July 06, 2011
New large venue focused solutions includes enhanced access point and new antenna technology that aims to deliver wireless access for stadiums.
Cisco is expanding its push to enable stadiums and other large venues to effectively deliver wireless services.
Cisco today announced its Connected Stadium Wi-Fi initiative which includes an enhanced access point, improved antennas and services to help stadiums Wi-Fi enable their venues.
"Once this is generally available in stadiums, arenas and other congested environments, it will enable a new generation of innovation around mobile devices," David Holland, general manager and senior vice president of Sports and Entertainment Solutions Group at Cisco told InternetNews.com. "Fans are demanding a new set of services and with this access to Wi-Fi you'll be able to see app providers and physical service providers deliver a new experience in live venues."
The Cisco Connected Stadium Wi-Fi initiative includes two key hardware components. The Aironet 3500p is an evolution of the Aironet 3500 that was announced last year. The Aironet 3500 includes Cisco's CleanAir technology which analyzes the spectrum for interference in an effort to provide optimized wireless connectivity.
Each 3500p provides connectivity for up to 6 antennas which is where another key point of differentiation comes in. As part of the overall solution Cisco is debuting new high-density directional antennas.
"If you think about all the users in a stadium trying to connect to an access point, they could quickly use up all the available bandwidth," Sylvia Hooks senior manager, wireless marketing at Cisco told InternetNews.com. "If you just put in more access points, they'll be placed too close together creating interference that reduces the performance."
The solution to the problem is the new antenna technology. Hooks explained that the directional antennas deliver a tighter coverage area.
"Rather than using a floodlight to get Wi-Fi out, we're using a flashlight," Hooks said. "So you're blanketing fewer seats with the same throughput, so each person is sharing less and everyone gets a bigger piece of the pie."
The new antennas are 36 degree dual-polarized antennas, which provide more targeted wireless than omnidirectional antennas.
"Dual-polarized refers to the fact that if you're holding your iPhone in a vertical position and you turn in sideways it will work equally well in either position," Hooks said. "Typically if you don't have a dual-polarized antennas you'd loose some connectivity."
The new Connected Stadium initiative is not the first foray for Cisco into Stadium connectivity. Back in 2008, Cisco made a big splash with its connectivity solutions built into the new Yankee Stadium.
Holland noted that the previous deployments were more of the floodlight approach to enabling Wi-Fi.
"Yankee Stadium was in fact the first venue we ever deployed our first offering in this space, called StadiumVision," Holland said. "All the video that runs in Yankee Stadium is driven off that platform."
Holland explained that Connected Stadium is about extending the content capability and making it available to even more mobile device and screens.
Anyone can claim they do wireless site surveys, including those that walk around using free utilities that check for basic signal strength, without any training or understanding of how wireless works. That may be fine if you only need basic Internet connectivity, but if your network supports mission-critical applications, you need a professional-grade solution.
Our methodologies are what differentiate us from our competition. We start with the belief that combining the best tools and training with years of experience leads to the best wireless solutions available. Our formula for success includes the following:
Expert Certified Personnel
We start with a commitment to having the best trained personnel possible. We only employ or contract with Certified Wireless Network Professionals (CWNP).
We are proud to be a member of the prestigious CWNE roundtable, an exclusive committee of wireless experts dedicated to developing the highest level and most respect vendor-neutral certification in the wireless industry, as well as writing technical whitepapers.
Predictive models, also known as virtual site surveys allow us to efficiently and accurately identify the number of access points required, as well as their initial placement and configuration. Modeling is ideal for creating "what if" scenarios that show us the effects of changes in real time. Our designs always start with a model which we then validate.
RF Spectrum Analysis
Because wireless networks operate in unlicensed frequencies, potential interference from numerous devices such as microwaves, cordless phones, Bluetooth devices, video cameras, etc. can have a significant negative impact. RF spectrum analyzers are the only devices that can identify physical-layer interference, and no onsite wireless site survey is complete without this service.
Onsite Site Surveys / Validation
When the highest degree of accuracy is required for your mission-critical applications, there is no substitute for a professional-grade manual site survey.
Our surveys start with temporarily mounting the same access points and antennas that will be permanently installed. We then use professional-grade software to test not only for signal strength, but Signal-to-Noise ratio (SNR) to test the signal's viability, interference and data rates. Our thorough approach is the most accurate solution available.
Our reports spell out the facts, and leave no doubt in the customer's mind as to what the wireless network does or will look like.