The Telegraph
Friday , June 6 , 2014
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Wi-Fi clouds key stretch

The cloud is here, at last.

The city is literally on the cyber highway with Wi-Fi access gears being installed over a stretch of 18km — the longest in the country — enabling people with smart phones, laptop and tablets chat with friends online absolutely free.

Any Wi-Fi-enabled device can now be connected to the city Wi-Fi network between National Institute of Technology on Ashok Rajpath and Saguna Mor on the western end of Bailey Road.

The network of “Free Wi-Fi zone of Patna” is available within a radius of 300 metres from the arterial roads under the coverage area — Ashok Rajpath, Fraser Road, New Dakbungalow Road and Bailey Road.

The installation of access gears on the remaining 2km stretch between Sheikhpura Mor and Ashiana Mor has been put on hold because of a flyover construction.

While the remaining 2km stretch is also expected to be completed within a couple of weeks, the already operational Wi-Fi on 18km is more than three times the coverage area (around 6.5km) in Bangalore — considered the Silicon Valley of India.

The “Namma Wi-Fi” facility, launched in a few select places of Bangalore on January 25, has a coverage area of 6.5km across MG Road, Brigade Road, Shanti Nagar bus terminus, Yesvantpur bus terminus, Koramangala bus terminus and a business centre in Indira Nagar. It offers only 30 minutes of free inter-connectivity in every 24 hours to any single Wi-Fi-enabled device.

Atul Sinha, managing director, Bihar State Electronic Development Corporation Limited (Beltron), claimed that the facility would be formally inaugurated in a couple of days. “It is a proud moment for us as we have successfully developed the longest Wi-Fi network of the country. We started the work on the project by laying the optical fibre and installing the access gears in March and it continued throughout the election model code of conduct. Though there were some practical difficulties but we have been able to complete the work on almost the entire stretch except for the flyover construction site on Bailey Road,” said Atul.

Beltron is an undertaking of the state information and technology department. It has also installed total 150 cameras across the state capital making city surveillance system easier for police.

Atul added that total 65 Wi-Fi access points have been installed in the city. The Wi-Fi gear at the access points comprises router and other supporting equipment, including an antenna mounted on electric poles. The access points are connected through a gigabit fibre network, which, in turn, are connected to big data servers at the Beltron control room.

Residents willing to connect to the Wi-Fi network for browsing the Internet need to register themselves on the City Wi-Fi page. Once a person registers, his/her authentication details, including user name and password, would sent to the registered cellphone number through an SMS for logging in during the next 24 hours.

Sources in Beltron said the maximum speed at which each user can surf the Net using the free Wi-Fi network is 512mbps. The bandwidth under the City Wi-Fi project is 20mbps.

“Considering the available bandwidth and maximum speed allocated to a single user, around 150 people can surf the Net at a time using the City Wi-Fi at a good speed. But the browsing speed might start getting slow if more than 200 people are connected to the network at a given time,” said an executive of Calcutta Benchmark Infotech Pvt. Ltd, which has been awarded the contract for the project.

Atul said frequent power failure in the city is acting as a hurdle in providing uninterrupted Wi-Fi access. The idea of the free City Wi-Fi was mooted by the core committee of Bihar Information and Communication Technology group.

Atul had earlier said the idea behind the City Wi-Fi is to promote use of educational information by the residents, especially students.