Sports stadiums are implementing large-scale wireless LANs like crazy. The strategies and challenges of stadium WiFi can apply to enterprise WLANs, too.
Stadium Wi-Fi is becoming quite the headline maker of late, with one pro sports venue after another announcing its new fan-facing wireless service. It turns out that there is much more to the story than just a big signal and flashy apps, and that stadium wireless isn’t all that much different from business Wi-Fi. Both environments face WLAN issues such as complexity, nuisance devices and challenges in accommodating unique wireless devices.
Whether the setting is a stadium or an office complex, there’s seldom a single wireless network. Stadiums tend to have dedicated WLANs for ticket systems, business operations, and possibly even security. Each is its own line diagram, and other than radio coexistence, these WLANs have little to do with the fan-facing WLAN. A typical business may have a separate WLAN for any number of departments, plus a guest SSID for visitors.
In both environments, “the wireless network” is actually several independent logical topologies with their own security make-up and value in terms of operational importance. Any company, like any stadium, has to wrestle with policy, IP address space, skillsets, and the occasional crisis.
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