To offer free access, the city of Dublin is testing an open source WiFi6 system.
Using OpenWiFi technology from the Telecom Infra Project, the council is collaborating with Virgin Media to build a network that complies with the WiFi4EU specification for public WiFi (TIP).
This is comparable to the TIP Open RAN project for cellular networks, which permits the use of equipment from several providers. The project’s goal is to show how the network may be broken down so that other suppliers can be added as the network expands.
In municipalities around Europe, the WiFi4EU programme encourages free WiFi access in public areas such as parks, squares, public buildings, libraries, health centres, and museums. A voucher is given to towns and cities that covers the cost of the network and equipment maintenance for at least three years while also providing free, high-quality Wi-Fi connectivity. The system is built around hardware that has TIP OpenWiFi software pre-installed on Qualcomm CPUs. Multi-vendor, interoperable Wi-Fi networks are made possible by this open source-based Wi-Fi architecture.
The IPQ6010 processor, a quad-core ARM Cortex-A53, powers the EAP101 from Taiwanese vendor Edgecore. It supports up to four spatial streams of Wi-Fi 6 connectivity across both the 5 and 2.4GHz bands, as well as multi-user scheduling across downlink and uplink MU-MIMO and OFDMA to manage up to 1000 users at once. The IPQ6101-based ion4xe from HFCL in India can support up to 1024 users.
A TIP With no changes to the hardware or software, OpenRoaming can be supported on OpenWiFi networks. In addition to offloading mobile connectivity and enabling wireless convergence, this enables users to immediately connect to WiFi networks without signing in and uses the Wireless Roaming Intermediary eXchange (WRIX) standards from the Wireless Broadband Alliance.
“This solution can be deployed in both indoor and outdoor scenarios,” said Bullock. “There are additional ODMs and OEMs coming into the ecosystem and in 2023 there will be more TIP OpenWiFi-compliant AP and Controllers for Smart Cities, like Dublin, to use in their WiF4EU deployments.”