UK wireless operator O2 has selected Cambridge Communication Systems to provide the backhaul for the new Wi-Fi system serving the Coca-Cola London Eye, a high-profile, cantilevered observation wheel. A Metnet self-organizing network (SON) microwave backhaul will provide backhaul connections to the tourist attraction’s thirty-two closed capsules as the rotate above the London skyline.
The high-tech Farris wheel is a novel communications challenge, but it is as a good showcase for the use of SON and mesh architecture in the backhaul of wireless signals. The 28-GHz network, using eight CCS nodes installed around the edge of the wheel, connects to 16 Cisco Wi-Fi access points, which provide coverage across the thirty-two capsules. The CCS nodes connect back to two nodes at the central hub, which connect back to the network of Merlin Entertainment, which owns the wheel, and the internet.
CCS developed a new antenna system for the project, giving 360-degree coverage when it rotated around the wheel. The CCS SON algorithm detects the best possible configuration while managing self-interference, and the internal sync mode helps to distribute stable GPS to the other moving nodes.
Metnet Lays Foundation for Backhauling 5G, Smart Cities
CCS is positioning its Metnet nodes to be the backbone of the 5G small cells and the smart cities of the future. Earlier this year CCS began the deployment of a Wi-Fi network in the City of London’s financial district, known as the “Square Mile.”
The network comprises more than 400 small cells deployed on lampposts, street signs, buildings and CCTV columns to provide service for the 400,000 city workers and 10 million annual visitors.
The Metnet system operates in a single frequency channel with no radio frequency planning required. Each node has a wide 270-degree field of view and supports multiple connections, so there’s no need for manual alignment.
J. Sharpe Smith is senior editor of the AGL eDigest. He joined AGL in 2007 as contributing editor to the magazine and as editor of eDigest email newsletter. He has 27 years of experience writing about industrial communications, paging, cellular, small cells, DAS and towers. Previously, he worked for the Enterprise Wireless Alliance as editor of the Enterprise Wireless Magazine. Before that, he edited the Wireless Journal for CTIA and he began his wireless journalism career with Phillips Publishing, now Access Intelligence.