Feature Article

September 17, 2012

O2 Selects Cisco for Wi-Fi Network

Recently, Cisco was ranked by ABI Research as the best provider of Wi-Fi equipment for the wireless carrier industry. The company ranked highest among a number of competitors – including Ruckus, Ericsson and Alcatel-Lucent – for its services and in areas of innovative products selection and updated solutions.

Following that assessment by ABI, Cisco announced last week the unsurprising news that it has been chosen by O2 to be a key Wi-Fi provider for O2's public Wi-Fi network.

O2’s requirements called for a highly scalable, flexible and wireless networking solution, and Cisco came out on top with the winning feature set.

Telefónica O2 UK Limited is a major communications company for both consumers and businesses in the UK, with 22.2 million mobile customers and over 700,000 fixed broadband customers. Access to O2 Wi-Fi will be free for all customers, regardless of which provider they use. Rollout of the network has already begun, and to date O2 have deployed in thousands of locations using Cisco’s technology. 

 The deployment is scheduled to be completed over the next two years. When full deployed, O2 Wi-Fi will cover 15,000 United Kingdom locations.

Key network highlights include the following:

  • O2 Wi-Fi hotspot locations will be equipped with Cisco’s Aironet 3500 Series Access Points with Cisco CleanAir capability (the first 802.11n access points to create a self-healing, self-optimizing wireless network). CleanAir technology provides an example of why ABI placed Cisco in a leadership position. It is a system-wide feature of the company’s Wi-Fi solution designed to optimize wireless performance by detecting interference, identifying and locating its source and then making automatic adjustments to help ensure a high-quality service.
  • Cisco will provide the modular gateway router through the Cisco 887 Integrated Services Router.  Providing Power over Ethernet capabilities, which combined with integrated Wi-Fi deliver a powerful solution in a single device, Cisco's built-in security and encryption technologies will allow O2 Wi-Fi hotspots to be deployed safely, quickly and efficiently.
  • O2 Wi-Fi will be controlled and managed using the Cisco Wireless LAN Controller. The modular system can be scaled to monitor and manage a high volume of wireless access points, ensuring a high level of performance and security and providing O2 with the ability to quickly and centrally identify and address any drop in service levels within hotspot locations.
  • O2 Wi-Fi will be available free of charge to customers regardless of what mobile network they actually use.
  • By implementing its own Wi-Fi network and utilizing Cisco equipment, O2 believes it will be able to ensure that all end-users enjoy a high-quality experience.

"O2 Wi-Fi hotspots will bring high-quality public wireless internet access to the majority of mobile users,” said Gavin Franks, managing director at O2 Wi-Fi. “When we decided to roll out a Wi-Fi network on this scale, we worked very hard to ensure the network would have the right balance of control, scalability, durability and of course speed.  Cisco's networking technologies and expertise will help us achieve this balance and ensure that O2 Wi-Fi has the very best technological foundation possible, allowing us to deliver the superior customer experience that users have come to expect from O2."

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Edited by Braden Becker

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