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Phase 1 of London’s Gigabit Capable 4G and WiFi Network Complete

Thursday, April 19th, 2018 (7:58 am) - Score 1,217

The “first phase” of a new Small Cell based 4G and wide-scale public WiFi network deployment in the UK City of London (Square Mile), which is claimed to be capable of “gigabit speeds“, has been completed. The roll-out forms part of a contract that is being led by the City of London Corporation.

The “multi million pound project,” which is described by the CoLC as being “one of the largest investments in wireless infrastructure ever seen in London,” was first announced at the start of 2017 (here) and in April 2017 the 15-year contract for its construction and management was jointly awarded to O2 and Cornerstone Telecommunications Infrastructure (here).

The new network will replace a much slower WiFi service from The Cloud (Sky Broadband) and intends to install many of its small cell distribution points, which use the Nokia Flexi Zone 4G platform, on top of local street furniture (e.g. lampposts, street signs, buildings and CCTV columns). In the future these could also be updated to support 5G Mobile coverage.

This week one of the companies involved in helping to support this work, Cambridge Communication Systems (CCS), has announced that the first phase of deployment is complete. The backhaul (capacity supply) for the new network is built on CCS Metnet, which claims to be using “the world’s only self-organising 5G microwave backhaul” that operates in the licensed area-based 28GHz band.

Steve Greaves, CEO of CSS, said:

“This is an exemplary success story for London, and for the ability of Metnet to deliver reliable and high-performance neutral host Wi-Fi and small cell connectivity in dense urban environments. We are proud to have delivered this project – in conjunction with O2, CTIL, the City of London and the entire project team – which is optimising the quality and performance of wireless across the country’s key business hub, and to be supporting the City of London in its ambitions to boost the capital’s reputation as a world-leading smart city.”

Apparently over 50 small cells have been deployed in the first phase and “hundreds more” are planned to follow through the remainder of this year. Each CSS Metnet node has a wide 270-degree field of view, so only one unit is required per site, rather than multiple radios.

We should point out that some London boroughs will complete their respective deployments faster than others. For example, if the progress in Southwark is anything to go by then we expect the build phase in that borough to be finished by the end of this spring.

Leave a Comment
2 Responses
  1. Avatar Chris P says:

    Wireless with wireless back haul, will be great to see how this performs.

  2. Avatar Michael says:

    This is great. Something new & fresh. Most public WiFi networks are slow, so this new technology is really needed. Let’s get the coverage right too.

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