U.S. firm Atomic Data is seeing a growing trend of sport venues adopting in-building wireless infrastructure for the provision of Wi-Fi connectivity and other services for better fan experience, the company’s enterprise project manager, Yagya Mahadevan, told In Building Tech.
“We are seeing a trend in major sports venue considering full bowl/fan-facing Wi-Fi as a default expectation from fans. Wireless enables integration and better fan experience all through the venue,” the executive said. “Wi-Fi also opens up opportunity to have portable kiosk location anywhere in the stadium with less needs for wired internet connectivity. It also helps sports teams to gather more information about their fan base.”
Atomic Data has completed a wireless infrastructure project at the Allianz Field, home of Minnesota United Football Club (MNUFC).
“Technology design and architecture started early 2017 and was substantially completed by end of 2018,” the executive said.
Under a previous agreement with MNUFC, Atomic Data was responsible for designing, building, managing, monitoring, and supporting the local area network (LAN), IP telephone system and fan facing Wi-Fi at Allianz Field. The stadium network includes over 400 wireless access points provided by Cisco.
The executive said that the connectivity project included “wireless access points under the seats in the bowl, external APs to cover open outdoor spaces, access points in roof deck to cover canopy and provide connectivity to fans using digital tickets, and redundant Internet connectivity for making sure there is enough bandwidth to cover all fans on Wi-Fi.”
Mahadevan also said that the venue has a DAS system and that there are negotiations with carriers for the provision of services.
Commenting on the challenges faced by Atomic Data during the execution of the project, the executive said that the company worked hard to “identify the right AP model and NEMA enclosures that can fit under the seat and at the same time making sure there is nothing invasive into fan’s space or leg room.”
The company also evaluated the right outdoor APs that can work in Minnesota’s cold weather during winter.
Throughout Allianz Field there are 14 intermediate distribution frame (IDF) closets. These serve as networking substations through which cabling is run from the main distribution frame to support endpoints like the 280 point of sale systems throughout the stadium and provide a granular level of detail in support and monitoring. Atomic data engineers and technicians will provide monitoring and support from Atomic Data’s Minneapolis headquarters and the on-site data center at Allianz Field—which are connected by redundant 10Gbps circuits.