WiFi Assurance for Stadiums and Venues
In today’s WiFi dominated world, providing a positive user experience (UX) is a requirement for any space that wants a five-star reputation. For stadiums and venues, this isn’t an easy task. In these highly congested spaces, IT departments must design and maintain flexible and scalable network systems that are also reliable and secure.
What Users are Looking For
WiFi users in stadiums and venues include fans, event attendees, event managers, general staff and employees, press, and more. A good UX requires the WiFi network to support:
- Social media access
- Video replay
- Point of sale (PoS) systems
- In-venue video systems
- Security systems
- IoT devices
- Collaboration apps
- And more
Actual network utilization will vary from event to event, but high-density spaces can count on one thing: there will always be a high demand for WiFi from a plethora of devices.
WiFi Challenges Specific to High-Density Spaces
Depending on the size of the venue, there could be anywhere from several hundred to a thousand APs, and tens of thousands of end users – all of which are competing for bandwidth on a limited number of channels. Providing comprehensive wireless coverage means addressing challenges such as:
- Venue/stadium architecture: where will APs be located – high overhead, under seats? Do APs and antennas need to be “disguised” for better aesthetic appeal? How old is the venue? Are there any new additions? Are there a lot of metal doors? Was concrete used as a building material?
- Are legacy WiFi networks in place? Is there interest in eventually bringing on WiFi 6E products?
- How much RF interference is present from co-channel interference, Hotspots, Bluetooth, and other non-WiFi sources?
How to Meet UX Needs
Ultimately – after a successful site survey and network design – what is needed to address these challenges and desires is real-time network management, maintenance, and optimization.
The “real-time” aspect of this requirement means that IT teams need automated support. Without it, there’s no way for human teams to analyze thousands of data packets a second, identify issues in real-time, and resolve issues before users are impacted.
These WiFi automation platforms must provide the following for stadiums and venues to achieve reliable high-density WiFi connectivity:
- Real-time analytics
- Consistent end-user quality testing
- Proactive alerts
- Historical analytics
- Remote troubleshooting
Here’s a look at the details.
Complete Visibility with Real-Time Analytics for Master Control
No WiFi network can be entirely optimized if there is missing data. IT teams need:
- Nonstop visibility into all frequencies, even when end-user quality tests are run
- Data from the entire RF ecosystem, including all infrastructure, connected devices, and applications, as well as nearby sources of WiFi and non-WiFi interference
Visibility must be paired with real-time analytics so that teams have the most up-to-date information and can know what the UX is at any given time. Automation platforms that are powered by artificial intelligence can deliver those analytics as they are able to recognize normal and abnormal network behavior, and analyze network traffic from thousands of devices in real-time.
Consistent Testing for an End User Perspective
Visibility is improved when IT teams have the support of regularly scheduled network tests as this minimizes the chances of any negative network surprises. When those tests are run by a platform that can connect to the network as an end user device, it gives teams an end user perspective into network performance. As UX is of the utmost importance, everyone will benefit from these analytics.
Proactive Alerts for Faster Resolutions
Flawless performance is the name of the game. This means that IT professionals need to be alerted to issues as soon as they occur, rather than waiting for UX complaints. With proactive alerts, teams know exactly when something goes wrong and resolutions can be implemented significantly faster, often before end users are affected.
For the best ROI, work with a platform that includes root cause identification and actionable resolutions with every alert.
Historical Wireless Analytics for Future-Proofing
No matter the venue, WiFi network ecosystems change over time. Infrastructure will degrade, buildings may be renovated, and technologies will be updated. True WiFi assurance – the promise of consistently reliable networks – therefore requires decision makers to have access to long-term health and performance trends.
While IT teams can manually capture and save analytics to create historical graphs, they can also be supported automatically by a platform with this capability. With this support, professionals have access to the data whenever it is needed and can use it to design cost-effective, personalized upgrade/update solutions.
Historical Wireless Analytics for Problem Solving
Another benefit of historical analytics is that IT teams always have access to past metrics and issue alerts, whether they occurred when someone was onsite or not. Teams can easily check-in, download a historical WiFi trace, and review data from the last day, week, or month (depending on the platform). This eliminates the need to wait for intermittent issues to reoccur before resolutions can be implemented, and ensures that teams always have complete network visibility.
Remote Troubleshooting for Reduced Expenses
Stadiums and venues are massive. Every minute that it takes teams to rush from one end to the other to resolve issues, is a minute that the UX suffers. This delay in resolution, an unfortunate fact of life for many organizations, can be compounded when teams also need to set up camp in a busy hallway or VIP room to resolve an issue. These types of situations make IT’s job harder and can negatively impact event attendees.
Then, of course, there are times when IT teams face significant challenges reaching a venue – perhaps a bad traffic situation or inclement weather. If one or more of your experts can’t get onsite, everyone’s workload and resolution times increase.
IT, and venues, need a different option and that’s where platforms with remote troubleshooting come in. With this capability, teams can review network behavior and solve problems from any location at any time. No more rushing across an entire stadium or sitting in traffic before being able to implement resolutions. Pairing this with the previously mentioned ability to download historical WiFi traces, gives teams instant insight into past network behavior so that they always know what is happening whether they are onsite, offsite, traveling, solving a different problem, or fulfilling another critical responsibility.
Faster resolutions and reduced travel save venues money, and restore time and energy to IT teams making this a win-win solution.
Improving Your WiFi Assurance
WiFi network optimization is never finished. Stadiums and venues need solutions that are flexible and scalable if they are to have a competitive advantage and provide excellent connectivity no matter the event. This makes WiFi automation platforms, with their automatic, proactive analytics and insights, a winning choice for all high-density spaces.
Work with the vendor agnostic Wireless Intelligence Platform™ for:
- 90% faster Mean-Times-to-Resolution
- 70% fewer WiFi problem tickets
- 80% fewer remote site visits