Wi-Fi® Networks in Stadiums Face Challenges

Published on September 11, 2012

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Gillette® Stadium, the home of the New England Patriots, is one of many sports stadiums getting press for attempting to supply all fans with Wi-Fi® connections. An increasing percentage of fans want to use Wi-Fi to connect to the Internet from smartphones and tablets so that they can post updates on social networks, access Web sites such as the NFL Red Zone, and send videos wirelessly. The Wi-Fi network at Gillette Stadium consists of 200 indoor and outdoor 802.11n access points.

In addition to serving fans, a stadium’s Wi-Fi network also can provide bandwidth to business vendors in the stadium and business devices, such as handheld ticket scanners, that are used by stadium employees. But business devices have different requirements than personal devices.  For example, when business devices perform point-of-sale (PoS) transactions, they need reliable connectivity and strong security to protect fans’ personal information.  The connectivity and security capabilities of consumer-grade Wi-Fi radios often is insufficient to satisfy the requirements of business devices.

Summit Wi-Fi modules from Laird Technologies® are embedded in ticket scanners and PoS machines used in a growing number of stadiums. Even when thousands of personal devices are using Wi-Fi, Summit radios can establish and maintain reliable Wi-Fi connections with enterprise-grade security.