How to build a solid public wifi network

David Fortini
May 08, 2019

Mobile and IoT connections put pressure on city wifi. Here is a guide on how to build a solid public wifi network.

Updated on November 30th 2020

The first thing tourists do when they land in a new city today is try connect to a free public Wi-Fi. The demand for it has grown so that cities are trying hard to accommodate all, and regions finance the public wi-fi development, such as the WiFi4EU program. But it's not just people. Connected objects and digital government solutions also depend on a high-performing wi-fi. Public wifi networks are under a lot of stress.

What are the key attributes of a high performing public wifi solution?

Performance: Many factors go into making great high-speed Wi-Fi. Some include optimal radio coverage and high bandwidth connectivity. Your situation may require you to offer public Wi-Fi in locations where the user and device density is high, as it is the case of very crowded areas. Hence, the city Wi-Fi network solution must accommodate to these environments and provide a service in which all users can benefit from. The solution needs to respect the latest standards such as Wi-Fi 6 and the next gen wireless network standards.

Take a deeper look into performance in How to make public wifi faster

Easy and flexible deployment:  Deployment is often overlooked to performance, it is however a crucial aspect that must be considered. It should be easy, simple and scalable. Distributed intelligence is a key factor to keep in mind as it simplifies deployment throughout the city or community, ensures optimized connectivity and avoids performance failures when the number of users increases.

As a public wifi solution supports a multitude of access points (or hot spots), manual configuration and management is impossible! A simple and unique management interface is preferable as well as a high degree of automatization, to simplify IT teams’ tasks and reduce human errors. The distributed intelligence of the OmniAccess Stellar WLAN simplifies and centralizes the deployment of thousands of APs.

Simple management: The ideal government/public Wi-Fi solution for any city should be able to support several access points (AP), which can be controlled and supervised from a single interface. This lowers operation and overall solution costs.

Scalability: Speaking of scalability, it is estimated that IoT connections will significantly grow in the next few years. This means that whatever public Wi-Fi solution you choose for your city, it is fundamental to take this major growth into consideration. Your Wi-Fi should be easily scalable in size. Why not consider a controllerless solution? Solutions without hardware controllers can scale from 1 to thousands of wifi hotspots without the capacity constraints and costs of controllers and can be managed from a single pane of glass.

IoT readiness: IoT brings lots of opportunities for smart cities, but also has a dark side to it: cybercrime. It is crucial to consider IoT when thinking of which public Wi-Fi solution to choose from. The public wifi solution should have IoT at the core and not be an afterthought. Your IoT containment technology should deliver higher-quality services, streamline processes, cut costs and find innovative ways to add new value for citizens.

Security: Governments contain and exchange a lot of data and information that needs to be strictly secured and protected from any outside cyberattack. Some of the security features of our OmniAccess Stellar WLAN include secure network access control (NAC) with Unified Access technology, smart analytics application monitoring and enforcement and IoT containment that secures any connected device.

Affordability and TCO: We understand the need to find the best and most cost-effective solution for any sector and industry. TCO can be highly influenced by deployment and management complexity, hardware costs and lack of evolution capabilities.

Our OmniAccess Stellar WLAN solution provides a reliable, secure and high-performance public Wi-Fi solution. Its next-generation access points deliver enterprise-grade connectivity, with operational simplicity and manageability. Its distributed controller architecture avoids single points of failure and ensures optimal performance. It was made to be affordable, due to its simple management features and built-in intelligent capabilities, including secure web management portal and smart load-balancing. 

Explore the different public wi-fi solutions out there with the vendor comparison tool

Now that we've covered the network foundation, let's have a look at How to make public wifi faster

David Fortini

David Fortini

Director of Business Development, Government

Dave is currently the Director of Business Development for Alcatel-Lucent Enterprise’s Network Division. He is responsible for the business development of ALE’s Government Vertical associated with their Enterprise Network Portfolio.

David is a Computer Science graduate of Pennsylvania State University and also possesses a Masters in Computer Science at George Mason University. He also has a Master Certificate in Information Technology Project Management from George Washington University.

About the author

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