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HetNet News: Ruckus partners with San Francisco on free Wi-Fi

Ruckus Wireless is partnering with the city and county of San Francisco to provide free public Wi-Fi on the city’s busy Market Street corridor, from the intersection of Market and Castro streets to the pedestrian corridor at the Embarcadero.

Launched last week, the SSID for the network is _San_Francisco_Free_WiFi and is part of a multi-phase project to offer free wireless service in and around San Francisco. The city’s Department of Technology has partnered with Ruckus for a high-speed Wi-Fi network for both public users and to serve as a “reliable utility for existing and future city services,” according to Ruckus.

The network includes Ruckus’ ZoneFlex 7782-S outdoor APs mounted on traffic poles with gigabit fiber backbone connections, and provide 2.4 and 5 GHz Wi-Fi service along Market Street, the company said. Where fiber backhaul couldn’t be used, the company is relying on its smart mesh networking technology for wireless connections between APs. Ruckus also has its SmartCell Gateway 200 controllers deployed in the city’s data center to aggregate traffic and centralize the management of the Wi-Fi network.

“Our goal was to identify and install some of the world’s best Wi-Fi technology that could deliver an exceptional experience to some of the world’s most discerning users,” said Marc Touitou, CIO and director of the Department of Technology for San Francisco, who went on to call the project “build the foundation of what we believe is one of the country’s premiere public Wi-Fi services.

“With a reliable and ubiquitous infrastructure in place, the door is wide open for a myriad of invaluable services well beyond public access,” Touitou added. “Given the growth and use of smart mobile devices, there are really no boundaries constraining the kind of applications that we can enable or the value that a reliable Wi-Fi infrastructure can bring to our city and its citizens,” Touitou concluded.

–Cox Communications and Bright House Networks have made additional Wi-Fi hotspots available to their high speed Internet customers. Customers are able to connect to CableWiFi, which is a collaboration among cable companies with more than 200,000 hotspots nationwide. Cox, Bright House, Optimum, Time Warner Cable and Xfinity all participate in the CableWiFi network.

With the integration of Cox and Bright House’s Wi-Fi networks, the companies said, customers can now get Wi-Fi access in cities including Orlando, Daytona and Tampa, Fl., as well as northern Virginia, Connecticut and Indiana. Major markets such as NYC, San Francisco, Boston, Chicago and others already have existing Wi-FI coverage through CableWiFi.

–In-flight Wi-Fi provider Gogo Inc. has partnered with The Weather Channel to offer free access to and Weather Underground on any aircraft equipped with Gogo connectivity. Passengers can launch their browsers and go to’s site to check weather in any city without paying for an Internet session. That feature is available now, and the ability to use smartphone apps for the same purpose will begin in the first quarter of 2014, according to Gogo.

“We know that checking weather information is one of the top things people do when they access the Internet in flight, especially during this time of the year when weather can have a big impact on travel plans.  We are excited to be able to offer them that information for free through our relationship with The Weather Channel,” said Ash ElDifrawi, Gogo’s chief commercial officer.

–Wi-Fi service management platform (SMP) provider Elitecore Technologies said that its SMP has been deployed in India by O-Zone Networks Pvt. Ltd., which has a network of 5,500 hotspots in 23 cities across India. More than 1,000 of the sites are public hotspots.

Elitecore’s solution includes the ability for O-Zone to create different types of login and post-login pages that can be differentiated by location or zone requirements, as well as a monetization model that offers data offloading based on arrangements with Tier 1 operators, content or device partners, international roaming partners and physical or digital advertising companies. The system also generates prepaid vouchers for walk-in hotspot users on mobile devices and laptops.



Kelly Hill
Kelly Hill
Kelly reports on network test and measurement, as well as the use of big data and analytics. She first covered the wireless industry for RCR Wireless News in 2005, focusing on carriers and mobile virtual network operators, then took a few years’ hiatus and returned to RCR Wireless News to write about heterogeneous networks and network infrastructure. Kelly is an Ohio native with a masters degree in journalism from the University of California, Berkeley, where she focused on science writing and multimedia. She has written for the San Francisco Chronicle, The Oregonian and The Canton Repository. Follow her on Twitter: @khillrcr

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