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
Light Reading's conference in November will attempt to answer all of the big questions around white box networks. No pressure...
Flash Poll
Live Streaming Video
CLOUD / MANAGED SERVICES: Prepping Ethernet for the Cloud
Moderator: Ray LeMaistre Panelists: Jeremy Bye, Leonard Sheahan
Telecom Innovators Video Showcase
Close-up on ConfD

10|12|15   |   10.21   |   (0) comments

Tail-f's Renée Robinson-Stromberg tells Steve Saunders about the powerful ConfD management interface.
Women in Comms Introduction Videos
Women in Comms: Highlights From Dallas

10|12|15   |   2:23   |   (1) comment

The best soundbites, quotes and words of wisdom from leading women from Intel, AT&T, Verizon and Genband at our recent WiC breakfast in Dallas.
Telecom Innovators Video Showcase
NetNumber Founder on Managing Signaling Control

10|12|15   |   6:36   |   (0) comments

NetNumber Founder and Chief Strategy Officer Doug Ranalli describes the essential complexity of real-world signaling-control and how NetNumber enables carriers to bring signaling-control "under-control". Learn why virtualization alone isn't the answer.
LRTV Documentaries
Verizon Gets Proactive on App Performance

10|12|15   |   04:50   |   (0) comments

SDN is turning traditional service models around to allow Verizon to measure and deliver performance at the application layer. As Shawn Hakl, VP of enterprise networking and managed solutions for Verizon, explains, the carrier had to develop new skill sets and change some of its internal operations, but the payoff was happier enterprise customers.
Telecom Innovators Video Showcase
Tail-f, Cisco & What the Future Holds

10|9|15   |   8:17   |   (0) comments

Steve Saunders meets with Tail-f's Director of Technology, Carl Moberg, in Stockholm to discuss becoming part of Cisco, ETSI MANO, virtualization and the need to combine science and business in order to create opportunities for service providers.
LRTV Interviews
Broadband Forum Embraces SDN & NFV

10|9|15   |   02:42   |   (1) comment

At Gigabit Europe 2015, Robin Mersh and Kevin Foster from the Broadband Forum explain how the industry body is adapting to meet the SDN, NFV and cloud needs of the access network sector.
LRTV Interviews
Top Tips for FTTH Operators

10|8|15   |   02:26   |   (0) comments

At Gigabit Europe 2015, Ventura Team co-founder Richard Jones talks about some of the key business case considerations for FTTH network operators.
LRTV Interviews
M-net Calls for FTTx Unity

10|8|15   |   03:45   |   (0) comments

At the Gigabit Europe event, Jörn Schoof from M-net, the Munich city network operator, calls for industry collaboration on fiber broadband access rollouts.
LRTV Documentaries
The Business Case Challenge for NFV

10|7|15   |   03:47   |   (0) comments

Virtual CPE is one of the early success stories for network functions virtualization, as service providers are finding flexible, programmable CPE solves a lot of logistics problems and reduces their cost. But even here, Masergy Communications faced a business case challenge, says CTO Tim Naramore.
LRTV Interviews
JT Offers Some Gigabit Lessons

10|7|15   |   4:08   |   (1) comment

Barna Kutvolgyi, managing director, Global Consumer, at JT, the incumbent operator on the island of Jersey, talks about how other service providers can learn from his company's gigabit broadband rollout experiences.
LRTV Interviews
AT&T's Chiosi on the Potential of Open Source

10|6|15   |   06:27   |   (0) comments

AT&T Distinguished Network Architect Margaret T. Chiosi talks to Light Reading's Carol Wilson about the potential for open source technology to liberate communications service providers.
LRTV Interviews
Network Security in a Gigabit World

10|6|15   |   05:52   |   (0) comments

Masergy's James Harrison talks about some of the network security and data center issues network operators need to consider as they expand their broadband services portfolios.
Upcoming Live Events
October 14-15, 2015, New Orleans Ernest N. Morial Convention Center, New Orleans, LA
November 5, 2015, Hilton Santa Clara, Santa Clara, CA
November 17, 2015, Santa Clara, California
December 1, 2015, The Westin Times Square, New York City
December 2, 2015, The Westin Times Square, New York City
All Upcoming Live Events
Network appliances have a strong value proposition in today's networks and will continue to do so in the NFV and SDN-enabled networks of tomorrow.
Hot Topics
Dell Buys EMC for $67B in Biggest Tech Deal Ever
Mari Silbey, Senior Editor, Cable/Video, 10/12/2015
M&A Speculation Swirls Around Juniper
Ray Le Maistre, Editor-in-chief, 10/6/2015
Cord Cutting? 'Fraid so.
Brett Sappington, 10/7/2015
Cisco Makes 'Martian' Connection
Mitch Wagner, West Coast Bureau Chief, Light Reading, 10/9/2015
Like Us on Facebook
Twitter Feed
Webinar Archive
BETWEEN THE CEOs - Executive Interviews
With so many new and exciting communications technologies now under development, it's easy to get caught up in the industry's escalating hype cycle. That's why the ...
Last week saw a big day in the 15-year history of Light Reading when Editor-in-Chief Ray Le Maistre and I were invited to interview the Deputy Chairman and Rotating ...
Cats with Phones
"What?! I'm on with Finisar about their stock price tanking" Click Here
Live Digital Audio

Think NFV is just about virtualization? Think again!

Network architects are learning that there's a lot more to the technology than first thought – more complexity, that is; but also, more potential benefits.

On May 29th 1 PM ET, Steve Saunders, founder and CEO of Light Reading, will be drilling into the "pains and gains" of NFV with Saar Gillai, SVP & GM, HP Communications Solutions Business at Hewlett-Packard Co. (NYSE: HPQ) (HP). He has defined a four-step NFV model describing a sequence of technology innovation. It's a must-read doc for any network architect looking to get to grips with their NFV migration strategy. Join us for the interview, and the chance to ask Saar your NFV questions directly!