SUNNYVALE, CA and LONDON – June 10, 2015 – Ruckus Wireless, Inc. (NYSE: RKUS) and The Cloud, a Sky company, announced today that the American Express Community Stadium (The AMEX) is providing an exceptional interactive user experience with the successful deployment of a Ruckus Smart Wi-Fi network. For football club fans, as well as attendees of other events held at The AMEX, the new network provides spectators access to free, high-performance Wi-Fi throughout the entire stadium.
Tweet this Located in Falmer, Brighton, East Sussex, England (UK), The AMEX is one of the most modern stadiums in the UK. Home to the Brighton & Hove Albion Football Club—the Seagulls, The AMEX seats approximately 35,000 people, hosting a variety of sporting events, concerts, conferences, and exhibitions. It has become one of the most popular meeting and events venues on the South Coast, regularly catering to conferences and some 23+ home soccer games a season. The AMEX will also host games during the upcoming 2015 Rugby World Cup.
Brighton & Hove Management Company - who manages The AMEX - made a strategic decision to expand Wi-Fi connectivity beyond the corporate boxes and meeting venues to all areas of the stadium. The new Ruckus Smart Wi-Fi network operated and managed for them by The Cloud is comprised of approximately 100 Ruckus ZoneFlex™ indoor and outdoor access points. It spans the Stadium’s stands, bars, concourses and press areas, improving the match day experience by giving Seagulls fans the ability to browse the web, tweet, bet in-play and use the Seagull’s new mobile app, which provides a live match score center, player profiles, exclusive manager and player interviews, and a range of other content. The new network has also helped streamline stadium operations using in-house apps, and augments expensive and often spotty 3G/4G cellular data service.
“Our fans want to get online–everything from catching up on scores to uploading videos from the stands. The ability to get online has become a big part of match day,” said Paul Barber, CEO at Brighton and Hove Albion Football Club. “For us, mobile is a great way of bringing the fans closer to the action and there’s an opportunity to expand on that in the future with competitions, games or other interactive tools. Having fast, free Internet across the ground is key to engaging with fans.”
Experts in building high capacity Wi-Fi public networks, The Cloud is one of Europe’s biggest public Wi-Fi providers, and the largest in the UK. It has worked on sporting projects similar to this at the home of English cricket (Lord’s) and motor racing (Silverstone), and was aware of the challenges presented by these types of deployments, and how to solve them. The Cloud had very stringent design requirements for The AMEX to address different usage, mobility, density and concurrent connectivity scenarios. These ranged from being able to consistently deliver 2 Mbps of wireless capacity to each user in high density environments for HD video streaming, to supporting four devices per 10 square meters and the ability to connect 50 percent of all users during a full stadium event.
How Smart Stadium Wi-Fi is Done
The Cloud needed to provide The AMEX with a complete, turnkey, high-speed, high capacity, secure, free Wi-Fi service that could deliver ubiquitous, strong signal coverage both indoors and out. The Cloud also required flexible deployment options—both wired and mesh, support for 10,000+ concurrent client connections, rich analytics and robust centralized management. Ruckus Smart Wi-Fi has delivered on all counts. “Exceptional stadium Wi-Fi is predicated on explicit control of Wi-Fi signals and a smarter approach to RF design,” said Sami Susiaho, head of Edge Technologies for The Cloud. “With Ruckus, the results have been remarkable.”
Ruckus-patented BeamFlex™ adaptive antenna technology has enabled The Cloud to consistently deliver Wi-Fi signal strength of -65dB or better throughout AMEX Stadium. “With high density Wi-Fi, conventional wisdom is that more APs are better,” said Susiaho. “What’s really needed is a smarter and well thought through approach to signal propagation, because you simply can’t control what the client does. But with the right Wi-Fi technology, you can control how the network interacts with clients to help ensure the best possible user experience.”
The Cloud has installed over 80 Ruckus ZoneFlex outdoor access points (APs) to the roof superstructure near the Stadium’s speakers, so as to ring the pitch space. Each AP has the capacity to service up to 200 users and designed to cover a block of 400 seats. As demand increases, the design gives The Cloud the ability to easily scale the network to support increased user engagement by simply adding more access points as, and when, required.
“We have worked extensively with Ruckus and have previously deployed some 40,000 APs all over Europe, so we know the quality and effectiveness of its technology,” added Susiaho. “We tested a dozen access points from different vendors, and it was simply no contest—Ruckus was the only one that was up for the job.”
Ruckus ZoneFlex carrier-class, outdoor access points are designed specifically to address high-density environments such as sports stadiums, where thousands of people are gathered together in close proximity. The access points at The AMEX are centrally managed using two Ruckus ZoneDirector™ 5000 controllers, with one located on each side of the Stadium, which provides easy and scalable network management for large-scale wireless environments like stadiums.
As part of managing The AMEX network, The Cloud is also utilizing the Ruckus SmartCell™ Insight (SCI) big data analytics platform. Ruckus SCI provides predictive analysis that The Cloud can use to determine future user behavior in order to stay ahead of data demand. In addition, The Cloud is able to quickly view and extract a myriad of important network performance data such as upstream and downstream traffic volumes by device and device type, RF channel capacity between APs and stations, access points with the greatest traffic volumes, and most importantly, the potential client throughputs.
Since deploying the Ruckus Smart Wi-Fi infrastructure, The Cloud has reported that during a recent match they saw over 13,000 devices connect concurrently, consuming a staggering 600,000 minutes of online time and over 10,000 megabytes of data downloaded—more than twice the average match day use. “The network we’ve designed and deployed at The AMEX using Ruckus is a model for how to do Wi-Fi right in high density environments. The RF design is spot on. It’s exactly what we predicted it would be. That’s the truth. I love the way this turned out,” concluded Susiaho.
American Express Community Stadium adds to the growing, impressive list of Ruckus Smart Wi-Fi high-density stadium and arena deployments around the world, including: the 45,483-seat Angel Stadium of Anaheim, home to Major League Baseball’s (MLB’s) Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim; the 74,738-seat Estádio Jornalista Mario Filho in Rio de Janeiro, better known as the Maracanã, the world-famous venue that hosted seven 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil matches last summer; three other 2014 FIFA World Cup venues in Brazil: Estádio Nacional de Brasília, a 69,349-seat stadium in Brasília; Arena Fonte Nova (aka Estádio Octávio Mangabeira), a 51,900-seat stadium in Salvador; and Arena Pantanal, a 41,112-seat multi-purpose stadium in Cuiabá, plus; Indian Wells Tennis Garden in Southern California; Time Warner Cable Arena in Charlotte, NC; M. A. Chidambaram Stadium, a 70,000-seat facility in Chennai, India; Rio Tinto Stadium, a 25,000-seat venue in Salt Lake City, UT; Imtech Arena in Hamburg, Germany; and the 45,574-seat National Stadium (Estadio Nacional) of Lima, Peru, among many others.