Light Reading

Wireless Win for NFL

Light Reading
LR Mobile News Analysis
Light Reading

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
From The Founder
Steve Saunders provides an overview of white box networking and introduces a new "slim line" version of the OSI 7-layer model.
Flash Poll
Live Streaming Video
CLOUD / MANAGED SERVICES: Prepping Ethernet for the Cloud
Moderator: Ray LeMaistre Panelists: Jeremy Bye, Leonard Sheahan
Between the CEOs
Centec on Ethernet Switching

11|26|15   |   09:58   |   (0) comments

Centec CEO James Sun talks to Steve Saunders about Ethernet switching and the white box revolution.
LRTV Custom TV
Delivering Service Agility in the Virtualization Era

11|25|15   |   5.41   |   (0) comments

Interview with Massimo Fatato, WW OSS Business Lead, Hewlett Packard Enterprise.
Wagner’s Ring
How Might Open Source Fail?

11|24|15   |     |   (9) comments

Open source, SDN, and NFV are looking inevitable – but performance, standards proliferation and regulatory capture could derail the movement.
LRTV Custom TV
NFV Lifecycle Orchestration – a Fresh Vision for Telco

11|23|15   |   6.40   |   (0) comments

Simon Osborne, CTO Comptel, and Heavy Reading's Caroline Chappell reveal the business impacts of new SDN and NFV, and what the term service orchestration actually means. Together they define Lifecycle Service Orchestration and how the virtualized future will look for telecoms operators.
Between the CEOs
Cisco's Virtual Role in Saudi

11|20|15   |   12:15   |   (2) comments

Light Reading founder and CEO Steve Saunders talks with Zayan Sadek, Regional Manager at Cisco Systems, about the competitive communications services market and advance of virtualization in Saudi Arabia.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Huawei Leads With Kubernetes for Cloud PaaS

11|19|15   |   08:26   |   (0) comments

Huawei is looking to Kubernetes as a key tool for building robust open source technologies for customers and partners, said Ying Xiong, chief architect of cloud platform at Huawei, in an interview with Light Reading West Coast Bureau Chief Mitch Wagner at the recent Kubecon conference.
Women in Comms Introduction Videos
WiC in London: The Highlight Reel

11|19|15   |   5:33   |   (1) comment

NetCracker's Mervat El Dabae headlines an inspiring morning in London with help from leading women from Vodafone, TalkTalk, Hyperoptics and Ciena.
LRTV Documentaries
Why Saudi's So Hot for New Tech

11|19|15   |   05:07   |   (0) comments

Light Reading's Steve Saunders reports from Saudi Arabia, a hyper-competitive market desperate to embrace the next generation of communications technologies and services.
LRTV Custom TV
Why Data Models Deliver More Value Than Information Models

11|19|15   |   5.08   |   (0) comments

Stefan Vallin argues that more automation is needed to manage end-to-end services and the hybrid networks they run on, and that data models are key to achieving this.
Telecom Innovators Video Showcase
SDN Management & Orchestration in the WAN

11|17|15   |   7.20   |   (0) comments

Carol Wilson and Packet Design CTO Cengiz Alaettinoglu discuss CSPs' SDN service delivery and assurance requirements. Learn about a modular approach to building automated control, orchestration and management functions for the WAN that are policy- and analytics-driven.
LRTV Custom TV
Flash Networks: Optimizing for Radio Spectral Efficiency

11|17|15   |   3:34   |   (0) comments

Today most optimization vendors only focus on optimizing voice or data. Ofer Gottfried, Flash Networks' CTO, shows how improving data throughput and maximizing spectral efficiency reduces capital and operating expenses while also providing a platform for user engagement.
LRTV Custom TV
Making Pay-TV User Experiences Millennial-Friendly

11|16|15   |   6:42   |   (0) comments

The unique challenge of reaching and engaging Millennials is driving pay-TV video experience transformation that can include higher quality UIs, viewing of multiple content streams at once and seamless transitions between handheld devices and the television.
Allot MobileTrends Report H2/2015 reveals how daily online behavior can be used to discover smarter ways to profile customers and propose valuable, real-time offers to them.
Hot Topics
Samsung to Sell Wireless Networking Unit?
Dan Jones, Mobile Editor, 11/23/2015
Samsung: No Sale of Wireless Unit
Dan Jones, Mobile Editor, 11/25/2015
How Might Open Source Fail?
Mitch Wagner, West Coast Bureau Chief, Light Reading, 11/24/2015
Sprint to Get $1.2B From New Leasing Venture
Dan Jones, Mobile Editor, 11/23/2015
Networking Shines in HP's Gloomy Final Earnings
Mitch Wagner, West Coast Bureau Chief, Light Reading, 11/25/2015
Like Us on Facebook
Twitter Feed
December 15, 2015
Virtualizing Cable Services
Webinar Archive
BETWEEN THE CEOs - Executive Interviews
Centec CEO James Sun talks to Steve Saunders about Ethernet switching and the white box revolution.
Light Reading founder and CEO Steve Saunders talks with Zayan Sadek, Regional Manager at Cisco Systems, about the competitive communications services market and advance of virtualization in Saudi Arabia.
Cats with Phones
Can't Find the Phone on Thanksgiving? Click Here
Check under the cat! (hint: bottom right)
Live Digital Audio

Broadband speeds are ramping up across Europe as the continent, at its own pace, follows North America towards a gigabit society. But there are many steps to take on the road to gigabit broadband availability and a number of technology options that can meet the various requirements of Europe’s high-speed fixed broadband network operators. During this radio show we will look at some of the catalysts for broadband network investments and examine the menu of technology options on offer, including vectoring and for copper plant evolution and the various deployment possibilities for FTTH/B.