London Mayor Boris Johnson has warned of mobile networks facing a massive strain during next year’s Olympics. Johnson went on to say that he was confident that operators and infrastructure companies would be able to address the problem, including the installation of more masts around the park to improve coverage.
However, Selina Lo, president and CEO of Smart Wi-Fi specialist Ruckus Wireless argues that while Johnson may be right about the challenges ahead, the key issue is to look at capacity as well as coverage.
“It’s critical that London has the communications in place to support the 2012 Olympics, but one area we seem to be neglecting is Wi-Fi. Many operators are now incorporating Wi-Fi into their long term strategy – using it to offload mobile data. We’ve already seen this with The Cloud in the UK, KDDI in Japan and Towerstream in the US augmenting macro cellular networks with small cells using next generation Wi-Fi.”
“Wi-Fi has suffered from the traditional perception that it’s flaky and unreliable, but recent advances have made the technology much more reliable and longer range. With mobile data growing at such a rapid rate – and the resulting impact this will have on carrier networks – Wi-Fi is becoming an indispensible tool for any operator. Offloading data traffic from 3G devices is the most efficient approach available today so it’s vital that it’s incorporated into plans for London 2012.”