of any kind.

Growth in wireline infrastructure with a few exceptions stalled across most of the region in the middle of the last century, says Juan Fernandez, a research director in Gartner Inc.’s carrier and network infrastructure group.

“Growth in telephony in particular has pretty much been in mobile services,” Fernandez says. “There are a lot of clients in the region with no fixed connectivity. So WiMAX plays well in that kind of environment.”

For the full story, click here.

June 17, 2009

Saudi Arabia's King Khalid University Hospital (KKUH), the teaching hospital of King Saud University, has deployed a high-speed 802.11n Wi-Fi and security solutions for PACS, RIS, and HIS applications at its facilities in Riyadh. KKUH is the largest teaching hospital in the Kingdom, with more than 800 beds and 500 medical specialists. The network, supplied by Aruba Networks, was deployed by ASACO-IT (Ahd Al-Saudia Company), an authorized Aruba partner in Saudi Arabia.

"The large physical size of our institution demands that we deploy a Wi-Fi network that could deliver uniform, high-quality coverage, but would not require constant attention from the IT department," said Dr Ahmed Albarrak, Director of Computer and Informatics at King Saud University Hospitals in an Aruba press release Tuesday. "Healthcare facilities are complex environments in which to transmit radio signals. We wanted the network to adjust itself, without any manual intervention, to free our staff to work on patient-facing initiatives. The Aruba network enables our PACS, RIS, HIS, and e-mail applications to run without disruption--at a patient's bedside, in physicians' offices, in the operating theatres. Regardless of where medical staff are working on our campus, they know they can access key services wirelessly--and this is all accomplished without any day-to-day impact on the IT department."

For more on Wi-Fi in medical settings, read "Wireless Hospital: Orlando Regional Healthcare."

**

In 2001, what was formerly The Whitbread Round the World Race became the Volvo Ocean Race. First conducted in 1973, The Whitbread was the longest, most demanding, and perhaps the most perilous sporting contest ever undertaken. Three sailors lost their lives during that first race.

Run every four years since 1973 and known as "The Everest of Sailing," the Volvo Ocean Race nee Whitbread has a Wi-Fi element this time around.

This week, when Leg 9 finishes in Stockholm, all of the Skeppsbron quay in front of the Royal Palace will be lit up with Wi-Fi, courtesy of Meru Networks, DataCom--an official Stockholm Stop-over Port Partner--and Sweden-based Clavister.

In deploying the network, DataCom technicians had to overcome a number of challenges in the form of tall buildings and unpredictable weather conditions. All told, the network will cover about two-thirds of a mile (almost a kilometer), with 200 Mbps capacity.

It will support data traffic for TV, radio, sponsors, sailing and service teams, special guests, and the general public. The WLAN consists of 22 APs, plus more than 1 km of fiber, 1.5 kilometers of copper cable, and about 100 other components in the form of switches, servers, firewalls, and controllers. It will will handle broadcast-quality video at high speeds, both internally within the network and externally to the Internet. DataCom says performance is 1 Gbps internally and 200 Mbps externally to the Internet. Firewalls will protect the network from external access and prevent improper data transmission (such as illegal file sharing).

“Safety is, of course, incredibly important. The wireless network we are building on Skeppsbron will be as secure against intrusion as today's wireless networks can possibly be” "said Ralf Aspholm, CEO of DataCom in a press release Monday.

More on the Volvo Ocean Race is here.

More on Wi-Fi in Stockholm, here: "Stockholm Tests WiMAX for Commuters."

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The Asia-Pacific region (APAC) may be the laboratory and proving ground for WiMAX, but so far the results are a tad disappointing.

Despite strong government mandates in markets, such as India and Taiwan, aggressive build-outs in Korea and Japan, and a relatively large number of commercial operators, WiMAX has still not had the kind of impact players in the region had hoped.

APAC is a microcosm in the sense that it includes both very mature markets (especially from the point of view of connectivity), such as Japan, Korea, Taiwan, and Australia, as well as important emerging markets, including India and China.

WiMAX faces problems in both worlds, for somewhat different reasons, says Bettina Tratz-Ryan, research VP responsible for carrier network infrastructure, in Gartner Inc.’s Technology and Service Provider Research group.

