Light Reading

Wireless Win for NFL

Light Reading
LR Mobile News Analysis
Light Reading
9/22/2006
50%
50%

On Sunday the rejuvenated Arizona Cardinals (1-1 on the season) will host the St. Louis Rams in what could turn out to be a key divisional matchup in the NFL. On display will not only be the passing of Kurt Warner and the running of Edgerrin James, but Cardinals Stadium itself, the new $450 million facility that is widely considered the most technologically advanced sports palace in the world.

Along with a retractable roof and a sliding grass field that can be retracted for non-football events, Cardinals Stadium, located in Glendale, Ariz., a suburb of Phoenix, features the league's most sophisticated wireless network. Installed by Tempe-based systems integrator Insight North America, using distributed-antenna system (DAS) technology from Cellular Specialties Inc. (CSI), and equipment from MobileAccess, the system offers both cellular voice and WiFi coverage to all of the stadium's 63,400 seats as well as luxury suites, corridors and concession areas, press areas, team offices and locker rooms, and tenant office space within the building. The network also provides full coverage for public safety radios throughout the 1 million-square-foot facility.

"The design of the stadium is a technological marvel, not only from an architectural standpoint with the roof opening and closing, but sliding in and out of the field, everything," says Mark Feller, director of technology for the team. "So when the Cardinals were looking at the telecommunications capability, they made the decision that it made sense to make it the most technologically advanced stadium in the world as well."

The IP-based network from CSI collects both voice and data signals over the distributed antennas and transmits them via coaxial cable to 37 wiring closets or "remote hub units" that are aligned in vertical arrays on the different levels of the stadium. The signals are then filtered and sent to the appropriate destination over fiber-optic cables to carrier networks in the case of cellular traffic, and over Cisco switches and the stadium's VLAN out to the Internet in the case of data traffic. The WiFi access points are located at the remote hubs, not distributed across the facility as in a conventional 802.11 network -- making the system much more flexible and economical, according to Feller.

"Compared to the cost of just putting in a WiFi antenna system, this gives us a lot more flexibility," says Feller. "Since the antennas are connected with coax back to the wiring closets, the management and maintenance for us is much easier than if the access points were scattered throughout the ceiling and various locations around the stadium."

"There are four primary users of the network at the stadium," says Kelley Carr, vice president of service for CSI's Custom Solutions Group. "The fans, the workers for the stadium themselves, public safety personnel, and the news media. The distributed-antenna system gives them all the bandwidth and different types of service they need."

Not only are sports photographers be able to instantly upload their images to company networks from the field, but the plutocrats in the skyboxes can enjoy the benefits of the system as well. Each luxury suite is equipped with Cisco 7970 interactive IP phones, which feature with 5- by 4-inch digital touch screens so that guests can order food, play fantasy football, and buy merchandise instantly.

Even the fiber optic cabling is state-of-the-art: the stadium uses a technology called FutureFlex, from Sumitomo Electric Lightwave Corp. , which allows fiber to be quickly blown through standing tubes using compressed air.

After looking at several networking companies Feller and Insight North America narrowed the choice of providers to three. He declines to name the other two but notes that one of the bidders submitted a price that was 20 percent higher than that of CSI and the other candidate. The selection ultimately came down to experience deploying similar systems in unconventional venues, he says.

Feller won't say how much the team has invested in the network at the new stadium, which will host the BCS National Championship next January and Super Bowl XLII in Feb. 2008. But he notes that the Cardinals are in the forefront of wireless technology not just for sports venues but for less glamorous enterprises.

"A lot of facilities are going to go to this kind of [distributed-antenna] system," Feller maintains, "even commercial buildings, where all the tenants need wireless coverage throughout the facility. I think you'll see this technology in use everywhere over the next few years."

— Richard Martin, Senior Editor, Unstrung

(0)  | 
Comment  | 
Print  | 
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View        ADD A COMMENT
Educational Resources
sponsor supplied content
Educational Resources Archive
Flash Poll
From The Founder
Ericsson's Hyperscale Datacenter System (HDS) 8000, featuring Intel's Rack Scale Architecture, caused a stir when it was announced at MWC 2015. For more on this revolutionary product, join me on Thursday, April 30 at 12:00 p.m. EST for a Super Webinar event, A New Hardware Paradigm for the Telco Data Center.
LRTV Documentaries
CableLabs' Clarke Updates Cable Virtualization

4|23|15   |   05:41   |   (1) comment


Former BT exec now leading CableLabs' NFV and SDN efforts explains key role of open source and updates efforts to virtualize the home network.
LRTV Interviews
Ericsson's CTO Talks Transformation: Pt. II

4|23|15   |   08:19   |   (1) comment


In the second installment of an in-depth two-part interview, Ericsson's CTO Ulf Ewaldsson talks to Light Reading CEO and founder Steve Saunders about cultural change, network slicing and technology advances.
LRTV Interviews
Ericsson's CTO Talks Transformation: Pt. I

