On any given Sunday, stadiums across the US are filled with boisterous fans. The cheers (and boos) from a crowd of 70,000+ consume the audible airwaves, at times proving difficult to speak to even the guy sitting next to you. Those fans, having decided to leave the comfort of their couch, maintain their thirst for consumption. And I’m not just talking about beer. The expectation for high performing access is a thirst that is moving into most public places, including the sports arena.
Is it feasible, or even possible, to deliver WiFi in a hyper-dense environment such as a professional sporting arena? The New England Patriots believe it is, and instilled their trust in a single supplier for stadium-wide WiFi.
So, how would one embark on such a project?
Without question the single, biggest, limiting factor is the radio frequency (RF) itself. A single channel, on a single radio can only support so many clients.
The answer, with certainty, would lead one to derive a calculation using number of seats in a building and simply ensuring there are enough radios/channels to handle the communication needs. Thankfully enterprise grade APs have two radios, so the design only needs half the APs one would conclude with said calculations.
Not so fast.
For every radio that is deployed, there is corresponding RF energy that is emitted in every direction. This energy, when left uncontrolled, will create interference with radios and mobile devices in the same area. Making matters worse, one band (2.4Ghz) has only three channels to use without overlapping and creating more interference. This problem compounds itself until the noise floor is so high that the RF signal becomes unusable and the mobile devices no longer work.
This is the equivalent of the fan behind you yelling in your ear and your brain can no longer process the sounds you want to hear.
So, I’ll ask again. How NOW would one embark on such a project?
The answer is found with a precisely designed stadium antenna system, engineered to control the signal in a very specific manner. Without this specialized antenna, the secrets within Enterasys wireless software that ensure high performance packet processing, air fairness, and noise reduction, would be for not.
So, on any given Sunday, I can’t tell you if your favorite team is gonna win or lose. But I can tell you that you’ll be able to Tweet out the results of the game, using our WiFi, right from your seat.
Come down to Gillette stadium and discover it for yourself…