Everest Networks provides best-in-class Wi-Fi solutions powered by the Everest platform of access points (AP), ideally suited for sports and entertainment high density (HD) venues. Our versatile APs are a perfect fit for dissimilarly large venues because they accommodate a variety of deployment solutions ranging from building structure and catwalk installations up to 300’, under-seat installations, indoors or outdoors, and even permanent or temporary, in a simple, fast, and efficient manner. Deployed and demonstrated in Tier-1 stadiums, arenas, race tracks, and outdoor festivals, Everest solutions offer higher network capacity, faster throughput, and lower TCO than others.
The Everest Wi-Fi platform features a leading-edge proprietary high-density antenna-radio architecture integrating multiple radios as well as software-defined radio coverage for radio resource management. In conjunction, Everest Networks’ WLAN’s are managed using WMS, a fully-featured controller and wireless management system designed with speed, simplicity, and efficiency in mind.
In the following, we will review the requirements and current HD solutions for stadiums and arenas, and their deficiencies. We will then introduce in more details Everest Networks’ Wi-Fi solution for stadiums and arenas and describe why it is an industry leader.
Today’s wireless users expect Wi-Fi connectivity everywhere they go accelerating Wi-Fi’s popularity. This requirement is particularly important in large venues such as stadiums and arenas where today’s fan has high expectations of Wi-Fi being available, robust, reliable and fast to web-surf, video-stream, content-share, and cloud-upload. Venues are looking for Wi-Fi solutions with opposing expectations of providing the expected capacity and coverage while offering the lowest TCO.
Today’s HD Wi-Fi solutions can be grouped into three categories based on mounting: 1) over-head 2) in-crowd (under-seat and in-rail), and 3) a combination of over- head and in-crowd. For HD venues, there has been a trend toward in-crowd solutions caused by fundamental deficiencies in today’s over-head solutions. Examining a typical seating section in a large venue, such as a stadium for example, reveals that the most challenging sections, encompass around 900 seats, with lengths of around 90-100’. With at least one device every 4 ft2, the sheer number of closely-spaced devices in a single seating section becomes excessively large. Turning our attention to the current over-head Wi-Fi solutions, we find that most employ sub-optimal APs and antennas. Firstly, the APs are enterprise-grade with a typical user count 30-75 before performance degradation. With almost 900 seats per seating section, it doesn’t take many users to completely overwhelm a few of these APs and thus fail to provide the required capacity. Secondly, the directional antennas utilized are generic antennas and do not offer the level of advancement and flexibility required to provide adequate coverage for various-sized and demanding sections. Finally, the APs and antennas employ external connectors, requiring additional cabling, resulting in signal loss and multiple failure points. For these reasons, over-head mounting fails to meet the expectations of stadiums and arenas deployments.
To address these problems, solution providers shifted deployments from over-head to in-crowd, including underseat. Indeed, moving APs closer to users and limiting cell sizes to an average of 50 users apparently does solve the above-mentioned deficiencies, where enterprise-grade APs are now adequately employed while the need for directional antennas is partially eliminated due the APs proximity to users. It is noted that although there are RF-based advantages to using under-seat APs, the reality is different and current under-seat solutions still fail to meet expectations(1).
Thirdly, not only are large amounts of long cables required to connect the APs to the network, but these cables are encased in conduits necessitating additional infrastructure rework and changes. When all is said and done, the TCO for such a solution becomes abhorrently high.
Current HD solutions do not adequately meet the HD capacity and low TCO needs in stadiums and arenas. Everest Networks conceived a true HD solution addressing the above-mentioned problems to provide simultaneous capacity and coverage with a low TCO. Our HD solutions leverage the Everest Wi-Fi platform designed and built from the ground up to meet the needs of today’s large venues. This platform is composed of patented APs with a proprietary software-defined radio coverage delivering an unparalleled level of coverage flexibility.
Innovations are found at the core of our APs from the inside out. Firstly, to satisfy the capacity requirements, multiple radios are embedded within each AP absorbing 2-3 times as many devices as an enterprise-grade AP. Furthermore, the radios can operate independently and concurrently providing a tremendous amount of throughput specially under heavy traffic demand during half-time shows or main concert acts. Secondly, our software- driven coverage provides antenna beam reconfigurability to direct energy onto specific narrow areas while simultaneously rejecting signals from other areas enabling macro-level radio coverage zone control and interference management. In this manner and for an industry first, our APs provide flexible coverage options at farther distances to multi-sized seating sections. Thirdly, our APs are fully integrated into one IP-67 enclosure with no external cables and connectors, reducing potential failure points and simplifying installations.
The above-mentioned combinations of unique benefits of high capacity, flexible coverage, in a weather-sealed box allow our APs to be mounted over-head on structure or precast. Contrary to current under-seat solutions blanketing venues, ours requires little infrastructure changes, less cabling and conduit usage, and no additional external enclosures leading to the lowest TCO in the industry.
The Everest Wi-Fi solution benefits have been showcased and validated in several deployments. In Lincoln Financial Field, home of the 2018 NFL champions Philadelphia Eagles, Everest provided a Wi-Fi solution featuring a total of 200 bowl-facing APs, fully installed and operational in less than 2 months, at significantly lower TCO than other solutions, and delivering best performance(2). Similar benefits were achieved in other venues such as the BB&T center arena(3), and temporary deployments in race track grand stands and outdoor festivals, just to name a few. Furthermore, rigorous controlled tests have shown Everest Wi-Fi APs outperforming industry-leading APs by a factor of three to four(4).
Large venues are now required to provide solid Wi-Fi connectivity to venue-goers as a way to not only enhance their experience but to also keep their fans engaged and entertained for the duration of the event. To enable such an endeavor in these HD environments requires an HD solution able to simultaneously provide capacity and coverage throughout the venue with a low TCO. Everest Networks provides a true HD Wi-Fi solution built from the ground up to address these exact challenges and provide large venues the networks of the future.
(2) Wi-Fi of Champions: Stadium Case Study
(3) Roaring Wi-Fi: Arena Case Study
(4) Miercom Report, 2016