The Glendale Sports & Entertainment District is a multipurpose facility that is regularly used for NHL hockey games, college football, and big-name entertainment. The Glendale Sports & Entertainment District is the annual host of the VIZIO Fiesta Bowl, and will be home to the 2016 College Football National Championship Game, and the 2017 NCAA Final Four Championship. When it was announced that they would be hosting the Big Game in 2015, they knew they had to get ready.
With fans increasingly wanting to tweet, text, and send photos and videos from the game, wireless data demand was expected to reach unprecedented levels. Our solution with different types of indoor and outdoor wireless infrastructures were developed to provide an enhanced fan experience for the Big Game and all other events at the Glendale Sports & Entertainment District.
From media to tailgaters to fans, the Glendale Sports & Entertainment District was expecting upwards of 150,000 visitors who were predicted to consume 4 terabytes of data directly before, during, and after the Big Game. Preparing for this unprecedented demand was essential, but presented several challenges:
- The Big Game is an event unlike any other in the US, with the largest concentration of wireless users outside of the Olympics.
- The complex consists of 5 distinct venues that will all be used for various needs during the Big Game: The University of Phoenix Stadium, the massive parking lot tailgate area, Gila River Arena, Westgate Entertainment District promenade, and the Renaissance Glendale Hotel & Spa.
- The needs of each venue varied—sometimes drastically. The number of occupants, indoor vs. outdoor coverage needs, the relationship to nearby towers—each had to be considered individually.
- Concerts, conferences, regular season football and hockey games—none of these ongoing events could be disrupted for the installation.
Due to the sheer wireless data capacity required to host an event like the Big Game, a fiber optic foundation was the only viable option. After installing the fiber network, we deployed a series of both indoor and outdoor small cell solution (SCS) networks—being careful to integrate them with the existing macro towers and rooftop installations. We placed hundreds of nodes across the stadium, arena, hotel, parking lot, and entertainment district. Each node was strategically placed to provide overlapping areas of coverage—resulting in higher bandwidth for more fans in a given area.
The Big Game was, of course, the driving motivator for the upgrade, but we built the network with the future in mind. By using a neutral host infrastructure, we made it easy for additional wireless carriers to be accommodated without having to install separate systems. And, with the nearly limitless capacity of fiber, we ensured that the stadium and surrounding venues will continue to be served well beyond the Big Game.
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