SAN JOSE, Calif. — With the roar of a chainsaw, Mayor Chuck Reed and Councilmember Sam Liccardo (District 3) with innovative partners, SmartWAVE Technologies and Ruckus Wireless, Inc. (NYSE: RKUS), cut the faux Ethernet cable on Thursday, March 14, 2013 to mark the availability of the free, Wickedly Fast Wi-Fi Network in Downtown San José. The Wickedly Fast Wi-Fi, operated by the City of San José, is accessible through the downtown core from East St. John Street to the north, portions of Balbach Street and Viola Avenue to the south, North 6th Street to the east, and Almaden Boulevard to the west. The new network will deliver Wi-Fi speeds up to three to four times faster than conventional, existing Wi-Fi public networks across the country.
“As the Capital of Silicon Valley, San José is proud to help bring this advanced outdoor Wi-Fi technology to everyone who lives, works, and visits our downtown,” remarked Mayor Chuck Reed. “I’d like to thank SmartWAVE Technologies and Ruckus Wireless for partnering with us on this innovative project during a time of limited resources.”
The City of San José launched this unique public/private partnership to help bring the Wi-Fi network to life. Over the past year, Ruckus and its integration partner, SmartWAVE Technologies, have been providing Smart Wi-Fi equipment and ongoing technical and engineering support to the City’s IT Department throughout the deployment of the network. The result is the Wickedly Fast Wi-Fi Network, created with leading-edge technology, developed in Silicon Valley, at minimal cost to the City.
The network also benefits the City’s downtown parking infrastructure, primarily the pay-to-park meters, by improving the speed by which time-sensitive transactions occur. In addition, it connects City facilities by providing high-speed alternatives to traditional telecommunications circuits.
Councilmember Sam Liccardo noted, “For the downtown community, this is a major win — for the families who live here, students who go to school here, for the local businesses and their employees who can engage in their work outdoors, for restaurants with outdoor dining, and for visitors who can use the Wickedly Fast Wi-Fi to explore our dynamic, forward-thinking city.”
Through the direction of Acting Chief Information Officer Vijay Sammeta, the IT Department is leveraging this new partnership to address the connectivity needs of entrepreneurs, visitors and businesses in the Capital of Silicon Valley. “We’re bringing unbelievably fast Internet access to downtown,” explained Sammeta. “The Wickedly Fast Wi-Fi Network will bring to life the City’s vision of reliable, free Wi-Fi. It’s also the first step in building a community area network that supports government, business and the public’s needs through a single infrastructure.”
The new outdoor Wi-Fi infrastructure leverages the newest ultra-high speed Wi-Fi standards to improve network performance. The patented technology by Ruckus Wireless extends the range of wireless signals and increases the reliability of Wi-Fi connections.
“Utilizing our Smart Wi-Fi technology, this Wickedly Fast Wi-Fi Network offers the fastest public Wi-Fi service in the country, and we’re proud to be a part of enabling that,” said Selina Lo, president and CEO of Ruckus Wireless. “On a smartphone, a user will be able to experience speeds of anywhere from two to three Megabits per second. This is easily three to four times faster than any other public network service,” Lo concludes. “There’s a huge, growing demand around the country, and the world, for more reliable public and managed Wi-Fi services to satisfy an exploding population of users now armed with multiple smart mobile devices, and where better to help satisfy that demand than starting with the Capital of Silicon Valley.”
One of the nation’s leading wireless integrators, SmartWAVE Technologies, is providing expert configuration, site survey, deployment and ongoing support services to ensure non-stop operation of the new wireless infrastructure.
“Using our proven methodology for deployment, combined with our talented team of experienced personnel, we were able to move the project from a vision to a reality,” said Al Brown, CEO of SmartWAVE Technologies LLC. “In concert with the antenna technology from Ruckus Wireless, we were able to leverage the City’s infrastructure to push the boundaries of typical Mesh Wi-Fi designs. The design and implementation of wireless networks is our passion, and we appreciate the relationship developed with our partners in providing this best in-class network for all to enjoy in Downtown San José.”
Ruckus Wireless provided outdoor 802.11n access points that are deployed on light poles and indoor 802.11n access points installed at other locations throughout Downtown. The majority of these wireless devices are connected to a high-speed gigabit fiber network that terminates at an Internet peering point called the Metropolitan Area Exchange, West—better known as MAE-West—in Downtown San José. Management of the wireless network will be centralized at City Hall, allowing a single point of visibility, control and tuning of the Wi-Fi network.
San José was among the first large cities in 2004 to provide free wireless Internet access in downtown hotspots. Since then, the technology evolved, resulting in the City, 1stACT Silicon Valley, and the downtown business and event community to identify the need to improve the speed and the coverage of the network.
The Wickedly Fast Wi-Fi Network project has a one-time cost of about $94,000 with ongoing costs of approximately $22,000, which are similar to the on-going costs of the current system. This project is being funded through parking revenue and the City’s General Fund.