PA2040 Public Wi-Fi

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PA2040 Public Wi-Fi
GCTC logo 344x80.png
PA2040 Project.png
PA2040 Project
Team Organizations Golden Triangle BID
George Washington University
Team Leaders Anil Sharma
Participating Municipalities Washington DC
Status Implemented
Document None


Create wireless mesh backhaul infrastructure as part of smart city IoT deployment throughout the 1700 to 1900 blocks of Pennsylvania Avenue, NW, Washington DC to enable public connectivity to services and enhanced connectivity for government operations and public safety. Involves city technology, planning, and transportation agencies, local Business Improvement District (BID), federal District planning agency, and technology solution providers.


  • Effectively coordinating across city agencies, with federal planning agency, and other stakeholders.
  • Ensuring deployment that will be cost effective/within budget, scalable, and replicable to other parts of the city (and potentially other cities).
  • Ensuring agreements with utilities for power usage.
  • Maintaining adequate resources for sustainable operations– i.e. staffing.



Major Requirements

Public Wi-Fi is a key component of the overall PA2040 project, which is underway. The process followed was:

  • Developed and assembled project concept and team in response to presented idea at first Global Cities Team Challenge.
  • Defined scope and requirements and project plan.
  • Obtained stakeholder buy-in – including MOAs, MOUs, and service contracts.
  • Develop system architecture.
  • Procured equipment and began process of implementing core infrastructure.
  • Conducted proof-of-concept tests

Performance Targets

Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) Measurement Methods

KPIs will support goals of the local BID to increase economic activity:

  • Increased number of unique users on public Wi-Fi over time
  • Increased dwelling time for users/visitors
  • Increased sales (potential – in coordination with the BID)
  • Accurate indication of time, location, duration, and numbers of users over time
  • Usage heat map (using mobility service engine) – indicating peak times and locations for usage

Standards, Replicability, Scalability, and Sustainability

  • Wi-Fi standards used: 802.11AC Hotspot 2.0
  • Follows Cisco Unified Wireless Architecture – includes Control and Provisioning of Wireless Access Points (CAPWAP)
  • Secure and public and secure SSIDs
  • EBGP peering to external networks at 1/10 Gig Ethernet
  • Replicability - Standard architecture.
  • Scalability - Core supports up to 10,000 APs (current project has only 30 APs) and is considered in other areas in the city and in the region.
  • Sustainability – Network is designed to sustain bandwidth use over time with negligent impact.

Cybersecurity and Privacy



  • Improved access to mobile services benefiting transportation, amenity wayfinding, and emergency response.
  • Enhanced visitor/tourist experience along Pennsylvania Avenue and economic development.
  • Improved government operations through better Wi-Fi access to city workers.
  • Improved mass transit operations through better Wi-Fi access.


  • Phase I: Includes full public access to Wi-Fi through deployment of 30 Wi-Fi hotspots in ubiquitous coverage mesh.
  • Phase II: Potential integration with applications and sensor devices.