IT pros from Boston's professional teams -- the Patriots, Celtics, Bruins and Red Sox -- met at Gillette Stadium to talk tech, the future of live sports, and how to deliver real-time, high-definition video to a crowd of 70,000.
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Enterasys installed the Gillette Stadium WLAN backbone in 30 days to cover the entire 1.9 million square-foot facility.
The system comprises about 360 3610/3660 access points in the stadium and about the same number of antennas; 34 repeaters; 42 C-Series switches, each with a 10-Gbps connection back to one of five Core S-Series routers/switches; six 5110 wireless controllers with 10 Gbps fiber uplinks; and 15 NAC virtual servers. Each radio is spec'd to support HD video on 100 mobile clients.
The plan is that about 40% of fans can run rich media at any given time, with 100% having access for texting and social networking. Patriots VP of content Fred Kirsch said he plans for a 756k per-fan cap, with 350 GB of data per game running through the system. Enterasys' OneFabric is used for management, and the mobile identity and access management system lets the team ensure security. Kirsch said Payment Card Industry (PCI) compliance for fans buying concessions or other transactions is "a huge priority."
Patriots' president Jonathan Kraft said the organization vetted other WLAN systems (that shall remain nameless) but found the vendors would not guarantee the fan experience the team was looking for.
Uptake by fans hasn't been without glitches. At one point, the Pats recruited athletes from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology to roam the stands and help people offload from the strained 3G cellular networks. (And yes, MIT has sports teams.)
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