Paycor Stadium Delivers Record-Breaking Wi-Fi for Fans
When NFL Commissioner Pete Rozelle reimagined how fans had access to and watched football across the country in the early 1960s, he used the technology of television. Needless to say, the way fans consume their favorite major football team each week has evolved, but Pete Rozelle’s goal for the NFL has not – “Serve current NFL fans and build new ones by reaching as many people as possible.” Brian Rolapp, NFL Chief Media and Business Officer
To continue with that objective, the NFL and team owners are reimagining their stadiums into world-class technology hubs. M S Benbow & Associates (MSB) is leading the way with their Wi-Fi network design and implementation services in some of these uniquely structured venues, with record-breaking results.
From watching instant replays on their phones, engaging in social media, checking the status of other games, or even ordering food from their seats, fans expect to stay connected while watching their favorite team. To provide this level of fan experience, the Bengals engaged altafiber and CBTS to engineer and build a fiber-enabled Wi-Fi network that supports the growing connectivity demand of fans. However, the unique architecture of the stadium presented challenges in handling massive amounts of bandwidth necessary for the high number of concurrent users.
ENTER M S BENBOW
Large public venues (LPV) provide unique challenges in engineering. CBTS engaged MSB, a long-time partner, to design and implement both the LAN and Wi-Fi networks within the venue. MSB also managed the construction and commissioning of the HPE Aruba Networking Wi-Fi 6 MU-MIMO-enabled access points, which were chosen for their seamless connectivity in LPVs. The new design included more than 1,600 access points, including 1,100 deployed in the stadium seating bowl.
To support the new access points within Paycor Stadium, the Bengals deployed a 40GbE network core that delivers the fastest Internet speeds possible for fans. Post implementation, CBTS and MSB provided game-day support to ensure the system worked as designed, ensuring customer expectations were delivered.
In addition, Palo Alto Networks firewalls provided predictable throughput for the high volume of traffic while protecting the Wi-Fi infrastructure.
Paycor Stadium now delivers a world-class Wi-Fi network that allows fans to engage and connect in record-breaking numbers. Take a look:
- A 76% increase in unique device connections per game.
- A 436% increase in maximum data rate, with average peak data rates reaching 10.7Gbps.
- A 230% increase in data volume per game averaging 8.5TB transferred per game, with 12.8TB transferred during Sunday’s playoff game.
- Playoff game traffic soared to 22.3Gbps, breaking the NFL’s previous record of 20.7Gbps.
“Paycor Stadium delivers a world-class Wi-Fi network that fans are using to the fullest extent. [The] record numbers and the growth we’ve seen all season emphasize the Bengals’ commitment to ensure everyone in the stadium has access to high-quality, fast and reliable internet using the latest Wi-Fi technology.” Elizabeth Blackburn, Bengals Director of Strategy and Engagement, “Paycor Stadium Sets Wi-Fi Record During Bengals Playoff Game” Cincinnati Bengals News
Portions of this article were first published, March 24, 2023, on cbts.com. “Cincinnati Bengals contract with CBTS for stadium wireless implementation”