Wide range of partners collaborated on Wi-Fi deployment for Mobile World Congress
Mobile World Congress in Barcelona is the premiere event for telecom industry professionals. As such, the more than 100,000 people who descend on the Catalan capital each year have relatively high expectations related to network connectivity. To better serve these users a consortium of service providers and vendors worked with local officials to stand up a next-generation Wi-Fi network in key areas throughout the city.
Nearly 20% of show attendees used the Wi-FI network, which marks a 400% increase over the previous year. The majority of users were visitors from the U.S. with customers of carriers AT&T, Sprint and T-Mobile US accounting for around 90% of the connections, according to the Wireless Broadband Alliance. The network supported transfer of 2.3 Terabytes of data at speeds of up to 25 Mbps.
The Wireless Broadband Alliance partnered with the GSMA, which puts on MWC, the Fira Barcelona venue and other stakeholders to install some 2,200 access points at the convention center, airport, major railway stations and Las Ramblas and Passeig de Gracia, both major pedestrian corridors dotted with shops restaurants and tourist attractions. Cisco and Boingo Wireless also played key roles in the deployment.
Boingo Wireless Chief Technology Officer Derek Peterson told RCR Wireless News during the show, “We said, ‘Hey, let’s go ahead and change things a little bit and really make Passpoint work everywhere. We’re getting connections now through all of those automatically using Passpoint.”
Passpoint is a method of connecting to Wi-Fi wherein authentication between the device and the access point happens automatically without any touch from the user. It’s also referred to as Hotspot 2.0.
Xavier Michavila, director of ICT for Fira de Barcelona said the goal was to have “leading-edge connectivity” at the venue and other key locations. “We covered people’s entire journey with fast, secure Wi-Fi–a monumental leap forward for smart city mobility and another reason that Barcelona is a world-class host city for world-class events.”
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