Citywide Wi-Fi may seem like a wonderful pipe dream, something that’s great to think about but difficult to imagine in reality. At the Meeting of the Minds conference, Cisco announced it was taking steps to make large scale Wi-Fi deployments closer to reality. Cisco calls the architecture Smart+Connected City (S+CC) Wi-Fi.
As an architecture, the S+CC Wi-Fi uses a number of existing Cisco technologies to make the solution work. This includes Cisco’s own Wi-Fi outdoor mesh, its ruggedized routing and switching, and its Cisco Prime and Mobility Services Engine software.
The solution is viewed as in three layers: the street layer made up of outdoor access points, the city network layer that connects the hardware to the data centre, and the data network layer that provides everything needed to enable the city’s applications and services.
As with most large scale technology deployments, there are many stakeholders involved in the implementation and responsible for the overall success of the deployment. For S+CC Wi-Fi Cisco would provide the solution design and technology, while the city council takes ownership of assets and data. Cisco is even accounting for service providers and software developers in its plan, ensuring they can benefit from a network deployed by the city.
At a press conference for the announcement, the Mayor of Stratford, Ontario, Dan Mathieson said, “I think we’re going to start looking at connectivity as a basic infrastructure of communities.”
That mantra was also on display throughout the Meeting of the Minds conference with technologies like FlyBits on display. It’s a technology that helps deliver timely, location-based data to users, usually in a city-type environment.
The announcement fits with Cisco view of a connected world, what it calls the Internet of Everything. Cisco wants to be the backbone of that connectivity, and with citywide Wi-Fi solutions, it is moving closer to that goal.