Wi-Fi Takes Off at Southwest Florida International Airport in Florida with Broadband Wireless from BelAir Networks and TEACO
Posted: 11.17.04 -

Travelers at Southwest Florida International Airport (SWFIA) in Fort Myers, Florida, will enjoy free broadband Wi-Fi access as a result of TEACO Inc.’s recent deployment of an integrated wireless network using BelAir Networks wide-area Wi-Fi system. Currently providing Wi-Fi throughout the airport’s two existing terminals, the deployment is the first phase of a build-out that will extend the network to a new airport terminal currently under construction, as well as the surrounding outdoor space, runway space and support buildings.

Systems integrator, TEACO, installed the joint BelAir/iNET Catcher network in two days to provide Wi-Fi access to travelers throughout the airport. This first phase of the network consists of just two BelAir200 units posted near the security checkpoints in each of the two concourses that provide broadband Wi-Fi to the entire airport. The BelAir system supports two TEACO iNET Catcher gateways while three TEACO iNET Catcher APs extend the network into hard-to-reach areas in the airport.

Phase II of the deployment, to be completed by April 2005, will expand the network to include six additional devices like the BelAir200 units that will cover the new concourses and surrounding outdoor areas, including the runway and all buildings located on airport property, such as the airport fire department.

“Working with TEACO and BelAir, we were able to implement a solution that is tailor-made for the volatile and event-driven nature of airport networks,” said Robert Smallback, senior information systems manager at the Lee County Port Authority. The BelAir/TEACO system will give our travelers free, wireless Internet access today, while scaling to become the backbone of a network that will help define SWFIA as a pioneer in airport Wi-Fi. “

Since its doors opened in May 1983, the airport has consistently outpaced all growth projections. SWFIA now serves more than 5.89 million passengers annually; ranks among the 60 busiest airports in the nation; and is well above the national average for both historic and projected growth.

SWFIA chose BelAir/TEACO solution because of its ability to meet the airport’s immediate need of providing Wi-Fi access to travelers in the existing concourses, while scaling to provide complete wireless networking to the temporary annex locations. In addition to access, the system can be expanded to provide wireless backhaul and redundancy to SWFIA’s wired networks during the construction of the new terminal. Future plans include multiple VLANs that could be offered to airport tenants, airport security, airlines, and the buildings that surround the airport and runway areas.

“The more audiences the airport wants to serve with the network, the more complicated it is to deploy, and SWFIA is interested in pushing the boundaries of the technology,” said Patrick Teague, executive vice president of TEACO, Inc. “We have partnered with SWFIA to lay out a plan that will bring them through to the end of the expansion period, and BelAir’s modular design and carrier-grade network can accommodate that growth.” “We are very pleased to work with a partner like TEACO that understands the airport market inside and out,” said Phil Belanger, vice president of marketing for BelAir Networks. “They were able to recognize SWFIA’s unique needs and partner with us to develop a solution that was able to meet the immediate demand of high-speed wireless Internet access, while building out a network that will help SWFIA leverage the benefits of wireless to its users.”

The BelAir200 units deployed by TEACO at SWFIA in Fort Myers are four-radio, wireless internetworking platforms that enable wireless networks with the highest network capacity and broadest reach especially in challenging deployments. Built specifically for outdoor deployment, each BelAir200 includes up to three backhaul radio modules that create 5 GHz point-to-point links to form the wireless backhaul mesh that interconnects all BelAir200 nodes. The BelAir200 access radio module supports Wi-Fi client access in the 2.4 GHz band and includes integrated antennas that project Wi-Fi signals over a large area or into multi-story buildings from the outside. The resulting system delivers unmatched capacity, security and scalability.


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