Overview & challenges

UK-based Canary Wharf Group (CWG), owns Wood Wharf, one of the largest business centers in Europe. Wood Wharf is a five million sq ft mixed-use development, featuring over 3,000 new homes and commercial space as well. It hosts more than 20,000 businesses, independent retailers, cafes, workspaces, residents, and a school, too.

In the aftermath of the pandemic, secure and automatic Wi-Fi access in various settings – retail, residential, or corporate – became a dire necessity not only for inhabitants and workers of the area but also for visitors on work or leisure. The key hurdle for the CWG was to provide this connectivity throughout Wood Wharf, reaching from workplaces and cafes to homes and even public spaces such as the Tube station.

Connectivity at Canary Wharf
OpenRoaming ensures connectivity across the estate

Seamless Wi-Fi access across Wood Wharf 

Cisco’s answer to CWG was OpenRoaming, an open industry standard that enables users to connect their devices to Wi-Fi networks securely and automatically, eliminating the need for logins and pop-up screens. The network securely auto-authenticates end user devices using established identity providers, such as the user’s service provider or device manufacturer. 

At Wood Wharf, the OpenRoaming deployment was in collaboration with service provider Virgin Media, providing Wi-Fi connectivity to over 20,000 businesses, retailers, cafes, workspaces and residents. The solution provides up to four times faster wireless speeds, thanks to the deployment of Cisco Meraki Wi-Fi 6 access points. It also facilitates seamless roaming from one hotspot to another.

Today, connectivity is akin to a critical utility. Our commercial, retail and residential customers are demanding access to world-class digital infrastructure and next-generation connectivity. CWG is committed to creating an estate-wide environment in which businesses can thrive. The rollout of Wi-Fi 6 and OpenRoaming is a vital part of our continuously evolving user experience for residents and visitors. We’re delighted to work with Cisco and Virgin Media to deliver this.

Shobi Khan, Chief Executive, Canary Wharf Group

OpenRoaming has empowered residents of Wood Wharf, enabling them to take their connectivity with them when they leave their homes, even into the Tube station. 

Besides successfully providing Wi-Fi connectivity, CWG has also been able to help landlords and tenants at Wood Wharf understand the usage of their real estate. Using space utilization data analytics, Spaces helps them understand the flow of people across the property by offering insights on how visitors and residents are using the public spaces; from parks and shopping malls to gyms and offices. This helps CWG offer better services. Analyzing the real-time and historical analytics helps in data-driven optimization of workspace design. Users also have access to other location-based services by Spaces, including user engagement, and wayfinding to effortlessly locate meeting rooms or retail stores they’re seeking.