600-Year-Old City Offers Wi-Fi to Visitors

600-Year-Old City Offers Wi-Fi to Visitors

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Written By Eric Sandler

By Naomi Graychase

March 04, 2008

Seoul, South Korea adds Wi-Fi to its historic Cheonggye waterway. Applications include tourist information, underwater cameras to track wildlife, and streetlights that integrate VoWi-Fi.

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Seoul, South Korea’s 600-year-old capitol, was largely destroyed during the Korean War (1950-53). When it was re-built in the 1960s, 1970s, and 1980s, a 3.5 mile elevated highway was erected over what used to be an important stream. Several years ago, as part of an attempt at urban renewal, the then-mayor, Lee Myung-Bak, tore down the highway and began the process of restoring the historic Cheonggye waterway. The $330-million project, which was completed roughly three years ago, included fountains, sculptures, and 22 bridges in various in interesting styles—one was built to resemble a tall ship, another the wings of a bird. And now, it includes Wi-Fi.

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The restored 3.7-mile waterway is the site of an eco-friendly urban park in the heart of downtown. Roughly half a million tourists and locals visit the Cheonggye waterway each week. Starting today, they will have access to a variety of applications supported by the new wireless mesh and access network designed and installed by Samsung SDS, Korea’s largest IT systems integrator. The network uses Firetide equipment. Among the applications supported are visitor information delivered via Wi-Fi to rented PDAs that provide location-specific advertising and information, public video surveillance, and underwater video cameras for monitoring wildlife in the stream. 

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With a total of 22 Firetide HotPort mesh nodes and 11 Firetide HotPoint access points, the network enables visitors to take advantage of such features as touch-screen kiosks, which offer maps and other information on the area’s history, attractions, and services. Visitors can also check e-mail at the kiosks. The network also connects video surveillance cameras to a central location for monitoring and storage and supports sensors that keep track of the waterway’s water levels, temperature, and flow. Also connected to the WLAN are “streetlights of the future,” (above) with “mood lighting” and an integrated VoWi-Fi communication and alerting system.

“Using the Firetide mesh, Seoul city officials can adjust the color and brightness of the advanced streetlights to compliment parades and night events along the river,” says Pam Valentine, Firetide’s VP of Marketing. “Should there be an emergency, the four ‘u-poles’ have speakers that deliver voice alerts and instructions, transmitted via Firetide’s mesh. These ‘street lights of the future’ serve as an emergency notification system to enhance public safety in the area.”

Naomi Graychase is Managing Editor at Wi-FiPlanet.

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