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AV Engineering helps Cambridge connect with the Tour de France

A unique collaboration between Connecting Cambridgeshire, the University of Cambridge, local councils and business partners has brought Wi-Fi access to Parker’s Piece in the city centre in time for the Tour de France’s visit on 7 July 2014.  AV Engineering is one of those who have played a part in getting the project up and running.

AV Engineering was approached by the University of Cambridge’s Computing Services team to help create an aesthetically pleasing alternative to unsightly Wi-Fi access points and aerials.  The solution was to hide them in the top of the elegant twin armed lampposts.

The company set about replicating the design of the finial on top of the posts to make them big enough to take the equipment and still keep the look of the original.  The simple, yet effective design also incorporates a basket like holder which contains the equipment necessary to create the Wi-Fi network.

The replacement finial was manufactured using thermoforming from polycarbonate material.  ‘We needed to be sure that the material used would be able to stand up to all temperatures and weather conditions.’ said company founder and engineer, Norman Shires, ‘ The other major consideration was to use a material that doesn’t interfere with the signals to and from the access points.’

The new system will provide secure Wi-Fi access to the University’s staff, academics and students and visitors.  There is also a separate public access point for anyone to access in the same way as in internet cafes and other hot spots. To see a map of where access is available, click here

It is hoped that the anticipated success of the scheme will pave the way for other access points to be set up around the city in a variety of disguises.  More design challenges for the team at AV Engineering; who knows, in the future a city wide communication network might be hiding behind gargoyles and parapets!

L-R AV Engineering's Gino Parete, Greg Pope and Norman ShiresFinials in place on lamps on Parker's Piece where Stage 3 of Tour de France 2014 starts on 7 July