Free WiFi at the Union Buildings

June 18th, 2014, Published in Articles: EngineerIT


“I talk to the trees “ has acquired a new meaning, showing  the WiFi installation

“I talk to the trees” has acquired a new meaning, showing the WiFi installation at the Union Buildings.

This may be a novelty for locals but it is a boon for the thousands of visitors that visit the Union Building to admire the Madiba statue. Free WiFi is now available, courtesy of the Tshwane Metro. The initial decision to deploy the network came as a result of the desire by the City of Tshwane to deploy a free WiFi service to the some 20,000 citizens who attended the presidential inauguration in May 2014. Now it is there to stay.

The network infrastructure managed by Project Isizwe consists of strategically-placed Ruckus ZoneFlex outdoor access points. Of the 20,000 people who attended the inauguration, it was estimated that in excess of 50% of people had a smartphone or WiFi enabled device. While an initial estimated 2% of attendees were expected to link to the network, a final total of 761 (3,8%) connections were made, with 300 connections being established within 30 seconds following the swearing in of the president.

A total of 5538 sessions was recorded on the day, with the average user experience coming at 9,3 Mbps download speed. Devices connecting to the network showed a split of 39,5% Android, 28,9% Windows, 13,1% Apple, and 7,9% Blackberry, with the balance of 10,6% being other operating systems.  The choice of Ruckus Smart Wi-Fi technology was based  on its ability to manage significant  concurrent user volumes.

Project Isizwe provides a fully managed service to the City of Tshwane in the form of “Tshwane Free WiFi”.  The service currently allows users to enjoy 250 MB of data per device, per day, with the option of unlimited access to curated on-net content that is made up of learning resources, e-health, e-Tshwane services, news and entertainment – amongst others. Project Isizwe is a non-profit organisation aimed at bridging the digital divide through government-subsidised free WiFi, predominantly provided to underserved communities around educational institutions.

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