The 9.5 million inhabitants in the Windy City’s metropolitan district and its 46 million annual visitors will now will be able to enjoy the free WiFi, similar to other GOWEX cities such as New York, Madrid, Paris and Dubai. The GOWEX footprint covers some 70 cities around the world.
Today, more than 450 free WiFi hotspots have been deployed, mostly Downtown and the central business district.
The GOWEX business model monetizes its Wi-Fi networks by generating revenues from roaming and offloading that come through their proprietary platform. Revenues are also generated by Geolocalized advertising and revenues from Smart City services, also owned by GOWEX, for governmental use.
Gowex aims to turn private hotspots–such as those found in shops and restaurants–into public hotspots that can easily be accessed for free by users registered on the We2 network for seamless roaming across the city. It will also include access to Gowex’s hotspots in cities worldwide.
GOWEX Wireless Smart Cities is global model with some 85 cities internationally. As in all GOWEX networks, any user with an account will get a 1 Mbps speed connection for free and will have other Premium options.
Hotspot 2.0 is a new set of protocols to enable cellular-like roaming. A variety of partnerships are developing nationwide and world-wide, including:
- The “CableWiFi” network identifier (SSID) allows devices to auto-connect to a “CableWiFi” hotspot when in range. Comcast alone will install eight million Xfinity WiFi hotspots by the end of the year available in public locations across the country, from shopping centers, commuter stations, parks and sporting venues. Xfinity Homes will now contain two SSIDs, enabling consumer cable WiFi boxes to “share” their WiFi, helping the MSOs compete with mobile carriers.
- Facebook Wi-Fi is a partnership between Cisco and Facebook that allows Wi-Fi users to log into access points, using Facebook credentials. Facebook said it had 819 million monthly mobile users (73%) out of its total 1.15 billion users in Q2 2013. It’s primarily driven by advertising revenue.
- Europe’s Fon WiFi community. Uses a $59 Fonera WiFi router. Fon claims to have the largest Wi-Fi network in the world, with over eight million hotspots as at July 2013.
- Boingo launched “Passpoint Secure” networks at more than 20 airports throughout the United States using the Cisco Hotspot 2.0 network. Cisco, AT&T and Accuris partnered to bring a Hotspot 2.0 network to MWC 2014 this year.
- iPass has launched a cloud-based Business Traveler Service 2.0, marking iPass’ transformation into a cloud company utilizing a Software-as-a-Service delivery model, coupled with an app based approach. The service is available at 3,000 airports, 22 airlines, hotels and public areas worldwide. A single log-in enables users to obtain automatic access and authentication on smartphones, tablets and laptops in over 120 countries.
- Google is considering deploying Wi-Fi networks in cities covered by Google Fiber. The disclosure is made in a document Google is circulating to 34 cities that are the next candidates to receive Google Fiber in 2015.
- Google is apparently planning to offer subsidized, commercial-grade Wi-Fi hardware to small and medium-sized businesses, reports TechCrunch, including doctors’ offices, restaurants, and gyms. A Hotspot 2.0 feature would streamline signing in. The hardware would be the only cost involved, and use the businesses’ existing Internet connections, unlike the Google-provided Wi-Fi networks running at Starbucks.
Infrastructure providers are also enabling small businesses and organizations to “roll their own” Hotspot 2.0 network:
- Cloud4Wi released a new software development kit (SDK) to enable third-party developers to design apps for its Wi-Fi marketplace platform, to deliver greater network value to organizations with Wi-Fi. Cloud4Wi is launching the new SDK at Cisco Live, Cisco’s annual IT and communications conference, at Moscone Center in San Francisco this week.
- Ruckus Wireless has announced their virtual SmartCell Gateway (vSCG) as a followup to the Smart WiFi Access Management Service (SAMS) it unveiled last month for small and midsized businesses. It’s designed for mobile and cable network operators, managed service providers, and large enterprises that want to move their WLAN management to the cloud.
- The Aerohive Cloud Services Platform is a globally distributed, cloud-based infrastructure for Aerohive developed Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) applications. Although not strictly Hotspot 2.0, its new 802.11AC access point, the three-stream AP 230 is priced at $799.
Multi-User MIMO promises to handle large crowds better then Wave 1 802.11ac products since the different users can use different streams at the same time. The Asus AC87U router, powered by Quantenna’s 4×4 MU-MIMO chipset, is expected to be among the first to support advanced beam forming.
Public Hotspots serving large crowds will benefit with MU-MIMO but enterprise and carrier-grade gear could be a year away, say industry observers.
IDC estimates that the worldwide enterprise market for Cloud-managed WLAN infrastructure and managed services is expected to reach $2.5 billion by 2018.
Related Dailywireless articles include; Ruckus Announces Carrier-Grade WiFi Management , GOWEX: Free WiFi for Miami, Ad-Sponsored WiFi Initiatives from Gowex & Facebook, Comcast Creates Hotspot 2.0 National Network, Ruckus Announces Cloud-Based WiFi Services, FCC Authorizes High Power at 5.15 – 5.25 GHz, FCC Moves to Add 195 MHz to Unlicensed 5 GHz band, FCC Paves Way for 3.5 ghz, WiFi & Hotspot 2.0 at MWC, NYC & Cable Provide Hotspot 2.0 Service , Free WiFi: It’s a Right!, Cities of San Jose and Santa Clara Get Free WiFi, Free WiFi for 31 SF Parks, Ubiquiti 802.11ac Outdoor Access Points, Ubiquiti Launches “Revolution”,