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City of Dublin aims to realise smart city vision with OpenRoaming Wi-Fi trial

Proof-of-concept trial showcases how wireless internet standard has been deployed to provide residents, tourists and businesses in Irish capital with convenient access to municipal services

The City of Dublin has announced a successful proof-of-concept trial of the OpenRoaming standard from the Wireless Broadband Alliance (WBA).

First announced in 2020 and commercially deployed a year later, OpenRoaming was developed as a global solution based on a common set of standards to bridge the gap between cellular and Wi-Fi, offering users frictionless connectivity as users roam between guest Wi-Fi networks and public Wi-Fi hotspots.

It is designed to combine the convenience of mobile roaming with Wi-Fi 6 connectivity, allowing devices to connect to Wi-Fi networks securely and automatically and roam seamlessly from one hotspot to another without the user needing to log in.

Available at more than one million hotspots worldwide, WBA OpenRoaming is now in Release 3, and is designed to make the business and commercial aspects of roaming easier than ever and, importantly, cut back on hundreds of hours of legal and administrative time when establishing roaming settlement agreements. It is also intended to enable enterprises, device OEMs, service providers and others to provide performance guarantees and – with Wi-Fi 6 and 6E – a carrier-grade experience as users roam between different public Wi-Fi venues.

The greater metropolitan area of Dublin has a population of about 2.02 million, which is expected to grow to 2.2 million by 2031. It houses 30% of the Republic of Ireland’s working population and attracts more than 6.6 million overseas visitors a year.

Initially deployed on over 150 access points across the city at Bernardo Square, Dame Street and the City Council’s Amphitheatre, WBA OpenRoaming is designed to enable residents and visitors to log in only once and then maintain “seamless” access to services online, as well as high-quality connectivity as their smartphones, tablets and other Wi-Fi devices automatically switch between different public Wi-Fi hotspots.

This experience is designed to make it easier for users to find what they need, such as restaurant recommendations, transit schedules, directions and more, ensuring that they have the broadband connectivity required for interactive immersive learning, research, hybrid study, and more. Devices are automatically authenticated for use every time they switch to another OpenRoaming-enabled hotspot.

The trial, initiated by Dublin City Council’s Smart Dublin programme and supported by the WBA and Virgin Media, also involved participation from CommScope and represents a key a milestone toward achieving Dublin’s smart city goals. The success of the trial will pave the way for a larger city-wide deployment.

“Collaborations like this are key to the delivery of convenient, reliable and ubiquitous connectivity, which is critical for achieving our smart city goals, such as closing the digital divide and ensuring that government is responsive to the needs of citizens and businesses,” said Jamie Cudden, smart city lead for the City of Dublin.“ This successful trial of WBA OpenRoaming is a milestone towards achieving all those goals.”

WBA CEO Tiago Rodrigues added: “Wi-Fi is the foundation for smart cities. This successful proof-of-concept trial shows that that the City of Dublin and its residents, businesses and visitors all can depend on the WBA OpenRoaming standard to ensure they always have convenient access to seamless, secure, carrier-grade Wi-Fi connectivity.”

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