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Orange Plans France's Largest WiFi Deployment
Posted: 30-Jun-2004 [Source: Cisco]

[Orange to expand hotspots in France to 4,500 by year's end using zero configuration networking allowing a user to log onto WiFi without having to change their computer setup.]

Paris -- Cisco Systems(R) today announced that Orange, the mobile phone company, was consolidating its position as the number one provider of wireless LAN (WLAN) services in France with a plan to extend its current total of 3,000 hotspots to 4,500 by the end of 2004. The project includes the first use in France -- and one of the first in the world -- of zero configuration networking, a feature which allows users to log onto WiFi networks directly without any changes to the setup of their computers, facilitated through capabilities provided by the Cisco Mobile Exchange architecture, the market leading platform for mobile Internet service edge management. As a critical pillar within Cisco's mobility architecture, the Cisco Mobile Exchange Framework delivers a true multi-access platform for operators deploying mobile data services.

Orange has forged deals to provide pre-paid WLAN services in Air France business lounges and Accor hotels, with around 55 new WiFi hotspots -- with up to 25 access points -- being introduced each week. Besides targeting real estate owners, the operator offers a post-pay WLAN service to its 2 million corporate mobile phone customers since April just by dialing #125# from their mobile phone to get connection codes, making it one of the WLAN services available to the largest customer base and with the most terrific experience. The option to have payments added to the mobile phone bill will be extended to contract-based consumers among Orange's 12 million-strong customer base this month. This is made possible by the Cisco Access Registrar server, the Cisco Mobile Exchange component enabling Authentication, Authorization, and Accounting (AAA) services.

"With the Cisco Public Wireless Local Area Network (LAN) solution, we have technology which is fully scalable and makes it easy for customers to use our services -- and for us to roll out new ones, which will be key to the business traveler," said Christophe Naulleau, Orange WiFi program director. With the Cisco Mobile Exchange solution, it makes no difference whether a customer is trying to access the network using a 2.5G, 3G or WiFi device -- but it does allow Orange to track the connection and bill for it appropriately.

Taking broad advantage of Cisco Mobile Exchange functional capabilities, Orange is deploying redundant Cisco Service Selection Gateway (SSG), Subscriber Edge Services Manager (SESM) and Cisco Content Services Gateway (CSG) platforms, along with Cisco Catalyst(R) 6500 Series switches. At hotspots, Cisco Catalyst 2900 or 3500 Series platforms provide switching capability while Cisco 1700 Series modular access routers connect Cisco Aironet wireless access points to the DSL network.

Massimo Migliuolo, Vice President of Mobile Sales Worldwide, Cisco Systems, said, "In terms of its size and use of leading-edge technology, Orange's WiFi project is one of the most advanced in the world. The technology platform we have provided gives Orange the option of rolling out a range of exciting enhanced revenue-generating services, from managed VPNs for on-site employees or business users, to location-based offerings such as flight check-in information at airport hotels."

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