Connectivity for the Tribal Gaming Industry

When a large tribal nation looked to invest in upgrading their network, they deliberately searched for a telecommunications engineering innovator. And that is exactly what they found in M S Benbow. Applying vast experience connecting large public venues and deploying the latest digital technologies for tech-savvy consumers, MSB brought their A-game.

MSB designed and executed a massive wireless network expansion with a combined Wi-Fi capacity of more than 130,000 users at the three casinos. Building on its relationships from previous marque entertainment complex projects, MSB partnered with Tier 1 technology company Aruba, a partner that has deployed high-density wireless networks and wayfinding systems for leading-edge facilities such as Chase Center, Vivint Smart Home Arena, and Saratoga Racecourse. Better still, this new state-of-the-art infrastructure project delivered on all three of the Choctaw Nation’s desired outcomes: quality, cost, and performance.

At the gaming property, MSB designed and deployed a BLE beacon pathway incorporating some 350 beacons throughout the gaming floor, shops and restaurants, as well as adjacent hotel towers. The new wayfinding system now provides guests with seamless location services to navigate the entire resort property and frees up employees’ time by directing customers throughout the sprawling facility.

MSB’s high-performance, high-density wireless network and location services system delivers leading-edge solutions for this tribal nation’s gaming properties, including:

  • High-density Wi-Fi capacity to allow over 130,000 concurrent visitors across three separate properties
  • Wayfinding technology that integrates emerging technologies to leverage Bluetooth architecture and provide location services on the gaming floor and resort towers
  • 1,590 Wi-Fi access points across three facilities, including a 3,000-seat theater

This project provided a unique set of challenges. Namely, all three projects were to be completed in the fast-paced, 24/7 world of casino operations. There was also the not-so-small obstacle of COVID-19 and social-distancing requirements.

The meticulous delivery and utter success of this leading-edge wireless network and BLE system have helped establish an ongoing relationship between MSB and the tribal market. Along these lines, MSB has since been awarded a Wi-Fi network deployment project for the world-class, $500 million expansion of a leading tribal nation gaming facility that will add 1,000 guest rooms, more than doubling the number of rooms in the process. The project also expects to increase the gaming floor by 80%. Upon completion in 2021, this will be the largest casino in the world and its Wi-Fi network will be twice its current capacity with the ability to serve 128,000 guests simultaneously.

Services Provided:

  • RF & Network Design
  • Technology Consulting
  • Wi-Fi Network Design & Engineering
  • Hardware Procurement
  • Project Management
  • Construction Management
  • Beacon Network Integration
  • PCP Server, DNS, and Firewall Configuration
  • Testing, Optimization & Commissioning
  • System Maintenance

 

Broadband Connectivity for Tribal Nations

It can be difficult for rural communities to find doctors and staff to serve their residents. This tribal nation provides housing to attract and retain competent provider staff, however, the residential neighborhood has only spotty satellite internet service. Native families living on remote reservations often rely on community libraries, schools, clinics, and tribal offices as sometimes their only source of a WI-FI signal, and many homes are located miles from the nearest access point.

Their main medical facility is the hub of healthcare services, covering the entire nation. MSB worked with the facility’s Chief Information Officer (CIO) and IT Director to modernize and improve the nation’s existing wireless internet network by leveraging existing telecommunications assets. The nation had built a wireless ISP fiber backhaul at the healthcare center and attempted to provide internet through three communication towers a few miles from the center, but achieved connectivity delivering only approximately 1 MG per second.

MSB focused its solution on adopting the most efficient and cost-effective means of connecting the healthcare provider housing to the hospital’s WISP. MSB assessed the existing communications towers and determined that grounding and power were deficient, and the cabinets suffered frequent failures due to the lack of air conditioning. MSB supported the nation’s grant application to capitalize on available pandemic recovery grant money to fund tower upgrades. The improvements would make the towers more resilient by replacing nodes, grounding and switching, installing air-conditioned cabinets, and an upgraded power supply to the towers. MSB also performed commissioning and startup of the network and will provide ongoing technical support and monitoring to ensure reliable connectivity.

Services Provided:

  • Engineering Assessment & Cost Analysis
  • Value & Consulting Engineering
  • Schedule & Budget Development
  • Grant Application Support
  • Tower Assessment & Upgrades
  • Hardware Research & Selection
  • Network Build & Integration
  • Permitting & Negotiations
  • Construction Management
  • Commissioning & Startup
  • As-Built Documentation
  • Ongoing System Maintenance & Support

James Madison University Atlantic Union Bank Center

The Atlantic Union Bank Center, which opened in fall 2020, ushers in a new era of JMU basketball, women’s indoor sports and numerous other university and community events, such as commencement, concerts, trade shows and more. To meet the high-speed needs of students and fans, the university had planned for a commercial ISP to support the arena’s Wi-Fi network, but the price came in substantially over budget. That’s when MSB put the pedal to the metal and found a more economical way to serve the high-capacity needs of the venue.

