Finland's first large-scale wireless MESH network to Oulu

Tue, 02/27/2007 - 13:45 -- admin

City of Oulu expands panOULU network to the city center and other outdoor areas with a MESH network. For the users of panOULU the shake-up is substantial - wireless connection works faster and is more reliable, and at the same time the coverage area expands significantly. The network uses Strix Systems MESH technology and it will be delivered by Nordic LAN&WAN Communication Plc.The new network, which will be built by the end of October 2007, will replace the old outdoor coverage in Oulu center and expands it to new areas. Compared to the older, regular WLAN network, the greatest difference is that not all of the access points are connected to a wired network. Instead the access points form a self-connected wireless network, where only the so-called RAP (Root Access Point) access points are connected to the Internet. The amount of access points that need a wired connection is only a tenth of all the access points, and thus the costs of wired connections are reduced significantly.
A great strength of the system is the increased usability of the panOULU network. The access points are also easy to upgrade to upcoming WLAN standards. The access points used in the MESH network are equipped with four radios, of which two work as so-called backhaul radios and two work as client radios.
Almost 700 access points in panOULU
The panOULU network currently includes 675 access points, of which 60 offer outdoor coverage. Thirteen of them are located in moving objects, such as in buses, a mobile library and the Hailuoto ferry. The city of Oulu administers 215 of the access points and they are located in public service points, such as in citizen's houses, schools, youth houses, service centers, health care facilities, the city hospital, sports areas and bureaus.
panOULU network is provided in cooperation by City of Oulu, University of Oulu, Oulu Polytechnic, VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland, Elisa Plc., Netplaza Ltd. and Oulun Puhelin Plc. The network is comprised of the four aforementioned organization's visitor networks and the panOULU subscriptions sold by the telcos. Organizations that have bought a subscription offer panOULU in their premises to their clients and visitors. The COMPETENCE Oulu 400 programme will expand the network with 400 new access points by the end of 2007.
panOULU network offers a free and open wireless broadband network to everyone, and one only needs a WLAN compatible device to use it. The number of network users has grown steadily and in January 2007 there were almost 6 000 different users. The users are also very active, for there are almost a 200 000 use sessions per month. The accumulated online time will soon reach ten million minutes; already in January the usage time was over 8,4 million minutes. In addition to laptops, the use of WLAN capable mobile phones in the network has boomed.
The deliverer of the MESH network, Nordic LAN&WAN Communication Plc. is a private Finnish service company specialized in telecommunication and network security. In addition to MESH networks, LAN&WAN sells, installs and maintains also centrally controllable WLAN networks and wireless WiMAX networks. LAN&WAN works in 11 different localities and employs 80 people.
More information:
Heikki Riikonen, project manager, City of Oulu. tel. 044 703 1640
Juha Pasanen, district chief, Nordic LAN&WAN Communication. tel. 0500 686 706

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