River Thames to bathe in upgraded long-distance WiFi

Not that a view over the Thames ever gets old, but commuters should soon find it a bit easier to check their inboxes while they're on or next to the water. Californian WiFi specialist Ruckus says that its wireless steering technology -- which increases network range by up to 4x by directing signals around obstacles and interference -- has just been picked for an upgrade to BT's Thames WiFi service. The new "carrier-grade" equipment should be activated within the next couple of months and will stretch out along the full 27 meandering miles of river that are already covered by traditional antennas. With better hotspot access spreading across the Tube network, black cabs and now the water, EE's central London LTE service will have even more to prove in terms of raw speed.

[Image credit: Getty Images]

Show full PR text

Global Reach Technology Selects Ruckus to Bring Smarter, High Capacity Wi-Fi to Users on Land and Water within the UK

Smart Wi-Fi Enables High-Speed Wi-Fi Access for Millions of Passengers Along 27 Miles of the Thames River and Reliable Public Wi-Fi Access in Leeds and Bradford

LONDON, ENGLAND (UK) and SUNNYVALE, CA - January 28, 2013 - Ruckus Wireless, Inc. (NYSE: RKUS) today announced that Global Reach Technology Ltd., an innovative supplier of Wi-Fi, cloud- and IP-based policy management services, has selected its ZoneFlex™ Smart Wi-Fi system for a number of high profile Wi-Fi projects in the UK that address the explosive demand for reliable, high-speed data access in densely trafficked areas around the city.

Global Reach has deployed carrier-grade Ruckus Smart Wi-Fi indoor and outdoor ZoneFlex products for its public hotspot infrastructure along 44km (27 miles) of the River Thames and onboard Thames Clippers London River Ferries to support more than 30 million people accessing the river each year. In addition to providing public Wi-Fi access through its own Thames Wi-Fi hot zone branded service, planned for Q1 2013, Global Reach is leveraging its high capacity infrastructure to offer wholesale and international roaming services across the 27 miles of river coverage.

British Telecommunications plc (BT) gives public Wi-Fi access free of charge to all its BT Broadband subscribers via the white-labeled Global Reach service to the Thames River network, while the Transport for London (TFL) authority is using the Wi-Fi infrastructure for private services such as real-time location-based information, tracking boats, network monitoring, timetables, CCTV surveillance and other services.

In addition, Global Reach has selected Ruckus Smart Wi-Fi as the standard underlying technology for the City Wi-Fi services it provides for Virgin Media Business in both Leeds and Bradford.

Carrier-Grade Wi-Fi Solutions with a difference
Global Reach has established a unique position in the market, offering a total managed infrastructure solution coupled with a complete portfolio of value-added network services such as key data on network monitoring, management information systems and customer usage behavior; architecture planning; security; content portal capabilities and gateway functions, and sophisticated policy management.

For mobile network operators and service providers, Global Reach provides bespoke wireless infrastructure and services. Additionally, its policy engine provides seamless and secure 3/4G off load to manage customer's traffic and eCRM, including content filtering, lawful intercept, bandwidth shaping, port and website blocking. Intuitive dashboards allow operators to manage their infrastructure as well as the end user customer experience with complete visibility and precision.

"To effectively deal with the demands and capacity required to deliver service on this scale, we needed a carrier-grade Wi-Fi network in which our customers could have complete confidence," said Nigel Wesley, Chief Executive Officer for Global Reach Technology. "At the end of the day, customers don't really care about how the infrastructure works - they simply want a fast, reliable and affordable Wi-Fi experience that's easy to access and use. That's precisely what we're delivering with Ruckus."

Wesley noted that while providing a reliable Wi-Fi experience in the UK is no easy task, operators are looking for value beyond vanilla connectivity. "Global Reach has developed a different model that not only delivers a carrier-grade Wi-Fi infrastructure at a much lower cost, we are also reducing the time to market for service providers and enterprise customers, allowing them to focus on monetization and bringing value to the subscriber experience."

Smarter Wi-Fi on the Water
Global Reach's Smart Wi-Fi network is one of the world's largest outdoor mesh deployments along a key transport artery weaving through the UK's capital. Four million people travel on the Thames Clippers river ferries every year, with millions more living and working along the riverbank, offices, hotels, cafes and tourist locations.

Global Reach has used new Ruckus ZoneFlex 7782-N, carrier-class 2.4/5 GHz 802.11n outdoor access points (APs) to deploy at main piers crisscrossing the Thames River. 24 Thames Clippers London river ferries are being equipped with ZoneFlex 7363 802.11n indoor dual-band Smart Wi-Fi access points, along with 3G backhaul and ZoneDirector controllers at the Global Reach network operation centers, to provide centralized administration and remote management.

"While we are fundamentally hardware agnostic, we are building carrier-quality Wi-Fi networks that mandate carrier-quality equipment," said Chris Spencer, Chief Technology Officer for Global Reach.

"With its adaptive antenna structure and high-capacity designs, Ruckus has clearly differentiated itself by delivering among the most reliable systems on the market that are distinctly designed for carriers. With the kit we've seen a significant increase in the signal strength as well as the number of concurrent users and sessions we are able to support at any one given time."

City Wi-Fi in Leeds and Bradford for Virgin Media Business
In Leeds and Bradford, Ruckus ZoneFlex 7762 outdoor dual-band 802.11n APs are being deployed on street furniture by Global Reach to provide a completely free City Wi-Fi service that is open to everyone. Global Reach manages and operates the network for Virgin Media Business, building on a partnership that was originally formed for the rollout of the acclaimed London Underground Wi-Fi service.

"There is a massive wireless land grab taking place all over the UK," concludes Wesley. "The super-connected city initiative means a great deal for places like Leeds and Bradford as they focus on growth and regeneration for local businesses, visitors and residents. The Wi-Fi networks we are building are great examples of projects that are making the vision of super-connected cities a reality and enabling future prosperity and innovation."