Outdoor at Calgary International (YYC)

Calgary International Airport (YYC) has completely transformed their Wi-Fi service is the last couple of years. They switched from their prior vendor to a 100% Cisco solution all while greatly increasing the quality of the network and expanding the network’s footprint so they can provide high quality connectivity in areas of the airport they couldn’t before.

First off, when you get dropped off at the airport, as soon as you step out of the car you’re within the Wi-Fi coverage area. This is thanks to the APs and antennas that are mounted curb-side on the departures level (and arrivals too, actually).

YYC Curb-Side AP/Antenna

The white cylinder is a dual-band omnidirectional antenna and inside the gray enclosure is the access point. The departure and arrival roads are lined with multiple boxes like this (and that’s true alongside both the international and domestic terminals).

Since this post is just about the outdoor part of the network, I’m going to skip what’s inside the terminal buildings and jump all the way to the opposite side of the building, the side that faces the apron.

YYC PBB Antennas

In this photo, I’m pointing out the locations of the omni antennas that sit on the Passenger Boarding Bridges (PBBs). These antennas are meant to provide good coverage on the apron for things like bag tag scanners being used by the bag handlers loading and unloading luggage to/from the plane as well as the plane itself so that the plane can receive updated content for the in-flight entertainment system. Near the base of each mast that holds the antenna is an enclosure that houses the AP.

YYC PBB Antennas

Each PBB has a pair of APs+antennas: one topside and one underneath. It’s really hard to make out the mast and antenna on the bottom of the PBBs in this photo, but the topside ones are visible and marked with the arrows. This photo is of some PBBs on the international terminal building but the same design is used on the domestic side too.

YYC PBB Antennas

Rogers Place in Edmonton

I was recently in Edmonton for work and made a point of going with a colleague (hi SK!) to the brand new Rogers Place stadium to catch an NHL game. This stadium is fully teched out with digital signage, a high capacity, robust IP backbone, and of course, serious Wi-Fi coverage. The stadium offers free Wi-Fi to event attendees and also uses the network for their own services and applications.

First off, at the top of each section is a narrow-beam panel antenna that covers the top half of the section:

Rogers Place YEG Panel Antennas

These antennas seemed to be everywhere in both the lower and upper bowl.

Rogers Place YEG Panel Antennas

Mounted behind each of these panels is a Cisco 3702e AP:

Rogers Place YEG Access Point

Now, one of the coolest installs I’ve ever seen (or kinda, NOT seen, actually) is where the APs sit that provide connectivity to the lower part of a section. The APs and antennas are actually built into the railing!

Rogers Place YEG Railing AP

Those rhomboids are the plastic-y enclosures that the AP+antenna sits inside of. The enclosures blend right in and are so thin that they don’t get in your way as you’re moving up and down the stairs. The cabling for the AP runs inside the hollow railing and down one of the vertical legs and through the stair where it’s run back to the nearest access switch.

Rogers Place YEG Railing AP
Rogers Place YEG Railing AP

Lastly, even though there’s no visual evidence of this, the inside of the scoreboard is filled with APs and antennas providing connectivity to the event floor (think concerts and such where you have event attendees standing/sitting where the ice is in this photo).

Rogers Place YEG Scoreboard

Needless to say, the Wi-Fi service was excellent! We were told by someone who helped build the network that there is mega Internet bandwidth coming into the building so end to end, the service was awesome. The biggest issue seemed to be that the Wi-Fi was not advertised very well. We saw very few people using it and the folks we asked about it had no idea it was there.

Port of Vancouver

I found this post sitting in my drafts folder. I started writing it in Dec of 2016 and guess I forgot to finish it!

After many weeks of talking about it, we finally flew out to Vancouver to visit a bunch of friends we have in the area. I saw these Cisco 1552 APs along the water front as we were wandering around downtown.

Vancouver City Downtown
Unfortunately, I didn’t have any proper tools with me to scan for SSIDs so I’m not sure what networks are operating in this area. This location is where the cruise ships doc so I was very curious whether these APs were providing Internet service to the cruise ship passengers as they come and go from the boat.

Cisco 1552
As a side note, the building in the first picture with what looks like a flying saucer on top is called Harbour Center. It’s one of–if not the–largest telecom/data center sites in Vancouver. This website physically lives in that building. 😁