Dublin free Wi-Fi initiative is now trialling an open-source network

22 Nov 2022

Image: © lucachiappori/Stock.adobe.com

The architecture being trialled is expected to help Dublin City Council expand the free-to-use Wi-Fi network in the city centre.

As part of an initiative to provide free Wi-Fi in Dublin’s city centre, a new open-source network architecture is being trialled to enable multi-vendor interoperability.

Telecom Infra Project (TIP) OpenWiFi will allow Dublin City Council to mix and match additional access points and controllers from any compliant manufacturer, enabling it to easily expand the free city centre Wi-Fi network.

The free-to-use public Wi-Fi service was announced in summer 2021, when Dublin City Council partnered with Virgin Media Business to provide free internet across 30 locations in Dublin with internet speeds of up to 500Mbps.

The initiative was supported by the WiFi4EU programme, which is part of a €120m Europe-wide plan to provide communities with better Wi-Fi connectivity in public spaces.

TIP OpenWiFi allows network selection based on use case rather than a single vendor’s products and facilitates the independent replacement and upgrading of components. It is compliant with the technical requirements of the WiFi4EU initiative.

Dublin City Council is installing Wi-Fi 6 access points that are compliant with TIP OpenWiFi as a “trial of open, disaggregated solutions” for potential use in the city’s public Wi-Fi network.

A TIP OpenWiFi network can also support OpenRoaming, a system that is being introduced to let users maintain connectivity by logging in once and automatically switching to different public Wi-Fi hotspots.

“A smart city is built around collaboration and openness,” said Jamie Cudden, Smart City programme manager at Dublin City Council.

“We are delighted to be trailing Wi-Fi options that are built with an open-source architecture that enables multi-vendor interoperability.”

Smart Dublin is a programme designed to accelerate innovation across the city. Founded by the four Dublin local authorities, it aims to future-proof the Dublin regions by trialling technology to address a wide range of local challenges.

Noel O’Reilly, business products and solutions manager at Virgin Media Business, said that his company is focused on providing “ultrafast speeds and ultra-reliability”.

“We’re industry leaders offering our customers the latest technology and it just made sense to trial Dublin City Council’s Wi-Fi network using TIP OpenWiFi standards as part of our innovation partnership with the council.”

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Vish Gain is a journalist with Silicon Republic