How Smart Cities Are Expanding Wireless Coverage
Smart cities are big news these days as more and more cities are turning to this infrastructure model. However, smart cities would not exist if it weren’t for wireless internet, which is required for everything from improving services and infrastructure within the city to improving its efficiency.
There are multiple communication and connectivity options available in smart cities, including cellular, WiFi, and 900 MHz, depending on the purpose of its use. While none of these is the only option for a city to run well, WiFi is certainly the most used option. It could even be considered a vital building block for smart city infrastructure.
The benefits of WiFi include its reliability, affordability, deployment speed, and its bandwidth. In addition to this, wireless internet is used by nearly every device built these days. When you add in AI, analytics, cloud computing, embedded sensors around the city, apps for mobile use, and other technologies, you could technically run an entire city on WiFi alone.
How WiFi is Used in a Smart City
Internet connectivity is an essential part of any smart city. Smart cities already in existence, such as New York City or London, must build their wireless connections out over existing structures. An example of this is LinkNYC in New York, replacing payphones with Links or fast, free public WiFi and device charging stations, and tablet use. However, the connectivity is built right in when a city is built specifically to be a smart city, such as Songdo in South Korea.
Uses for WiFi include:
Monitoring air pollution: Sensors can check particulates and send alerts when the pollution is too high.
Boosting local participation: The Internet allows locals and visitors to interact with and input important matters for the city, including bylaws, structure implementation, and other changes.
Finding parking spots: A simple option to help drivers is to provide an app that shares the location of the nearest parking spot. Not only does this reduce road rage and frustration, but it also eliminates some traffic and carbon emissions. In some cases, up to 30% of traffic is just drivers circling for a parking spot.
Redirecting traffic: Has an accident occurred, or is something blocking the road? With sensors in place, it’s possible to reroute traffic automatically without even having someone on the spot.
Detecting leaks: When the water lines spring a leak, sensors will immediately detect a change in the pressure and dispatch maintenance specialists.
Managing traffic lights: When there’s heavy traffic in one direction, sensors can automatically adjust the light length to reflect this and to ensure the heavier lanes move more efficiently.
Maintaining security: Smart cities aim to be safer cities and allow for video cameras throughout the city. Many cities even use facial recognition and cloud-based analytics to find criminals and apprehend them.
There are many uses for wireless connections, far beyond the people using WiFi access in public places. Wireless technology immediately connects everything in the city and makes it possible for everyone to stay safer and be more efficient.
What is WiFi 6, and How Can It Improve Smart Cities?
The expansion of wireless networks is an ongoing process. It’s recently become obvious that certain areas of the country have poor internet access, and the mission now in progress is to improve connections everywhere, even in more rural areas.
Smart cities can only benefit if more people are connected to the internet, and that’s why WiFi 6 is being deployed. While more traditional methods of WiFi are useful in rural areas, WiFi 6 is best used in urban areas, particularly cities. It’s an urban delight, providing high-speed broadband by offering more range and lower data rates. It easily boosts the internet to 4x the older 4G networks, providing excellent connectivity for all.
How will WiFi 6 improve smart cities? It is designed to provide faster, better connection solutions across public spaces. This makes it much easier for anyone to connect while they are in the city limits. All information can be relayed faster, so sensors can provide the information collected almost instantly. However, there are downsides.
For example, if you switch to WiFi 6, the entire city needs to be updated. Everything from clients and infrastructure to access points will need to be updated and changed out. It’s a major undertaking and something that experts recommend doing gradually instead of jumping headlong into the newest technology.
Differences Between WiFi 5 and 6
Many people are confused as to what is new in WiFi 6. It differs from the previous version in a few ways. For example:
WiFi 6 offers Orthogonal Frequency-Division Multiplexing Access. This feature helps the router and devices maximize bandwidth by creating multiple resource units from each channel. This is an essential feature for smart cities because the higher density of devices in a smaller space means bandwidth efficiency is essential.
WiFi 6 provides target wait time, also referred to as TWT. It allows the internet to consume less power by “sleeping” when not in use. Like devices in sleep mode, this reduces the amount of power used overall. It makes devices last longer, as well, which is very useful.
WiFi 6 is faster. One of the biggest benefits is simply that you’ll get more speed from WiFi 6. It allows for larger transmissions, so it boosts speed by up to 20 percent.
WiFi 6 provides a longer range. The more distance the wireless network covers, the easier it is for the smart city to run. The difference is noticeable, and the data output power is quite impressive, as well.
Overall, smart cities stand to benefit in the long term from WiFi 6. However, as it is a completely separate system and bandwidth, it does require some major changes to make it work for the existing smart cities. There is also the fact that some people will protest it. However, when all is said and done, it is definitely a huge leap forward in technology.