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Sentosa to trial green wi-fi

Nurdianah Md Nur | May 31, 2016
Aims to provide outdoor Wi-Fi services in a cost-effective and environmentally sustainable manner by using wireless backhaul technology coupled with solar panels.

From June onwards, visitors to Sentosa will be able to enjoy free Wi-Fi at most parts of the island.

They can do so by downloading the MySentosa app onto their mobile devices and registering for a Wireless@SG account via the app.

The Wireless@SG service will cover the beachfronts of Palawan Beach and Siloso Beach, Fort Siloso Skywalk, all stations of the Sentosa Express, the Sentosa Line of the Singapore Cable Car Sky Network (Merlion, Imbiah Lookout, Siloso Point), the Sentosa Golf Club (Clubhouse and Pavilion), and Palawan Kidz City.

The availability of such service is made possible by Sentosa Development Corporation's (SDC) partnership with the Infocomm Development Authority of Singapore (IDA), Aruba, M1 and Skylab in a new Green Wi-Fi Pilot @ Sentosa initiative.  

The pilot will explore using wireless backhaul technology, coupled with solar panels, to power and enable outdoor Wi-Fi services in a cost-effective and environmentally sustainable manner.

According to Khoong Hock Yun, IDA's Assistant CEO and Chief Data Officer, Green Wi-Fi deployment is expected to be "five times faster than non-solar outdoor Wi-Fi deployment".

The initiative will also "reduce costs by about 50 percent since it does not require trenching"  to lay outdoor cables, and "uses real-time network data to adjust power supply accordingly", he added.

The pilot will run from this June to September 2017. At the end of the trial, IDA and SDC will review the results before considering to deploy such outdoor Wireless@SG hotspots at more locations across the island.

"We need to know the resiliency of [Green Wi-Fi] and if it can deliver what it promises before we roll it out [on a wider scale]," said Khoong.

Enhancements to Wireless@SG
According to Khoong, the Green Wi-Fi Pilot @ Sentosa initiative is part of IDA's efforts to further enhance Wireless@SG since its launch in 2006.

Other enhancements include :

  • Real-time network monitoring and quality assurance
  • Wireless@SG app that provides hotspot locations and ease of logging onto the service
  • Automated login/authentication mechanisms. For instance, the SIM login feature introduced in April 2014 uses the local SIM card as the credential for automatic login to Wireless@SG. Besides a one-time device setup, there isn't a need for users to manually register to use Wireless@Sg. 
  • Speed upgrade to 5Mbps from April 2016. According to IDA, this is at least twice the typical public Wi-Fi speed globally, which ranges from 256 kbps to 2Mbps, and will be able to support high-definition video streaming.
  • Expansion of wireless coverage by increasing the number of indoor hotspots from the current 10,000 to 20,000 by 2018. 


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