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Free Wi-Fi Lands at Hartsfield-Jackson Airport

Before free Wi-Fi was available, customers had to pay $4.95 to go online.

The new infrastructure at Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport can accommodate 15,000 simultaneous users – a seven-fold increase from the previous Wi-Fi system. Photo Credit: Getty Images
The new infrastructure at Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport can accommodate 15,000 simultaneous users – a seven-fold increase from the previous Wi-Fi system. Photo Credit: Getty Images
Patch Staff Report

Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed and Interim General Manager Miguel Southwell announced this week the launch of free Wi-Fi at the world’s busiest airport - Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport.

In just under 30 days, Airport information technology employees and contractors worked around the clock to install several hundred access points across the 6.8-million-square-foot terminal complex. This new infrastructure can accommodate 15,000 simultaneous users – a seven-fold increase from the previous Wi-Fi system.

"Free Wi-Fi has been a top priority for us and I'm pleased that we are now able to offer this important benefit to our customers," said Reed in a statement. "At the world's busiest and most efficient airport, we must continually look to meet and exceed the demands of our customers. Wi-Fi is no longer considered an amenity; it is a necessity for today's travelers."

“The lack of free Wi-Fi put our airport at a competitive disadvantage and it was the number one complaint we would receive from our customers,” Interim General Manager Miguel Southwell stated. “Travelers now expect airports to offer free Wi-Fi and this initiative is a prime example of our constant mission to improve the customer experience.”

The total cost of the installation was $5,622,249 and was approved by the Atlanta City Council. Before free Wi-Fi was available, customers had to pay $4.95 to go online.

“Providing free Wi-Fi in the world’s busiest airport is essential and will provide an improved level of convenience for our visitors,” said Michael Dogan, Interim Chief Information Officer for the City of Atlanta. “Free Wi-Fi has emerged as a necessary asset in today's airports, and this announcement simply enhances one of the most important and highly utilized traveling amenities.”

Below is a list of some of the new infrastructure’s technical specifics:

Capacity

  • The Wi-Fi system can now handle 15,000 simultaneous users.
  • This is an increase from 2,000 simultaneous users.

Available Speed

  • User can access the Internet at download speeds at a minimum of 5 Megabits/second and upload speeds of 1 Megabits/second.
  • The previous configuration allowed for download speeds of 2 Megabits/second and upload speeds of 1 Megabits/second.

Enhanced Technology

  • The new access points provide connectivity for the new wireless technology, 802.11 AC.
  • The old Wi-Fi system only supported 802.11 G.
  • 802.11 AC devices can communicate to the Access Points at Gigabit speeds; whereas, the old technology’s limitation was 54 Megabits/second.

High Density

  • New access points can accommodate 200 simultaneous connections.
  • Old access points could only handle 15 to 18 simultaneous connections.

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