ABB extends wifi for waterways in Venice

17 Oct 2013

ABB has supplied a high-performance wireless broadband network that provides reliable, free Internet access for the residents of Venice, Italy – regardless of whether they are in open piazzas, narrow alleys, or traveling along the Grand Canal by boat. By ABB Communications

The project was initiated in 2009 by the municipality of Venice to bring free, city-wide wireless broadband access to its citizens and businesses and – in return for a small fee - for the 22 million tourists who visit the city every year.

To get things started, the municipality’s information and communications technology company, Venis, assessed numerous vendors before conducting a pilot installation and selecting a wireless mesh system to deliver the broadband network. The system chosen was supplied by Tropos, which was acquired by ABB in 2011, and is now part of ABB’s extensive offering of communications solutions.

The Wi-Fi solution provided for Venice comprises both fixed and mobile wireless nodes to deliver a broadband network that can handle in excess of 200 gigabytes of data and 40,000 subscriber users. It is equipped with 200 wireless mesh routers, deployed in discrete enclosures that blend in with the historical surroundings of the city.

Among the features that differentiate this solution from its competitors are its ability to switch automatically between two frequencies (2.4 and 5 GHz) to ensure maximum signal strength and continuous connectivity, even in narrow and winding alleys where there is no line of sight.

Another distinguishing feature of the solution are the onboard routers that provide reliable and seamless roaming for users on water buses that traffic the Grand Canal and other waterways of the city.

A third differentiator is the solution’s scalability and ease of installation. It was delivered and deployed in just three months, and has already been extended into new areas of the city.

The Venice Wi-Fi project is part of the ?Free ItaliaWifi? initiative, which was started in 2010 by the Province of Rome, the region of Sardinia, and the City of Venice, each of which already had their own public Wi-Fi networks. Its objective is to create a national network of free wireless broadband networks. The initiative currently embraces 41 networks, 2,130 Wi-Fi hotspots and 427,000 members.

ABB is the market leader in wireless broadband networks that provide reliable, secure and scalable wireless IP networks for field applications in a broad range of industries, including utilities, oil and gas, mining, smart grids and smart cities.

ABB Group press release