Seoul Deploys Wireless Mesh Network Patrolling through Park

Seoul Forest Park, Seoul's version of New York City's Central Park, just opened to the public in 2005 but is already getting a significant upgrade. While the public gathering spot provides rest and respite from city life, the 286-acre park also offers a wide variety of digital services enabled by a new high-performance wireless mesh canopy. Organized by the city of Seoul and currently being deployed by Samsung subsidiary SeoulCommtech Co. Ltd., the system employs wireless networking technologies developed by Los Gatos, Calif.-based Firetide Inc. to deliver multiple applications over a single wireless infrastructure.

The Seoul Forest system represents the second phase of an ambitious plan the municipality has designed to create a city-wide ubiquitous sensor network, known as "Seoul u-City," which provides services to residents, tourists, city employees and businesses. The project builds upon the successful first-phase implementation – along the recently renovated Cheonggye Waterway – that features wireless applications for video surveillance, digital visitors' guides, environmental monitoring systems for water engineers and wildlife specialists, and even a network of intelligent street lamps.

"Our success in delivering multiple distinct applications along the whole of the Cheeonggye Waterway gave us confidence about what a wireless mesh network could achieve," said Seoul u-City project manager Gang Seongmo. "Continuing down the wireless path gives the city a lot of new opportunities to innovate and deliver services for our people without the need to clutter a pristine environment with unsightly cables or costly trenching."

Seoul Forest project adds significant wireless IP-based network capabilities for multiple applications including media services, free public Internet access, ecological monitoring, and even a service for locating children who may have become lost within the park. Parents can request necklaces that help locate children via the wireless mesh if they become lost. One particularly exciting application focuses on healthcare. Visitors to an intelligent booth equipped with medical tools can measure a variety of vital statistics such as blood sugar. Not only can someone check their results, but they can choose to send them to the Seoul City medical center for evaluation. Seoul doctors that are part of the program provide diagnostic counseling to individuals by e-mail.

Seoul Forest has more than 400,000 trees, which presents a number of unique challenges for deploying wireless networks. To address difficulties in achieving line-of-sight (LoS) between wireless devices, the project required a linear mesh networking solution that could support multi-hop throughput levels of 20 Mbps over 10 hops.

SeoulCommtech is deploying 40 Firetide HotPort dual-radio wireless mesh nodes and 43 Firetide HotPoint 4600 wireless access points. The nodes and access points are arranged to overcome the LoS challenges presented in a thick forest environment. By its nature, wireless mesh network topologies ensure that data gets to its destination, by rerouting data across a healthy path, even when one or more network node drops off a network.
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