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【Carrier-Grade Wi-Fi】Public Access in Shanghai

Public Access in Shanghai


A report released by the CNNIC (China Internet Network Information Center) showed that number of Chinese accessing Internet via mobiles had increased to 388 million by the end of June 2012. The total number of Chinese web users reached 538 million in the first half of June. In Shanghai, the number of mobile users exceeded 30 million, with 5.6 million of them using 3G services. 

Shanghai was on its way to becoming a “wireless city” by 2015. Public areas such as transport hubs, parks, tourism sites, and hospital lobbies should all receive the WLAN service. Shanghai hoped to have a total of 210,000 hot spots in 6500 places, including paid Wi-Fi networks by 2015. 

To keep up with a growing number of mobile users, Shanghai Municipal Government launched ‘i-Shanghai’ multi-phase initiative in partnership with local telecom. The goal was to build a free Wi-Fi-program with more than 450 public Wi-Fi access areas by the end of 2013.

To practice the goal of a "wireless city", the City of Shanghai had big expectations for the new Wi-Fi infrastructure. They wanted wide wireless coverage, concurrent client capacity, high reliability, great performance, and centralized management at the lowest capital and operational expenditure.



. Complete coverage across the city

. Higher capacity. Majority of capacity had to deliver in 2.4GHz band, with the 5GHz band available for the future growth

. Easy to deploy

. All the indoor/outdoor access points centrally managed by a simple, robust, and remote control management system


. Indoor/ outdoor access points

. Wireless LAN Controller

. WNMS Management System


. Fast, reliable wireless connectivity

. All clients able to connect at the highest data rates with strong signals

. Higher speed 802.11ac Wi-Fi to support the distribution of high density content

. Elimination of manual management for individual access points

. Easy and cost-effective configuration and installation


The government recognized that the city was confronted with performance, capacity and management issues with its existing network. The city needs to replace its existing wireless network with the best Wi-Fi that would support higher capacity public access with fast and reliable connection over a larger area of the city. Moreover, the entire indoor, outdoor wireless infrastructure needs a central management system.


It’s urgent for the major telecom players to find a qualified Wi-Fi system company. After evaluating a number of Wi-Fi suppliers, Z-COM was the winner. Z-COM's RF signal is much stronger and more stable after a series of qualification tests. Besides, the service and product performance are more reliable and return on investment is high. 


The first test batch of free Wi-Fi hot spots was slated to go live in 30 public places, including the Shanghai Railway Station, the Bund, and Xintiandi. The installation of Z-COM two-stream, dual-band 802.11n outdoor access points units on outdoor access points on light poles with gigabit fiber backbone connections has allowed the downtown street to easily expand network capacity, provide expanded coverage and high performance throughout in the public avenues.


Following the success of the initial deployment, next year Shanghai began deploying hundreds of dual-band, two-stream access points in a total of 500 public telephone booths in the downtown area to enable the city to go wireless, bringing new life to the abandoned public phone booths.


All Z-COM access points were managed by a series wireless LAN controllers centrally, or a remote Wi-Fi management service platform WNMS, used to manage and monitor standalone access points and Wireless LAN Controllers. Either Z-COM Wireless LAN Controllers or WNMS provided bulk configuration and statistics for tens of thousands of individual access points or entire wireless LAN systems, effectively eliminating any equipment configuration by technical support from local telecom operator.


Z-COM’s carrier-class Wi-Fi system works seamlessly with existing cellular network infrastructure, providing consistent user policy, provisioning, security, roaming and authentication. Simple sign-in is also a critical feature for subscriber satisfaction. To enjoy the service, Shanghai residents and visitors first connect a public Wi-Fi network named “i-Shanghai”. After opening a web browser, users would be prompted to enter a mobile phone number. They would then receive a text message with a password that would allow them two hours of access to the Internet via free Wi-Fi.


Now, more than 200,000 users have accessed the service, spending more than 500,000 hours online. According to the commission, monthly network traffic has increased by 40 percent, reaching 74 terabytes. A Shanghai official said, “We have been pleased to work with Z-COM on this project, which will potentially change the mobile Internet access experience. We will be continuing to choose Z-COM for future Wi-Fi expansion that will provide further Wi-Fi coverage to more residents, visitors and businesses.”

Simple sign-in is also a critical feature for subscriber satisfaction

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