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São Paulo International Airport (GRU) Gets Ready for Some Fútebol with Wireless Network Upgrades

This is a customer perspective guest blog contributed by Zack Sterngold, Boingo Wireless Vice President, Americas.

The largest airport in South America, Brazil’s São Paulo-Guarulhos International Airport (GRU), is primed to become one of the world’s most popular destinations. Already an international business hub, Brazil will grow in popularity as a tourist mecca, as travelers flock to the country’s beaches and one of the world’s most beloved sporting events: the World Cup.

To keep pace with the needs of savvy international business travelers and prepare for the fútbol fan onslaught this summer, GRU is upgrading terminals, introducing new traveler services, and working to deliver fast, reliable wireless service to connected passengers. GRU has partnered with Boingo to design and launch a new, state-of-the-art Wi-Fi network from Cisco ahead of the World Cup this summer. The new system will better support international passengers and improve connectivity for all travelers, sports fans and employees throughout the airport.

And travelers are projected to be more connected than ever. A recent study from MMGY Global found that a new category of “Digital Elite” travelers – or those carrying at least two mobile devices – has grown by 600% in just two years to become the new normal. Sports fans don’t leave home without their smartphones or mini tablets to keep tabs on scores and watch instant replays.

Connected travelers’ data consumption behaviors have also evolved rapidly. Mobile device users watch more mobile video than ever, with consumption surpassing 50% of global mobile data traffic for the first time in 2012. The trend is only slated to increase: the latest Cisco VNI report projects that two-thirds of the world’s data traffic will be video by 2018, and that global data consumption will increase 11x by 2018. Device numbers and data consumption continue to grow across our entire network, a market trend that has necessitated continuous investment in network quality.

Meeting the bandwidth demands of an influx of millions of data hungry travelers requires a comprehensive upgrade to GRU’s wireless system, which has been in place since before the last World Cup took place in 2010. Boingo is collaborating with long-time partner Cisco, the industry leader in carrier Wi-Fi, to deploy hundreds of high performance access points from the Cisco Service Provider Wi-Fi solution to increase the wireless network coverage and capacity at GRU and deliver the best possible connectivity experience.

The network will be able to scale to support personalized location-based services, and will be Next Generation Hotspot-ready and optimized for future carrier offload. Our vision is to make the consumer connectivity experience with Wi-Fi as seamless and secure as cellular.  As part of our network upgrade, Boingo will also be installing a Distributed Antenna System to improve cellular service, including bringing 4G to the airport.

By this summer, it’ll be “game on” for travelers at Latin America’s largest airport.

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