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Building the Largest Wireless Network in Latin America to Benefit the Mexican People

Five-Year National Digital Strategy

Mexico is the second largest economy and the second most populous country in Latin America. It covers an area of nearly 200 million square kilometers and has a population of 112 million. However, it has a low Internet penetration rate. According to statistics in May 2014, the Internet penetration rate in Mexico was lower than 50%, ranking only 20th in Latin America. The Internet development in Mexico does not match its economic and social development.

In 2013, the Mexico government proposed a five-year national digital strategy — Mexico Connected project (México Conectado). Mexico planned to construct 250,000 Wi-Fi hotspots by 2018 across the entire country to cover schools, hospitals, clinics, medical service centers, community centers, government agencies, and public places. The project was to increase the Internet penetration rate from 46% to 95% and improve the broadband coverage in the whole country. This project was intended to provide opportunities for more people and students in remote areas to access the Internet and use new technologies, bridging the ‘digital divide.’ It would also help government agencies improve work efficiency.

Great Challenges on Delivery Management

The Mexico Connected project was implemented and operated by the Secretariat of Communications and Transportation (SCT) of Mexico, which is responsible for information and transport infrastructure construction in Mexico. As planned by SCT, in the project’s first stage in 2014, 65,000 sites and their auxiliary network facilities would be constructed, most of which were located in remote rural areas. However, plateau and mountainous terrains, as well as complex and changing climates in Mexico posed great challenges to the project contractors.

  • Difficult network deployment and service delivery: Nearly 50% of the 65,000 sites in the first stage were dispersed in remote areas, and the delivery periods were long.
  • Complex working environments in remote areas: Some outdoor sites were located in remote areas. Working in complex environments, these sites faced great challenges due to harsh natural conditions such as high altitudes, high temperature, and frequent lightning. Network devices in these environment could be prone to failures.
  • Difficult O&M: Tens of thousands of APs, switches, and firewalls needed to be deployed. On the large-scale network, the management center needed to cross WANs to connect to network devices from different vendors. Therefore, network maintenance and fault location would be difficult, and fault recovery would take a long time.
  • High security and convenient expansion required: Public wireless networks must ensure validity of user identities and provide simplified authentication. Flexible expansion must also be ensured for implementation of mobile marketing means, such as advertisement push and questionnaires. In this way, the project could attract enterprises to cooperate, reducing the project’s Operating Expenses (OPEX) and facilitating the Mexican government to know public opinions.

Huawei Campus Network Solution

As the world’s leading network solutions provider and with over 20 years of extensive technical experience in the wireless network field, Huawei built a highly reliable and easy-to-maintain agile campus for SCT of Mexico, fully meeting its requirements.

Huawei’s Reliable Outdoor APs Perfect for Complex Climates

Huawei outdoor APs comply with IP67 dustproof and waterproof protection standards, protecting from dust and rain. They can work properly in environments with humidity of 0% to 100% (non-condensing) and temperatures of -40°C to +60°C. In addition, Huawei outdoor APs use all-metal shells and built-in surge protectors on feeder, network, and Alternating Current (AC) electrical ports. With the built-in surge protectors, a Huawei dual-band outdoor AP is equivalent to a common outdoor AP with four feeder surge protectors, a network port surge protector, and an AC surge protector. This surge protection design reduces surge protector purchase costs, prevents faults caused by multiple passive components, and improves stability and reliability of the APs.

USB-based Deployment Improves Delivery Efficiency

Huawei’s USG6300 Next-Generation Firewalls (NGFWs) support batch deployment using a USB flash drive. After the USG6300 firewalls are deployed in each branch, configuration of NGFWs, switches, and APs can be automatically completed, lowering the skill requirements of delivery personnel and improving the overall delivery efficiency by 90%.

Proactive O&M Enables Comprehensive User Experience Detection

Huawei’s solution supports global-to-regional management across carriers’ backbone networks, as well as management and location of third-party devices. Key user experience indicators can be displayed layer by layer. Intelligent data analysis can be made to provide root causes for user experience deterioration and offer network optimization suggestions, simplifying network O&M.

Third-party Social Media Interconnection Simplifies Authentication

Huawei Agile Controller can interconnect with mainstream social media such as WeChat, Facebook, Twitter, Google+, and QR codes. It supports customization of pages to be pushed and allows enterprises to conduct secondary marketing. Users can use their social media accounts to connect to Wi-Fi network, without the need of complex registration. This also ensures validity of user identities.

In addition, Huawei USG6300 firewalls support local caching of Portal pages. They can store and push Portal pages. Therefore, no Portal server needs to be deployed, saving the customer’s investment.

Wireless Networks Benefit the Mexican People

At present, the Mexico Connected project has constructed 65,000 public wireless hotspots in the whole country. Public Internet access points have been deployed in 96% of Mexico cities to serve 18 million users every year. A large number of Mexican people get network access services and can participate in the country’s modernization using information technologies. The ‘digital divide’ is bridged. New wireless networks change Mexican people’s lives in following aspects:

  • Digital economy: Mexican families and small enterprises now can connect to the Internet. The wireless networks also promote e-commerce businesses.
  • Education resource balance: Students in remote areas new can learn from online courses.
  • Medical and healthcare services: New wireless networks promote popularization of electronic birth certificates and health certificates and help to achieve telemedicine in remote areas.
  • Work efficiency of governments: Remote municipal and county governments can use public wireless networks to provide online services, improving work efficiency.
  • Resident security: Governments can use public wireless networks to release disaster warnings and relief matters, reducing loss caused by disasters.

By Yang Yu and Gu Jinrong