Fast Free Wi-Fi Comes to Al Udeid

  • Published
  • By 379th Air Expeditionary Wing Public Affairs

379th Air Expeditionary Wing leaders wasted no time identifying the number one quality of life issue on Al Udeid Air Base.  “Al Udeid Airmen are remarkably consistent when it comes to improving their quality of life,” said Brig. Gen. Daniel Tulley, 379th AEW commander. “Far and away, ‘Fast, Free Wi-Fi’ tops the list of requests. Chief Bruce and I engaged thousands of Airmen after we arrived, and we spoke to some who were paying over $150 per month.”

 

To rectify the quality of life issue, the wing made it a top priority.  “The 379th translated their request into action,” Tulley said.  “It took the better part of a year, but we weren’t willing to take no for an answer.  At every turn, our Airmen came up with a way to get to yes, to innovate, and to approach the problem from a different angle.” Leaders across the wing worked in conjunction with host nation Qatar to establish “Fast, Free Wi-Fi” and replace the old contracted Wi-Fi, which ended on Oct. 1, 2020.  

 

Previously, members were getting 0.5 Mbps and could connect a single device. The new CAF Wi-Fi reconfiguration will enable members to access speeds of approximately 5 Mbps and connect two devices per account.  

 

According to Lt. Col. Charles LeDeatte, 379th Expeditionary Communications Squadron commander, connection speeds will vary depending on location.

 

“Currently there is not a data or usage cap [for the Wi-Fi], but users’ download speeds may vary depending on the location of their wireless access point and the device they are connecting to the Wi-Fi service,” he said.

 

He went on to say that during the transition to faster Wi-Fi customers might experience some temporary effects. “Over the next couple of weeks, we will still be working through the configuring of the network so some services we have come to enjoy may be temporarily down while we work through the new settings,” he said.

 

Overall, according to Col. Peter Olsen, 379th Expeditionary Mission Support Group commander, the main reasoning for the new Wi-Fi is the resiliency of Team Al Udeid.

 

“Wi-Fi is the number one quality of life concern for AUAB residents,” he said. “It connects them to their family and friends and strengthens our resiliency and readiness. We were the first base to bring 5G coverage back in April and now we’ve accelerated our network bandwidth to enable Fast, Free Wi-Fi … truly a standard worthy of our Airmen.”

 

To sign up for the new “Fast, Free Wi-Fi,” members need to speak with a Babtel technician located at the Blatchford Preston Complex Mall in order to provision an account. Members that had a previous account under the legacy CAF Wi-Fi will be grandfathered and transferred into the new system automatically.

 

LeDeatte finished by stating it took an entire dedicated team to ensure this transition happened for the installation.

 

"There has been a lot of coordination with the Qatari Signal Corps, Babtel, and Vodafone to ensure this was completed in time prior to the expiration of the old contract on October 1,” he said. “A huge thank you goes to the teams who worked late into the night to ensure this was completed by midnight.  We were able to cutover without issue. Typically, a new circuit activation will take weeks, and this team completed it within 30 hours of notification.