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Singapore investigating public Wi-Fi quality issues

Country's ICT regulator finds overlap of increasing number of Wi-Fi hotspots may slow down network for users, and plans to draw guidelines to oversee hotspot rollouts.
Written by Ellyne Phneah, Contributor

Singapore plans to take measures to ensure the uncoordinated rollout of Wi-Fi hotspots in malls will not affect the quality of its public Wi-Fi services, due to overlapping and interference.

According to The Straits Times on Monday, a preliminary survey by the country's ICT regulator Infocomm Development Authority (IDA) indicated Wi-Fi access despite being rampant, was uncoordinated.

This may disrupt or slow down Web surfing on these networks, such as when a few Wi-Fi hotspots overlap and their signals interfere with one another, or when the specific radiowaves for carrying Wi-Fi signals are overused, the report noted.

The regulator has tasked communications equipment maker Nera Telecommunications to investigate the issue, noted the article. In particular, it wants to zoom in on the impact on the government-funded Wi-Fi project Wireless@SG which was introduced six years ago.

IDA also wants to draw up guidelines for all public Wi-Fi operators to rein in stray signals, but did not name malls where interference was spotted, the report added.

In August, IDA had called for proposals from industry players to explore the feasibility of extending Wireless@SG until 2017.

Three pilot commerical deployments of Super Wi-Fi which feature the use of TV white spaces (TVWS) technology which can go over longer distances, penetrate more obstances and require less power and costs, had also been unveiled in the country in September. 

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