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Virgin Media UK and Cisco Deploy OpenRoaming WiFi in London

Wednesday, July 1st, 2020 (12:16 pm) - Score 4,051

Broadband ISP Virgin Media and Cisco have joined forces to setup the first European commercial deployment of OpenRoaming technology for residents on the Canary Wharf estate, which makes it easier for mobile users to stay connected to the internet by allowing them to seamlessly and securely roam between different WiFi hotspots.

Last year saw Cisco conduct one of the first live trials of their OpenRoaming technology on Orkney (Scotland) via the wider 5G RuralFirst project (here). At present roaming between different WiFi hotspots is difficult because most will require you to sign-up for a new account, but the new approach builds on existing solutions and simplifies them.

OpenRoaming thus allows devices (Smartphones, Laptops etc.) to connect securely and automatically to Wi-Fi networks and roam seamlessly from one hotspot to another without the need for the user to log in.

The first commercial deployment is now due to take place for residents of the Canary Wharf Group’s (CWF) first build to rent building from Vertus at 10 George Street and homeowners at 10 Park Drive. The joint initiative with Virgin Media will also harness Cisco’s Meraki Wi-Fi 6 access points, along with sophisticated location-based analytics to allow its clients to build unique services for their customers.

NOTE: Wood Wharf, Canary Wharf’s new district, is a 5 million sq. ft mixed-use development of over 3,000 new homes, including 2 million sq. ft of commercial space.

london_harbour_quay_CW

The announcement claims that local residents will be able to take their secure and trusted Wi-Fi connection with them when they walk out of their front door, through the apartment buildings, across the Canary Wharf estate and even into the nearby Tube station.

Virgin Media has recently expanded their gigabit-capable fixed line broadband network to connect over 1,000 homes in the CWG area (due to reach 4,000 homes in the future). New residents can also benefit from a pre-installation service which allows them to be connected the same day they move into their apartments on the Canary Wharf estate.

Jeanie York, Virgin Media’s CTO and CIO, said:

“Now more than ever people are relying on our services to help stay connected to loved ones, for work, to keep informed and stay entertained. By providing a seamless and highly secure Wi-Fi platform, users can take their Wi-Fi connection with them on the go, bringing them closer to the things and people that matter most. Network innovations like this give us a taste of the future of connectivity and are delivering real benefits for consumers.”

Shobi Khan, CEO of the CWF, added:

“In today’s environment connectivity is akin to a critical utility. Our commercial, retail and residential customers are demanding access to world-class digital infrastructure and next-generation connectivity.

Canary Wharf Group is committed to creating an estate-wide environment in which businesses can thrive. The rollout of Wi-Fi 6 and OpenRoaming is a vital part of our continuously evolving user experience for residents and visitors. We’re delighted to work with Cisco and Virgin Media to deliver this.”

CWG will also help landlords and tenants to understand how their real estate is being used, with data analytics to drive efficiency in workspace design using Cisco DNA Spaces. This solution enables over-the-top use cases such as location-based services, end user engagement and wayfinding to enable individuals to find the meeting room or retail store they are looking for.

OpenRoaming is now backed by a global Wi-Fi federation of Wireless Broadband Alliance (WBA) members, including: Airmesh, Airties, Aprecomm, American Tower, Aptilo, AT&T, Boingo Wireless, Broadcom Inc, Cisco, Cityroam, Comcast, Commscope, Deutsche Telekom, Eduroam, Eleven Software, GlobalReachTechnology, Google, Hub One, Hughes Systique Corp, Intel Corporation, IT&E, m3connect, Nomosphere, Orange, Purple Wifi, Samsung, Single Digits, Sun Global, Veniam, Virgin Media, WiFiCoin and Zephyrtel.

Leave a Comment
2 Responses
  1. Avatar Michael V

    This is certainly a good move. Connecting to various public WiFi networks is an effort unless one had signed up with BT,O2 WiFi & any other ISPs. We need to see this right across Wales, England, Scotland.

    Slightly off subject…
    This also reminds me of a Mobile Operator in USA that provides a service over WiFi hotspots for customers, prioritising WiFi before connecting to cellular networks.

  2. Avatar Randy

    London London London.

    Always the same

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