The National Football League team the Carolina Panthers used the 2015 offseason to improve the wireless fan experience its Bank of America Stadium in Charlotte, North Carolina.
At that time, the Panthers were looking for a technical partner to update the stadium’s wireless network infrastructure and replace the existing carrier-led distributed antenna system (DAS).
The Panthers finally decided to team up with the consulting firm Beam Wireless to provide technical services and identify the best DAS vendor for the project. After considering the many available options, the Panthers and Beam Wireless chose CommScope’s ION-U solution.
The completely new, venue-led neutral host DAS was designed and deployed in a three-month period and supports four major wireless carriers.
“ION-U is a robust, flexible solution that permits all 75,000 fans at the stadium to use their mobile devices any way they want. App usage, check-ins, shares and chats peak at football games, concerts and other events hosted by the stadium. It supports multiple operators, frequency bands and air interface technologies in one unified, low- and high-power system,” CommScope said. “Network engineers can adjust power levels on ION-U all the way down to individual frequency bands for better optimization.”
As part of the connectivity project, CommScope supplied the active ION-U components as well as the cables, antennas and low passive intermodulation (PIM) devices. Rack mount fiber chassis, adapter plates, fiber optic connectors, splitter modules and fiber patch cords also played into the design and deployment of an optical local area network (LAN) solution for a gigabit-capable passive optical network (GPON) in the stadium suites and high-performance structured cabling to help support the DAS.
Qypsys, a nationwide system integrator specializing in passive optical LAN, led the GPON/Optical LAN solutions installation.
The optical LAN fiber network infrastructure helps the Panthers support stadium operations and deliver an integrated, engaging fan experience, according to CommScope, with integrated infrastructure enabling applications such as high-bandwidth data, voice, Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) and Wi-Fi services; high-definition TV and hospitality services for more than 150 executive suites; and broadband video.
“Providing an exceptional experience for our fans—on the field and in the stands—is a top priority for the entire Panthers organization,” said James Hammond, director of information technology for the Carolina Panthers. “We decided to acquire the DAS ourselves in order to take greater control of the wireless fan experience, speed the deployment process, and make future upgrades and optimization easier for network operators.”