The Carolina Panthers have installed a new Aruba Gigabit wi-fi network to bring fans an improved, connected stadium experience and streamline operations for stadium vendors.
With fans bringing an increasing number of mobile devices into Bank of America stadium, the Panthers’ organisation recognised that their network needed an overhaul.
“Our existing network couldn’t keep up with our fans’ needs nor the density requirements we had,” said James Hammond, director of information technology for the Carolina Panthers. “We know the in-stadium experience has to surpass at-home game-watching for fans to continue coming to games. It was clear that we needed an infrastructure upgrade in order to deliver the kind of connected stadium experience fans expect.”
In addition, the stadium’s vendors, who rely on the network for their operations, also needed more wi-fi coverage and bandwidth, and were eager to see connectivity improvements.
The new network includes more than 1,220 access points, AirWave network management to optimize network performance, and a ClearPass Policy Manager to securely authenticate mobile devices. It has come into its own during the first three home games of the season. Over 20,000 unique devices/users per game have connected to the network, with traffic hitting a total peak of more than 3 Gbps, with additional capacity to support well over 20 Gbps.
The next step for the Panthers is to update their mobile app with new features to enhance the fan experience. They are also planning to deploy Aruba’s Mobile Engagement Solution with Aruba Beacons to provide in-stadium location services. With the beacons in place, the mobile app will allow fans to receive proximity-based notifications, as well as quickly locate find their way to the nearest food vendors, bathrooms and other stadium amenities.