CCS provides backhaul for O2's London Eye Wifi project

07 August 2017 | James Pearce


Cambridge Communications Systems (CCS) has been selected by O2 to support its deployment of Wifi on Coca-Cola’s London Eye.

London EyeTelefónica-owned O2 said the move, in partnership with Merlin Entertainments who owns and operates the London attraction, marks it as “the first UK mobile operator to launch a free HD Wifi Network on a continually moving structure.” CCS’s Metnet 28GHz self-organising microwave backhaul was selected by O2, as backhaul for the service.

The London Eye, which has been in operation since the year 2000, is world’s largest cantilevered observation, and is visited by millions of users every year. The challenge in getting backhaul connections to the London Eye’s 32 capsules is that both capsule and wheel are in the air and in motion, making it impossible to run direct normal fixed infrastructure.

CSS was selected by O2 to install a 28GHz fixed mesh onto the moving wheel, made up of eight Metnet nodes connected to sixteen Wifi access points, which were supplied by Cisco. These connect back to two nodes at the central hub, which in turn connect to the grounds through to antennas. Overall the service provides 360-degree coverage.

CCS CEO Steve Greaves added: “Delivering this project for O2 and Merlin Entertainments needed a creative yet highly robust solution, which we were able to provide thanks to the innate flexibility and reliability of Metnet’s mesh configuration.  

“This is a stand-out example of our system’s ability to deliver self-organising microwave backhaul in the most testing environments, and we are delighted to be enhancing the enjoyment of Coca-Cola London Eye’s passengers as they experience its unique perspective on the city.”

Robert Franks, director of digital at O2, commented: “We’re delighted to help Merlin Entertainments take their customers’ experiences to new heights. Our innovative, high density O2 Wifi solution is a world-first, offering seamless connectivity for customers throughout the iconic London Eye adventure. So whether it’s sharing a selfie, posting a photo of the stunning skyline or finding information about London attractions, visitors will be able to do this seamlessly and for free as they go around.”