As the University of Mississippi continued its substantial growth, it knew that an updated wireless solution would be needed to meet its current and future demands.
Crowds were getting bigger at two of the most highly trafficked areas—the Rebel football stadium and a nearby tailgating spot called The Grove. With wireless usage skyrocketing, it was clear that the current infrastructure would not be able to keep up with the expectations of students, faculty, and the many die-hard Rebel fans in the community. Crown Castle was brought in to provide a solution that would satisfy the needs of the many stakeholders.
The stadium and The Grove were being covered by just a couple of nearby towers and rooftop installations. But as attendance at games started regularly reaching over 60,000, in addition to the 20,000+ students already on campus, the current infrastructure proved to be inadequate. The university needed new wireless infrastructure, and installing it came with some challenges:
- With the rise of smartphones and social media, the solution had to be capable of handling increasing data consumption during games.
- In a stadium built long before wireless technology was on anyone’s radar, finding places to install equipment was difficult.
- The installation process couldn’t interfere with normal stadium use during the season.
- The new solution needed to preserve the beauty and history of the campus, including The Grove.
It was clear from the beginning that the solution would have to involve small cells—a newer technology that provides pinpoint coverage and capacity by using small, inconspicuous nodes placed closely together.
Small cell solutions (SCS) are a necessity when serving large influxes of crowds in and around stadiums and campuses. We strategically placed nodes throughout the stadium and utilized existing infrastructure to run fiber optic cables. The university contractors we hired were indispensable, as they knew the facilities well and were able to get the job done quickly without interrupting normal use. For The Grove, we installed custom light poles that accommodated our nodes while blending in with the existing aesthetics. Using fiber ensures that future capacity upgrades will be as simple as swapping out equipment.
Overall, the installation has been a big win for the university, football fans, and the many students who study and congregate in and around the stadium throughout the year. The improved coverage also provides easier access to emergency services, bringing with it greater peace of mind for everyone. Since Crown Castle owns the system, multiple carriers can take advantage of it without installing redundant infrastructure. And the university has been able to use it to extend campus wi-fi.
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