New England Patriots to Get Big New Wi-Fi Access at Gillette Stadium
When September rolls around, at least in the United States, two key points pop into a lot of heads: school starting back up, and football. Occasionally the two are even intertwined, with high school and college ball.
But for the New England Patriots, September 16 will bring more than just the home opener for the Patriots; specifically, it will bring a new Wi-Fi network for their home turf – Gillette Stadium.
With that new Wi-Fi network will come a variety of new capabilities for Patriots fans, including the ability to watch instant replays of all the best plays no matter where they are in the stands, as well as social networking functions, access to NFL Red Zone, official apps for Gillette Stadium and the New England Patriots themselves – all using iPhones and iPads as well as the line of Android (News - Alert) devices.
The network in question is an 802.11n network, packing in better than 200 access points both inside the stadium and outside from Enterasys (News - Alert) Networks. Enterasys also brought in a set of S-series switches for integrating the Wi-Fi and the wireless networks, and a OneFabric control center to manage the network.
It's going to have to be an extremely robust network, because all those fans will be putting it through a torture test in rapid fashion: specifically, video. The service is designed for things like instant replays, which means it's going to have to serve up a lot of high-bandwidth video over a large number of users at once.
Interestingly, however, the vice president of content, and publisher for the Patriots, Fred Kirsch, doesn't seem too concerned. In fact, Kirsch expects users in the stadium to even start using things like FaceTime (News - Alert) and other video chatting services during the games, once users see how well the network works.
That's going to be a substantial strain on things indeed, but considering that the Gillette Wi-Fi network can allow up to 40 percent of the fans in the stadium to send video wirelessly – compared to only 12 percent of fans in European soccer venues who can do so – it seems like this particular network will suffice to handle the job.
Considering further that Enterasys was chosen for its ability to focus its access point antennas, the thought that this network will be able to support that many users is a fair one.
It's going to be interesting to see just what happens when the Patriots fire up their new network, and see how it reacts to the massive torture test that many users will inflict on it just by their presence. It will also be interesting to see how many people are willing to take their small-screen devices to a football game, which is not commonly a place where many such devices are seen.
Still, though, it's a great idea, and one that might very well make the game even more engaging for the viewers.
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Edited by Braden Becker