Careful Planning and Flexible, Modular Infrastructure Simplify Countrywide Wireless Rollout.
WIMAX World, Beijing, April 17, 2007 — Firetide, Inc., a developer of multi-service wireless mesh networks and iCELL, Singapore’s leading IT solution provider, on 19 April 2007 will present a conference panel at WIMAX World covering progress made and lessons learned during the first phase of Wireless@SG, the Wi-Fi deployment blanketing Singapore. Firetide, iCELL and partnering Singapore distributor D-Synergy, are currently deploying the network which consists of more than 1,000 indoor and outdoor mesh nodes and access points.As with many large U.S. cities, Singapore has a challenging wireless environment with hills, narrow streets, alleys and high rise office towers blocking line-of-sight. Due to the tropical climate, most end-users prefer to receive Wi-Fi indoors, adding the challenge of penetrating building walls. In addition to handling the geographical terrain, iCELL installed advanced technical features that included Firetide’s mesh for triple-play applications – adding data traffic, voice, video and future mobile capabilities.
“We’ve learned a lot about what works, and what doesn’t, for municipal wireless deployments,” said Ken Chua, CEO of iCELL. “We want to share this with others who are planning wireless deployments so that they can adapt our lessons learned from this large-scale endeavor for their networks both big and small.”
Large-scale wireless deployments are complex and governments should spend time upfront to develop a plan that will fit the needs of the community. Firetide found the following areas to be key project elements of the Singapore deployment that can be replicated for U.S. municipalities:
- Select a Model That Works for Your Community – Singapore instituted for a government sponsored initiative Wireless@SG to ensure Wi-Fi access would be available to all its citizens. To cover the entire country of Singapore, multiple operators were utilized for regional zones to make the deployment more manageable.
- Consider Future Applications – The government decided that it would include Wi-Fi access throughout all regions. It also called for future applications for voice and mobility so that wireless connectivity could be tapped while on the go. Firetide’s mesh network offers both VLAN capability, Quality of Service (QoS) and multiple levels of encryption for network security. This allows Singapore to offer secure services to its users and to prioritize critical voice traffic ahead of data for optimal VoIP performance.
- Test and Correct Installation at Every Step – During the deployment, the service provider learned that the best location for an access point was not necessarily the best location for a wireless mesh node. Firetide’s modular architecture allowed for the ability to deploy each function with flexibility. Based on “test and correct method,” iCELL and Firetide engineers learned that placing wireless nodes up high, for best backhaul performance and place access points closer to the user communities allowed for the best network coverage. As Firetide’s hardware could be de-coupled, it allowed additional ways to work with any environment.
- Set Clear Expectations About Coverage – The free Wi-Fi service is slated to be available island-wide in major indoors and outdoors public places, but not in residential areas, where broadband connections are readily available. Setting expectations upfront, and planning for reliable performance in indoor public venues (cafes, malls, government buildings) prevented issues commonly seen in some of the U.S. Wi-Fi deployments. From the technical stand-point, Firetide’s products allow seamless network management from indoors to the outdoors. “We didn’t want to have to manage an indoor network and a different outdoor network,” Chua added.
“Singapore provides an opportunity for municipalities worldwide to learn from the experience of rolling out a network of this scale and complexity,” said Bo Larsson, CEO of Firetide. “This rollout has reinforced the need for flexible, multi-service infrastructure that is capable of supporting not only Internet access, but video and voice – with or without mobility.”
As for unanticipated problems, iCELL said site acquisition for specific areas of the network has often taken longer than expected. Many locations are on private property, and even though there is an overall agreement to deploy, the necessary permissions can take time. iCELL recommends that other solution providers budget adequate personnel to the task.
The network, which began deployment in November 2006, was cultivated by the Infocomm Development Authority of Singapore as part of its Next Generation National Infocomm Infrastructure initiative, dubbed Wireless@SG. Three local wireless operators are currently deploying a free wireless broadband network with access speeds of up to 512kbps that is planned to be available in most public areas. As in the original announcement of the Wireless@SG project, the targeted users of the network in Singapore are people on-the-go who require wireless broadband access while away from their homes, schools and offices.
About Firetide, Inc.
Firetide is the leading provider of multi-service mesh networks that enable concurrent video, voice, and data for municipal, public safety, and enterprise applications. Firetide HotPort mesh nodes and HotPoint access points provide a reliable high performance wireless infrastructure and access solution for video surveillance, Internet access, public safety networks, and temporary networks wherever rapid deployment, mobility, and ease of installation are required. The company’s patented AutoMesh flow-based routing protocol optimizes network performance and capacity for high bandwidth and latency sensitive applications. Headquartered in Los Gatos, California, Firetide is a privately held company with worldwide product distribution. For more information, visit www.firetide.com.
About iCELL Network
iCELL Network Pte Ltd is one of Singapore’s leading information technology solution providers. The company builds Internet and Wi-Fi infrastructure providing business system mobility for corporate customers and individual users. iCELL is also Singapore’s largest wireless Internet service providers and systems integrators operating over 300 public Hotspots and wireless networks in 60 local schools. Recently, 30 percent of the equity in iCELL Network was acquired by Keppel T&T, a Singapore-headquartered multinational company with core businesses in Offshore & Marine, Property and Infrastructure For more information visit www.icellnetwork.com.
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Copyright 2007 Firetide Inc. Firetide and Reliable Connectivity Anywhere are trademarks of Firetide Inc. www.firetide.com.
Edelman for Firetide