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Designing for High Density: Stadiums and Arenas

Maracana Stadium, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
Maracana Stadium, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

These are amongst the most challenging locations to deploy a broadband wireless network because of the huge crowds in close proximity to each other and the near universal use of smartphones by today’s fans. Ruckus has been involved in stadium and arena deployments all over the world in the past few years. None have been more high-profile then our recent deployments down in Brazil at four stadiums ahead of the 2014 World Cup. The largest World Cup venue to receive a Ruckus network was the 76,000 seat Maracana Stadium in Rio de Janeiro, which hosted the World Cup finals. The Maracana Stadium required 217 Ruckus ZoneFlex access points.

Keys to successful stadium deployments include:

  • Use of vertical mounting assets whenever possible. Includes roofs, catwalks, and overhangs
  • Use of narrowbeam antennas that can narrowly focus RF energy into the crowds below
  • Integrated antennas for aesthetics and ease of mounting
  • A dense footprint of AP's, but not too dense (typically 100-200 as interference is your enemy)
  • Interference is always the limiting feature in a high-density stadium deployment
  • Concrete can be a big help as it absorbs RF energy, which can help shield AP's from each other
  • Best to limit the use of the unlicensed bands within the stadium to the extent possible; This is always easier said then done
  • 5 Ghz band is a huge help in stadium deployments