4|23|15   |   09:27   |   (3) comments


In the first installment of an in-depth two-part interview, Ericsson's CTO Ulf Ewaldsson talks to Light Reading CEO and founder Steve Saunders about the incredible transformation underway in the communications networking industry.
LRTV Documentaries
LTE Paves the Way for the 5G Revolution

4|20|15   |   4:20   |   (0) comments


Håkan Andersson, head of 5G product strategy of the Radio Business Unit at Ericsson, discusses the role of LTE, the US and other industry verticals in building a true 5G ecosystem.
LRTV Documentaries
The 3GPP's Road to 5G Standardization

4|17|15   |   4:43   |   (0) comments


Satoshi Nagata, chairman of the 3GPP's TSG-RAN group and a manager at NTT Docomo, explains the standardization process for 5G, as well as the biggest challenges and opportunities.
LRTV Documentaries
AlcaLu CTO Makes the Case for a New 5G Air Interface

4|16|15   |   3:54   |   (0) comments


Michael Peeters, CTO of wireless at Alcatel-Lucent, explains why 5G will require a new air interface to meet its diverse performance targets.
LRTV Documentaries
AlcaLu + Nokia: The New Uber-Vendor

4|15|15   |   2:42   |   (4) comments


Heavy Reading Senior Analyst Gabriel Brown discusses the technological and competitive opportunities and challenges if a merger between Alcatel-Lucent and Nokia comes to pass.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Huawei's Data Center Power Play

4|15|15   |   6:22   |   (0) comments


Huawei has developed industry-leading energy efficiency capabilities for its indoor and outdoor data center solutions, explains Dr. Fang Liangzhou, vice president of Huawei's Network Energy product Line.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Huawei’s Routers, Switches Get the Green Mark

4|15|15   |   2:02   |   (0) comments


TUV Rheinland's Frank Dudley explains how Huawei's routers and switches have been successfully tested by energy efficiency experts and have gained Green Mark Certification.
LRTV Documentaries
A Finn, a Frenchman & a Guy From New Jersey Walk Into a Merger...

4|15|15   |   3:17   |   (0) comments


Stop us if you've heard this one before... Light Reading CEO Founder & CEO Steve Saunders weighs in on the technical and cultural implications of a Nokia and Alcatel-Lucent merger.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Accounting for Better Solutions

4|10|15   |   02:31   |   (1) comment


Murad Yousuf, CTO at Saudi Arabia's Ministry of Finance (Dept. of Zakat & Income Tax), talks about the benefits of deploying router technology from Huawei.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
What's in Store for Huawei & DataCore?

4|10|15   |   05:44   |   (0) comments


At the CeBIT trade show in Hannover, Germany, George Teixeira, CEO of software-defined storage (SDS) specialist DataCore Software, explains why he has just signed a partnership agreement with Huawei Technologies.
Upcoming Live Events
May 6, 2015, Georgia World Congress, Atlanta, GA
May 12, 2015, Grand Hyatt, Denver, CO
May 13-14, 2015, The Westin Peachtree, Atlanta, GA
June 8, 2015, Chicago, IL
June 9-10, 2015, Chicago, IL
June 9, 2015, Chicago, IL
June 10, 2015, Chicago, IL
September 29-30, 2015, The Westin Grand Müchen, Munich, Germany
October 6, 2015, Westin Peachtree Plaza, Atlanta, GA
November 11-12, 2015, The Westin Peachtree Plaza, Atlanta, GA
All Upcoming Live Events
Infographics
In its latest survey covering network operators' plans and strategies for ICT transformation, Heavy Reading asked telecom operators worldwide to identify the most important goals and objectives for their ICT transformation initiatives. Heavy Reading also asked operators about the importance of a "digital first" strategy, which enables customers to complete an interaction across different digital channels, such as web and mobile self-service and social media.
Hot Topics
What if the Comcast Merger Fails?
Mari Silbey, Independent Technology Editor, 4/20/2015
Google's WiFi-First Mobile Service 'Fi' Is Here
Dan Jones, Mobile Editor, 4/22/2015
Comcast Merger May Hinge on Hulu
Mari Silbey, Independent Technology Editor, 4/22/2015
Comcast Formally Ends Its Bid for TWC
Mari Silbey, Independent Technology Editor, 4/24/2015
Google Ready to Release Thousands of Loons
Sarah Thomas, Editorial Operations Director, 4/20/2015
Like Us on Facebook
Twitter Feed
Webinar Archive
BETWEEN THE CEOs - Executive Interviews
Many leading communications companies can claim to have undergone significant periods of reinvention during their histories, but none have been through more major ...
Data Center Interconnect, or DCI, is one of the hottest sectors in telecom currently. Since coming back to Light Reading last year, prodigal-son style, I've ...
Cats with Phones
Learning Curve Click Here
Pierre could never remember how to use Excel.
Latest Comment