Free Wi-Fi for all at Virgin Media V Festival

This year's V Festival, happening this weekend in the UK in both Chelmsford (Hyland's Park) and Staffordshire (Weston Park), will be the first time that attendees can hook up to the Internet, in order to Tweet, post pics and vids and generally keep up with the social networking lifestyle. And there's two ways to do so on both sites.

Firstly, Virgin Media has, in association with Ovi by Nokia, created a technology retreat for all festival goers. Dubbed The Mansion, it offers phone recharge points, a chance to try out  Virgin Media's video-on-demand service, and there are demos of Sony's 3D TVs, running content for people to experience. There's also an exclusive chill out zone, with DJ booth and illuminated 70s dance floor, where guest Djs will spin some "choons".

More importantly, though, there are a bank of net books, all hooked up to 50Mb broadband. V Festival-ties can then hook up with their social networking accounts, read emails, and check out Twitter feeds - although there is a 10-minute limit per person, so that as many of them get a chance to do so as possible.

The other major first for both sites is the fact there will be unrestricted Wi-Fi access for all. And there are many hotspots scattered over both sites, ensuring that the coverage is blanket.

But how is this possible? After all, both sites are in the middle of fields, and certainly nowhere near the nearest wired broadband connections.

Simple. It's beamed through the air.

Using radio masts stationed at the nearest point where Virgin Media has fibre optic cable in both Staffordshire and Chelmsford, and secondary masts in the Festival sites themselves, a Gigabit signal is sent on the 80GHz bandwidth. It's a point-to-point fine beam too, so there's little degradation.

Then, as the onsite engineer told Pocket-lint, some of the bandwidth is used for The Mansion's hard-wired connections, and some for the Wi-Fi. 

Having used it, we can confirm that it works, with strong signals. However, that is on the Friday before the festivities really begin. And before a lot of attendees arrive. So, it'll be interesting to see, on Twitter, whether the posters are getting good wireless Internet connections.

If not, at least they can go chill in The Mansion.



>