Ruckus, San Francisco Partner on City WiFi Program

Mounted on traffic poles with gigabit fiber backbone connections, Ruckus ZoneFlex 7782-S access points are powering the service along Market Street.

Wireless systems and infrastructure specialist Ruckus Wireless announced it partnered with the City and County of San Francisco to deliver free, high-speed outdoor public WiFi service up and down the city’s Market Street corridor, starting from the intersection of Market and Castro Streets down to the pedestrian corridor at the Embarcadero.

Mounted on traffic poles with gigabit fiber backbone connections, Ruckus ZoneFlex 7782-S outdoor access points (APs), which extend signals and adapt to changing environmental conditions, are powering the service, providing dual-band (2.4 and 5 GHz) WiFi to users along Market Street.

The 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 WiFi network 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," Mayor Edwin M. Lee, said in a statement. "We have gone to great lengths to build the foundation to deliver on these expectations with the best WiFi technology we could find right in our own backyard."

In locations where fiber backhaul to the Ruckus access points is prohibitive, Ruckus smart mesh networking technology is being used to provide more resilient wireless connections between access points.

"Ruckus and San Francisco share a similar vision of the vital importance in providing pervasive, reliable wireless connectivity to people who rely on getting online everyday to work, play, and live," Selina Lo, president and CEO of Ruckus Wireless, said in a statement. "With the explosive growth of the mobile Internet and mobile Internet applications, high-speed Wi-Fi access is now viewed as a non-negotiable utility."

In addition, redundant Ruckus SmartCell Gateway (SCG) 200 wireless LAN (WLAN) controllers are deployed within the city's data center to aggregate traffic and provide centralized management of the WiFi infrastructure.

"With a reliable and ubiquitous infrastructure in place, the door is wide open for a myriad of invaluable services well beyond public access, Marc Touitou, chief information officer and director of the Department of Technology for San Francisco, said in a statement. " 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."

The announcement follows a development in New York City, where Harlem residents will be getting free public outdoor WiFi service by the middle of 2014 under an initiative announced by the city.

The network will be available 24/7 in outdoor locations within the zone, with unlimited access, according to organizers, will cover some 95 blocks in Harlem and is being paid for by a donation from the Fuhrman Family Foundation.