That has caused delays in roll-outs in some markets and disappointing results where WiMAX has been rolled out. Read the full story here.

**

In another Australian deployment, Xirrus has installed its 802.11a/b/g/n Wi-Fi Arrays at Galen Catholic College in Wangaratta, Victoria. The school located three hours north of Melbourne, Australia, serves nearly 900 year 7 to 12 students, both boys and girls, and has a history dating back to 1898 from the Brigidine & Marist religious orders.

The school, which is comprised of 17 buildings with over 63,000 square feet of educational space, deployed its new Wi-Fi network as part of a 1:1 computer initiative.  More details here.

**

The University of Queensland, one of Australia's premier learning and research institutions, has announced that it is working with Cisco to become Australia's "most connected tertiary institution."

Step one: Deploy what Cisco says is the largest 802.11n wireless network in the world.

Step two: Deploy the largest tertiary Cisco TelePresence network in the Asia Pacific region to facilitate international and cross-campus collaboration. TelePresence allows for live face-to-face video interaction of large groups over the WLAN.

Step three: Commence learning down under the 21st century way.

The new 802.11n network at the university will include the 7 millionth Cisco wireless AP deployed worldwide. More details here.

April 30, 2009

The University of Tokyo is upgrading its Wi-Fi network at the School of Science on its main Hongo Bunkyo-ku campus. The university has opted for Aruba's adaptive 802.11n wireless solution. The completed system will include Aruba's MMC-6000 Mobility Controller, 300 access points, and the AirWave Wireless Management Suite. More here.

April 27, 2009

Tambov State University (TSU) located in the Central Chernozyom Region of Russia has installed an 802.11a/b/g WLAN. TSU chose Xirrus's Wi-Fi Array system to provide Wi-Fi to its more than 10,000 graduate and postgraduate students and faculty for accessing internal file servers for e-learning and for Internet access. Read more here.

**

Making generalizations about “the MEA market”—the Middle East and Africa—is clearly fraught with peril, no more so than when discussing WiMAX in the region. But we must be brave.

Notwithstanding Sarah Palin’s alleged understanding of the matter, Africa is not a country, but a continent, with 50-odd independent nations, many of them small, developing economies—some not developing very fast, and a few (think Zimbabwe) going in the wrong direction.

The Middle East, of course, has its own unique diversity, and is geographically, culturally and economically a vastly different proposition from sub-Saharan Africa.

So what can we reasonably say about WiMAX in the region? We can say that it’s well-established in both the sub-Saharan and North Africa/Middle East sectors.

Rethink Technology Research Ltd., a UK-based firm that studies the market, counts 88 significant operators actively deploying WiMAX across the region. And that doesn’t count small independents offering service in a few villages.

“It’s difficult to count,” admits Rethink research director Caroline Gabriel. “But there tends to be two or three [operators] per country, more in larger, advanced countries. Kenya has about six, for example. And there are more in Uganda and South Africa.”

Read more here.

**

The latest report from broadband research firm Point Topic shows Asia leading in fiber optics, which delivers the fattest pipes, and the U.S. ranked 24th globally in per capita broadband penetration, a sad spot for the nation that invented the Internet. The report defines "broadband" as connections with speeds of at least 256 kbps in both directions.

Asia leads the world with the fastest speeds because the world economy gave Asian governments the cash to spend on fiber, said Oliver Johnson, CEO of Point Topic.

"Big infrastructure projects were popular and growing economies/exports meant they were able to spend heavily to install fiber infrastructure ahead of the rest of the world," he said.

Read more here.

April 13, 2009

Schiller International University (an American University) in Madrid, Spain (Madrid campus) has deployed a Xirrus 802.11a/b/g Wi-Fi LAN. According to Xirrus, the Madrid campus, one of several European campuses of Schiller, chose Xirrus because "their Wi-Fi Arrays proved to be the only Wi-Fi solution capable of delivering the coverage, user density, and bandwidth needed for student e-learning applications." More details here.

April 10, 2009

Nicolaus Copernicus University, in Torun, Poland, has deployed a wireless network from Meru Networks for its students and faculty.

Known in Polish as, "Uniwersytet Miko_ajaKopernika (UMK)," the university replaced its older WLAN, made up of stand-alone APs with a centrally-controlled network.

