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City of London to gain Gigabit Wi-Fi
Monday 09 January 2017 17:29:41 by Andrew Ferguson

If you visit the square mile as it is sometimes known you should be able to find free Wi-Fi coverage from The Cloud, but in the next few weeks we should find out who has been awarded a contract to supply Gigabit Wi-Fi utilising the numerous bits of street furniture.

"Fast and reliable digital connectivity is crucial for businesses and I’m really pleased the City of London Corporation is taking this significant step in improving speed and coverage in the Square Mile. The Mayor is committed to improving London’s connectivity, including tackling the capital’s ‘notspots’ and ensuring providers have better access to public-sector property for digital infrastructure."

Deputy Mayor for Business, Rajesh Agrawal

The advantage of squeezing Wi-Fi kit into street furniture such as sign-posts is the majority already have a power feed for illumination of the sign, and while fibre to each bit of furniture is the ideal this can be avoided by using point to point wireless outside the normal Wi-Fi spectrum. Pushing towards Gigabit speeds means using the 5GHz Wi-Fi band which also means a greater density of access points is needed compared to older slower 2.4GHz standards.

The roll-out is due to start in late spring 2017 and we look forward to having a wander around the area once it is live to map out the speeds achieved and look at how well the new network handles things like peak time loads, which is likely to be different to the usual 4pm to midnight peak most consumer broadband experiences due to the massively different ratio of daytime workers to residents compared to most of the UK. The City Of London which is the financial heart of London, may have 10 million visitors per year and some 400,000 city workers but with a population around the 8,500 mark it has very few residents.

Comments

Posted by gah789 7 days ago
Unalloyed PR fantasy! I doubt whether anyone with experience of living or working in the City of London will take this seriously. The technical difficulties are very large because the WiFi spectrum is hugely over-crowded. The economics of licensed PtP links to feed street signs won't work. The density of tall buildings (and the amount of construction) inhibits hot spot coverage.

The City Corporation is good at doing many things but managing IT networks and infrastructure is not one of them.
Posted by andrew (Favicon staff member) 7 days ago
Forgive my ignorance, but where is City of London managing the IT network for this? Surely its down to the contractor TBA.

Also city of London is a nice small footprint that can give a very good idea of its coverage and usability once the new network is live.
Posted by brusuth 7 days ago
Also as it is outdoor, they could use Band B as well, further increasing their bandwidth and the unlikely situation of interference of using 5Ghz.
Posted by burakkucat 7 days ago
In the very first line of the report, "... as its sometimes ..." needs to be edited to read "... as it's sometimes ..."
Posted by gah789 6 days ago
This was shorthand for "managing the procurement and oversight of ... by third party providers". Corporation estates have had infrastructure for delivering TV, broadband, etc for many years which were operated by various but overseen by the Corporation. Generally it is a very good landlord but the whole process of managing network upgrades/replacement was very slow and a muddle.
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