Ruckus Wireless powers U.S. city’s free high-speed outdoor public Wi-Fi

The City and County of San Francisco, California is delivering free, high-speed outdoor public Wi-Fi service up and down the City’s world-famous Market Street corridor, starting from the intersection of Market and Castro Streets down to the pedestrian corridor at the Embarcadero, one of the most heavily foot-trafficked thoroughfares in the world.

Powered by access points from Ruckus Wireless, Inc., San Francisco’s new free public Wi-Fi service,named ‘_San_Francisco_Free_WiFi’, which is the SSID (network name) for the new service, is a key part of the City’s multi-phase initiative to offer free public Wi-Fi in and around San Francisco.

A public-private partnership between San Francisco’s Department of Technology (DT) and Ruckus teamed technical staff from the City and Ruckus to design, build and deploy a world-class Wi-Finetwork capable of delivering a high-speed online experience to users while acting as a reliable utility for existing and future City services.

“Because San Francisco is at the world’s epicenter of technology innovation and use, residents,visitors and even businesses now have a fundamental expectation for pervasive wireless connectivity,” said Mayor Edwin M. Lee. “We have gone to great lengths to build the foundation to deliver on these expectations with the best Wi-Fi technology we could find right in our own backyard.”

Introducing Smarter San Francisco Wi-Fi

Mounted on traffic poles with gigabit fiber backbone connections, Ruckus ZoneFlex 7782-S outdoor access points (APs), based on patented wireless technology that extends signals and adapts to changing environmental conditions, are now powering San Francisco’s new Wi-Fi public access service, providing dual-band (2.4 and 5GHz) Wi-Fi service to users along Market Street. In locations where fiber backhaul to the Ruckus access points is prohibitive, Ruckus smart mesh networking technology is being used to provide highly resilient wireless connections between access points. RedundantRuckus SmartCell Gateway (SCG) 200 wireless LAN (WLAN) controllers are deployed within the City’s data center to aggregate traffic andprovide centralized management of the Wi-Fi infrastructure.

“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, Chief Information Officer and director of the Department of Technology for the City and County of San Francisco. “We’ve found that technology right in our own backyard, and have worked hard with Ruckus Wireless to build the foundation of what we believe is one of the country’s premiere public Wi-Fi services.”

Touitou noted that Wi-Fi has effectively become the new bandwidth for users who now have an insatiable appetite for connectivity. “With a reliable and ubiquitous infrastructure in place, the door is wide open for a myriad of invaluable services well beyond public access. 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.

Ruckus Smart Wi-Fi was selected by San Francisco because it overcomes the physical and technical challenges of bringing high-speed wireless connectivity to outdoor environments like the Market Street corridor, with its high-capacity coverage requirements,where many users are trying to access the network simultaneously.  Through the use of patented Ruckus Smart Wi-Fi technology, Ruckus access points are able to extend Wi-Fi signals over longer distances while adapting signals to constant changes in environmental conditions. This provides users more stable and higher speed connections than conventional Wi-Fi technology.