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NUS buses to be equipped with Wi-Fi in trial with StarHub

SINGAPORE — Students and staff of National University of Singapore (NUS) will be able access Wi-Fi while travelling on campus shuttle buses, in a trial with StarHub.

Called the connected vehicles pilot, the Wi-Fi points on these buses connect to other points in buildings on campus — extending overall coverage and more seamless connectivity on the ground.

If the one-year trial works well, StarHub will look into rolling it out elsewhere in Singapore. For instance, it would work well in high-density areas such as town areas, busy town centres and on buses.

The trial began three months ago. Overall, the Wi-Fi coverage — utilising a type of connected vehicle technology that has 10 times the range of normal Wi-Fi — will eventually cover about 60 per cent of the campus, said Professor Lawrence Wong, deputy director of Interactive and Digital Media Institute at NUS.

“It’s the ability to have a larger coverage of Wi-Fi infrastructure, and not just specifically indoors. Today, a lot of the Wi-Fi coverage is indoors, and rarely do we see coverage outdoors. With this, it means that we are able to bring Wi-Fi outdoors, on moving vehicles as well as off them,” added Mr Stephen Lee, head of StarHub i3 (Innovation, Investment, Incubation).

The connected vehicle technology is part of a “mesh network”. Such a network leverages vehicles as mobile Wi-Fi access points that connect to one another, and to fixed points in buildings, for a more stable connection and wider coverage.

Under the network — a first in Singapore — the hotspots are integrated into all 39 campus shuttle buses, as well as 15 access points around the campus comprising bus stops and buildings.

The eventual aim is to cover all 40 bus stops, said Prof Wong.

The findings from the pilot might form the plan for the rollout in other parts of Singapore, said Mr Lee.

Prof Wong said that this technology, which was originally built for vehicles, could be potentially built into autonomous ones, which are set to take off in Singapore and around the world.

“We’re talking about driverless vehicles in the future, they have to talk to each other. If they don’t talk to each other, there will be high risk of a lot of problems. So this technology also applies,” he said.

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