"The university's network has around 400 users a day and more than 2,000 regular users a month," said Tomasz Wolniewicz, director of information and communications technology at UMK. "We needed a network that would give access to that number of students without breaks in service."

For more, read Big WLAN on Campus 2009.

March 26, 2009

In the third installment of our series on WiMAX around the globe, we look at the unique market conditions WiMAX faces in Eastern Europe.

WiMAX has, arguably, experienced a failure to launch in developed economies. We saw this in the first two installments of this multi-part series on WiMAX around the world when looking at the UK, Ireland, and the rest of Western Europe.

But in developing regions, including Eastern Europe, to which we turn now, it’s a markedly different story. There, WiMAX is, in many cases, in the mainstream, with billions of dollars being invested to build national networks.

Estimates of the number of commercial deployments across the region range from 30 to over 50. Some, such as those in Russia, the Ukraine, and elsewhere are strongly backed—including by Western investors, such as Intel—and deployments were well underway before the recession hit.

Gartner Inc. estimates the installed base of WiMAX connections—a rough, but not exact, approximation of users—at 380,000 in Eastern Europe in 2008, compared to 280,000 in Western Europe. Click here for the full story.

March 6, 2009

Will WiMAX become an orphan technology? Has the big push from 3G in the last two years and the prospect of 4G pushed WiMAX to the margins?

As we saw in the first installment of this multi-part series, which covered the UK and Ireland, WiMAX is indeed in a difficult position, at least in the developed world.

It will be a different story when we turn to Eastern Europe (next), Africa, and the Far East in future installments. But in the rest of Western Europe, which we explore here, the picture is much as in the UK and Ireland.

“I think the industry is just looking somewhere else right now, it’s not looking at WiMAX,” says Emma Mohr-McClune, German-based principal analyst for wireless services in Europe at Current Analysis, a U.S. firm.

For the full story, click here.

**

Maravedis Inc., a research and analysis firm focused on wireless broadband, estimates there are “more than 100,000” end subscribers to consumer and business WiMAX services in the UK and Ireland combined. (Other analyst firms say providers won’t supply data, so it’s not clear how reliable this estimate is.)

These are for the most part fixed wireless services. In the UK, WiMAX providers can only offer fixed services. In Ireland, they can also deliver nomadic services—allowing home or business subscribers to connect from other fixed locations within the provider’s coverage area.

Mobile WiMAX on the Xohm model, which allows subscribers to connect at broadband speeds while in motion, is not currently permitted in either country, although that may change soon.

According to Cintia Garza, team leader for the Maravedis WiMAXCounts service, subscriber growth in the UK and Ireland is running at between 20% and 30% per quarter.

That sounds promising if not overwhelming, but others watching the WiMAX scene paint a decidedly less optimistic picture. Click here for more.

**

Deliberant was founded back in 2003 as a wireless ISP in rural Georgia. According to Jim Campbell, the company's director of business and product development, the founders realized relatively early in the WISP's initial deployment process that they could be building their own wireless equipment instead of buying it from manufacturers—and that they could be saving money in the process.

The resulting wireless equipment business, Campbell says, quickly became much larger than the WISP. "We just focused all our efforts into developing our hardware…we started really small, picking up a few small customers around Georgia and Alabama, and we've since grown to over 2,000 different customers and resellers in various countries throughout the world," he says.

The key selling points for Deliberant's product line, Campbell says, are low prices and good support, including phone and e-mail support, as well as online discussion forums.

"[WISPs] really need a solution that works, that's easy to set up, and that, when they call somebody, they'll pick up the phone and answer their questions directly and quickly to help them get set up," he says. "And that's really how we've built our rapport in the wireless community." For the full story, click here.

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The Cisco Tactical Communications Kit (TCK) helps victims of and first responders to disasters, such as Hurricane Katrina and the 2004 tsunami, get back online using Wi-Fi, WiMAX, and other wireless technologies to support IP telephony and other crucial communication tools.

For the full story, click here.

**

After ten years in the wirless business, BC-based WISP, Vecima Networks, has a full portfolio of Wi-Fi and WiMAX solutions to offer its customers, both in North America and around the world. For more, click here.



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