Finally! Great Wi-Fi at Big Events

July 6, 2011 - 0 Comments

Today, you may be able to walk into in a convention hall, or university classroom, or baseball park and connect your mobile device.  Maybe.  But you’re likely competing for that connection with all the people around you.   Can you join an online conversation while attending  a large class at school?  Can you view a live stream of the keynote address while sitting in a convention hall, or see the homerun hit while in line at the beer stand?

Today, chances are the answer is no.  But that’s changing.

The reason that the answer is no, today, is that you’re sharing a finite cellular or Wi-Fi connection with all your fellow consumers in that train, convention or stadium.  If you’ve got 50,000 fans, and off-the-shelf access points with “floodlight-like” unidirectional coverage areas, you’re likely sharing your one AP with 1000 other people!  And if you simply put more of those APs in, the overlapping airwaves would all be competing for the same limited number of Wi-Fi channels.  And when that happens, performance gets much, much worse.

But luckily, Cisco is announcing a brand new solution that addresses this issue, called Cisco Connected Stadium Wi-Fi, and it’s debuting in the Sporting Kansas City stadium.  We’ve got the new Aironet 3500p access point with a very special antenna with a directional, “spotlight-like” coverage pattern.  This means each AP has minimal interference with the AP next to it, and is shared by fewer fans.  Everyone gets a bigger piece of the pie – and therefore more predictable levels of performance to run cool new video apps.  Translation:  twice as much video-viewing, iPad-carrying  performance for you and me!

If that weren’t enough, the solution has CleanAir technology can detect and avoid other interference in the area, coming from not just other access points, but the microwave ovens in the food court, Bluetooth headsets being worn by cell phone users, and walkie talkies the security guys are holding.  Again, this is crucial because RF interference causes wireless performance to degrade, making it difficult for each of us to connect our gadgets and access whatever it is we’re accessing on the network.

So that’s two kick-ass interference avoidance technologies:  industry’s only specially designed wireless system with a 36 degree antenna to pack APs into a small area; and the industry’s best  interference-handling technology to protect performance from unruly interruptions.  And I don’t mean hockey fans.

Read more in our white paper on stadium Wi-Fi challenges or visit the Cisco Sports & Entertainment blog.

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