LONDON (Reuters) – Residents and workers in London’s Canary Wharf will be able to experience superfast Wi-Fi broadband across the site without the hassle of logging into different networks thanks to the first European commercial roll-out of OpenRoaming technology.
A joint initiative by Canary Wharf Group, broadband provider Virgin Media <LBTYA.O> and technology company Cisco <CSCO.O> will allow devices to connect securely and automatically to next generation Wi-Fi 6 networks and roam seamlessly from one hotspot to another without the need log in, the companies said.
Cisco UK and Ireland chief executive David Meads said the technology could help businesses adapt after the COVID-19 pandemic, with workers unlikely to go back to being tethered to their enterprise network for eight hours a day, five days a week.
“Having the flexibility to access applications, wherever those applications sit in the cloud, without compromising security whilst on the move is a new dynamic that hadn’t really been appreciated to the degree we do now,” he said.
Deploying Wi-Fi 6 across Canary Wharf, London’s second financial centre that is home to many major banks, would take the strain off mobile networks, he said.
“Where you have a dense population of people, whether it’s residential or from the workplace, with Wi-Fi 6 you have greater capacity than traditional mobile radio networks, greater range, higher reliability and reduced latency,” he said.
He said Wi-Fi 6 complemented rather than competed with 5G radio technology, with use cases for both.
OpenRoaming allows users to join any network that is part of a Wireless Broadband Alliance federation, including Samsung, Google, Virgin Media and many others.
It enables the network to securely authenticate user’s devices by using credentials such as those provided by service providers or device manufacturers.
(Reporting by Paul Sandle; Editing by Edmund Blair)