Travelers, employees and retailers at Brazil’s São Paulo/Guarulhos International Airport (GRU) can access the world’s first at-airport Wi-Fi 6 network using OpenRoaming, according to the Wireless Broadband Alliance (WBA).
“OpenRoaming provides secure, automatic and friction-free access to the Cisco-powered network that is managed by Boingo,” information disclosed by WBA reads. “The WBA OpenRoaming service will be available to travelers in GRU’s international Terminal 3, using best-of-breed Samsung Galaxy devices. With OpenRoaming, users will be able to experience the speed, power and simplicity of one of the most advanced wireless networks in the world.”
According to WBA, based on 802.11ax and featuring channels up to 160 MHz wide, Wi-Fi 6 can deliver speeds up to three times faster than 802.11 technologies. Designed for use in the 2.4, 5 and new 6 GHz bands, Wi-Fi 6 also provides greater reliability, ultra-low latency and higher network efficiency in airports, stadiums and other environments with large numbers of simultaneously connected devices. Passengers and airport employees will no longer have to log in to public Wi-Fi networks repeatedly. They will be able to enjoy a seamless experience when watching videos or gaming as they wait for flights. It will also improve consumers’ experience in the retail stores as it will allow a smoother check-out process and support back-office operations.
“The service frees travelers, airport employees and other users from the repeat registration and log-in that public Wi-Fi networks often require,” WBA said in a statement. “Instead of re-registering or re-entering log-in credentials, GRU users will enjoy the convenience of instant network access matched with enterprise-grade security. When coupled with the Wi-Fi 6 infrastructure, OpenRoaming also helps provide a carrier-grade Wi-Fi experience.”
Boingo designed, installed and manages the GRU network, which, WBA said, was the world’s first airport Wi-Fi 6 network when it launched in October 2020. Travelers have up to four hours of free access, including from their older generation Wi-Fi devices, thanks to Wi-Fi’s backward compatibility.
As WBA described it, the GRU network features a unified Wi-Fi 6 infrastructure based on Cisco Catalyst access points, controllers and switches. Samsung provided GRU operations employees with ruggedized handsets and other devices enabled with Broadcom’s W-Fi 6 chipset, enabling them to use Wi-Fi 6 to maximize productivity and responsiveness to passengers whilst different OpenRoaming identities are used to separate automatic access for GRU employees versus guests.
“GRU is South America’s busiest airport,” said Gustavo Figueiredo, GRU Airport´s CEO. “With Wi-Fi 6, our passengers and operations employees now have reliable, seamless and secure connectivity to assure a better traveling experience.”
WBA CEO Tiago Rodrigues said, “This world-class, world-first airport OpenRoaming network at GRU showcases how the WBA membership collaborates to provide consumers and business users with reliable, blazingly fast connectivity. The GRU network also highlights the critical role that OpenRoaming plays in providing people with instant, ultra-secure access to Wi-Fi networks. That peace of mind is key for continuing to build and maintain confidence in public networks.”
Derek Peterson, Ph.D., Boingo’s chief technology officer, said that the GRU installation is the latest example of Boingo’s commitment to providing cutting-edge technologies that enhance the traveler’s experience and enable airport operations staff to efficiently and effectively serve those travelers. “Boingo was the first to deploy a Wi-Fi 6 airport network, and now we’re working within the WBA to raise the bar yet again with the world’s first OpenRoaming network at an airport,” he said.
Expressing Broadcom’s perspective, Gabriel Desjardins, director of product marketing, said that Broadcom’s vision has been to accelerate critical wireless technologies to market. “We are excited to see our investments in Wi-Fi 6 and OpenRoaming enable real-world deployments that give consumers easy access to high-speed wireless networks,” he said.
Speaking on behalf of Cisco Wireless, the company’s chief technology officer, Matt MacPherson, said that the only thing faster than GRU’s Cisco-based Wi-Fi 6 network is the process of connecting with it. “WBA OpenRoaming completely transforms the user experience for travelers and airport employees by eliminating the registrations, log-ins and other traditional authentication processes and replacing them all with a secure and seamless onboarding framework.” He said. “It also opens up new opportunities for retailers in the airport, as they look to engage with travelers by creating unique digital experiences to win their business.”
Samsung Electronics’ corporate vice president and head of convergence research and development, James M. Choi, said that passengers and GRU staff will get to experience Wi-Fi like never before. “We’ve made some great strides these past few months to give users access to Wi-Fi 6 and OpenRoaming,” he said, “and this is only the beginning. Together, we’ll never cease to innovate to offer users access to secure and seamless next-level connectivity when they need it most.”
Source: Wireless Broadband Alliance