Free Downtown Public Outdoor Wi-Fi Network Powered by Ruckus Wireless Arrives to Create a Connected Rio Grande City
“RGC Free Wi-Fi” for Residents and Visitors Makes Rio Grande One of The Most Connected Cities in Texas
Rio Grande City, Texas, April 23, 2014
The downtown area of Rio Grande City has moved a step closer to digital inclusion in South Texas. As a service of the Rio Grande City Economic Development Corporation (EDC), residents and visitors to the downtown area armed with various mobile devices such as smartphones and tablets are now able to get online quickly, easily, and at no charge using a free, public outdoor Ruckus Smart Wi-Fi network deployed by Frontera Consulting of McAllen, Texas.
“We wanted to do everything in our power to give our residents and visitors everything they could want in a downtown shopping experience,” notes Mayor Ruben Villarreal, President of the EDC and Mayor of Rio Grande City. “In this day and age we all need to be connected, and we are happy to provide that for our City. We hope that it encourages Rio Grande residents and visitors to take advantage of constant wireless Wi-Fi connectivity as they walk around our historic and beautiful downtown. There’s so much going on in Rio Grande City, this is just another reason to come see what’s happening!”
The service is available through the historic 14 block-area from Avasolo to Garza streets along U.S. Highway 83. Monique Villarreal of the Rio Grande City EDC added, “Primarily this service is to provide outdoor Wi-Fi connectivity for visitors and residents in the downtown area. We look forward to being able to spur economic development and growth for our businesses in this region. The more we can do for our local businesses, the better for our local economy.”
The task of determining the requirements of the network, as well as the engineering, design, and deployment was handled by Frontera Consulting of McAllen, Texas. A local technology consulting and engineering firm, Frontera works with municipalities across the Highway 83 corridor in the Rio Grande Valley, in addition to the Southwest United States, to find ways to leverage technology to increase City services. “Sometimes the dreams that cities have are more achievable than they think,” said Drew Lentz of Frontera.
Working with Rio Grande City leadership and the EDC, Frontera was able to craft a specifically designed Ruckus Smart Wi-Fi outdoor network that encompassed the downtown corridor while providing the flexibility for the network to grow and be accessed by City services.
“With each project we’re involved in, we like to process the network design and engineering aspects in the background, while working with our customers to find out what they need and want out of technology,” continued Lentz. “If we are told where they want to go, we can get them there in the most effective and efficient way, while building in scalability to make sure that their technology decisions today enable them to not have to worry about tomorrow.”
Enabling the outdoor wireless access is equipment mounted by Frontera on street light poles up and down the Rio Grande downtown U.S. Highway 83 corridor. Ruckus Smart Wi-Fi was selected by Frontera for Rio Grande City because it overcomes the physical and technical challenges of bringing high-speed wireless connectivity to outdoor environments like the historic Downtown Rio Grande City corridor, with its high-capacity coverage requirements, where many users are trying to access the network simultaneously.
Frontera Consulting has deployed over a dozen Ruckus ZoneFlex™ 7782 carrier-class outdoor access points (APs), all centrally managed with a Ruckus ZoneDirector™ 3000 controller.
Frontera chose Ruckus because of the company’s patented BeamFlex™ Smart Wi-Fi antenna technology that steers signals to high-quality paths, along with its innovative ChannelFly™ dynamic channel management technology, which automatically determines the best radio frequency within either the 2.4 or 5 GHz bands when interference or contention conditions warrant it. These two technologies are vital when dealing with multiple types of users and devices that can range from up to 50 people per day, to thousands of people attending downtown festivals and parades. The meshing features of the Ruckus APs were also beneficial to this project as there is no existing fiber or wireless infrastructure in downtown Rio Grande City. With a maximum of 3 hops on the network, Frontera was able to effectively cover the downtown area using a combination of root and mesh APs by supplying streetlight power at almost all locations.
“We chose Ruckus APs for the RGC outdoor network because of their unprecedented performance in high-density applications like Rio Grande City and their unique technology that extends signals and adapts to changing user conditions,” noted Lentz. “From casual shoppers to parades and festivals, the Rio Grande downtown is a dynamic environment that creates constantly changing demands on the wireless network—demands that the Ruckus equipment can reliably meet and resolve.”
“RGC Free Wi-Fi” is provided in dual-bands, 2.4 and 5 GHz, to provide coverage to the widest range of mobile devices. In locations where backhaul was not available to the Ruckus access points, Ruckus SmartMesh Networking technology is being used to provide highly resilient wireless connections between access points. Through the use of patented Ruckus Smart Wi-Fi technology, Ruckus access points are able to extend Wi-Fi signals over longer distances while adapting signals to constant changes in environmental conditions. This provides users more stable and higher speed connections than conventional Wi-Fi technology.
“We wanted to bring free Wi-Fi to downtown Rio Grande City to boost our Economic Development, give a key benefit to our visitors and citizens, and level the playing field for Rio Grande City. Rio has always been a leader in South Texas, from the steamboat era through today. This is a huge step for us not only here in Rio Grande City, but for the Rio Grande Valley and South Texas.” said Mayor Ruben Villarreal. Mr. Lentz of Frontera commented, “I am confident that we were able to meet all of our client’s objectives while providing the City with a foundation to build some remarkable services for their citizens, visitors, and future businesses. I’m proud of the work we have done here!”
About Frontera Consulting, LLC
Frontera Consulting, LLC, is a premiere technology consultant located in McAllen, Texas. With over three decades of experience in the information technology industry, Frontera combines industry-leading practices and World-leading technology solutions for their clients. As a full-service technology and communications consulting firm with experience in data delivery networks, via wireline (e.g. fiber, copper, etc) and wireless mediums, Frontera has constructed and designed networks for clients and users across the world. Through an emphasis on process, procedure, and dedicated commitment to the community, the attitude carried by Frontera is that of pride and confidence in their work and an ongoing dedication to the highest quality of services available.