MSB originally searched for a way to tie the arena to the wireless network on campus but found this solution would put a strain on the IT staff and could potentially create issues with campus network security. Instead, MSB reached out to Apogee, the managed services technology partner currently providing internet ISP and cable television to JMU’s dormitories. The MSB and Apogee teams discovered Apogee’s backhaul could connect its server across the campus via fiber cabling, enabling the university to deploy sophisticated infrastructure while minimizing costs and complexity.

MSB spent an extensive period of time engineering a network design to fit the university’s budget and achieve its objective of reliable, first-class wireless coverage for students and public guests of the new arena. In the process of identifying a solution, updating the contract and negotiating the network expansion with Apogee, MSB determined that JMU could upgrade their planned Wi-Fi 5 network to next-generation Wi-Fi 6 design, future-proofing the arena’s Wi-Fi network for the same cost called for in the contract. As a result, the Wi-Fi system is now able to achieve greater coverage and faster speed for streaming video, voice calls, internet, and wireless ticketing.

The process put their project two to three months behind schedule, but opening day didn’t change. MSB completed the entire network installation, from build out to commissioning, in just under two months to meet the contract deadline.

MSB provided drafting and design, technical consulting, vendor coordination, project controls and construction, and project management for the project. MSB will be on site supporting seamless Wi-Fi coverage when fans step into their brand-new arena at full capacity and will provide ongoing maintenance and technical support to continue to achieve seamless coverage to meet their wireless demands.

World-Class Theme Park

Guests don’t seek out attractions with fast wireless speeds, but it’s the backbone of an engaging environment an unforgettable customer experience, nonetheless. Next to a park pass and credit card, nearly every visitor has a smartphone or wearable device. Social media is redefining the guest experience. As the demands for bandwidth and coverage continue to expand, reliable wireless is tantamount to delivering the highest level of hospitality.

With its experience designing high density, high-performance wireless networks at large venues such as stadiums, arenas and convention centers, M S Benbow & Associates was up for the challenge of delivering fully redundant coverage available anywhere on the park’s property.

MSB has deep expertise and technological know-how designing masterful custom-built wireless networks for some of the most high-profile large public venues in the United States. In 2019, MSB teamed with Aruba, a Hewlett Packard Enterprise company, to deliver a future-proofed WLAN for Silicon Valley’s new technological powerhouse arena, the $1.4 billion Chase Center.

Just as much care was taken when preparing a large-scale fully redundant wireless network that would provide 100% coverage for guests of a major U.S. theme park. Partnering again with Aruba, the system is supported by the property’s robust network infrastructure which features a new Cisco switching backbone. The Wi-Fi network deploys thousands of Aruba access points to provide tertiary coverage so park-goers are within reach of three access points at anytime, anywhere on the property.

The state-of-the-art network will not only provide seamless connectivity. Special care was given to ensuring guests will experience coverage without ever laying eyes on the robust, wireless infrastructure that delivers the signals. MSB consulted with architects and artists on location of access points and selection of materials that could shield the hardware without interrupting RF signal in order to minimize visual impact of antennas and other wireless infrastructure to maintain the park’s aesthetics and artist’s intent for the guest experience.

San Mateo County

MSB and Kaizen Technology collaborated with county planners to design a high-tech rural broadband grant application package to fund infrastructure for residential areas, a community center, and drive-up internet cafés serving as Wi-Fi hotspots.

Engineering Solutions to Bridge the Digital Divide

Municipalities need professional guidance and expertise to seek out resources and technology to create a pathway to ensuring wireless connectivity to communities both remote and rural and urban yet isolated. Causes contributing to a lack of internet access vary by community and require diverse solutions.

MSB’s rural broadband grant application services included technical engineering, wireless network conceptual design, planning, vendor coordination, and hardware selection to meet the grant requirements. The network solution incorporates a combination of low earth orbit (LEO) satellites for internet backhaul and last mile broadcasts utilizing CBRS and Wi-Fi frequency spectra.

“Our client’s grant application required a solution design and schematic from a licensed engineer. MSB’s experience designing internet access solutions for hard-to-reach areas was a key selling point. The team at MSB was collaborative and responsive to the requirements and tight deadlines. We look forward to working with them on more projects in the future.” – Dao Jensen, CEO Kaizen Technology Partners

The deployment of this broadband solution will ensure reliable, high speed internet connectivity for residents in the mostly rough, mountainous terrain of San Mateo County. In this economically challenged area, the network will establish a lifeline for public safety communications and serve as a catalyst for economic opportunity by facilitating civic engagement, furthering educational attainment and creating jobs.`

Liberty University

Liberty is the largest university in Virginia and has a record of being tech-forward and implementing one of the most progressive on-campus Wi-Fi and mobile strategies in education today.  Already staffed with a sophisticated IT department, Liberty chose to hire the M S Benbow team for their deep and broad experience in implementing Aruba HD Wi-Fi networks in large public venues that must support massive event-day peaks in demand.

MSB was responsible for designing a cutting-edge converged wireless network that provided a rich and engaging fan experience for the larger crowds now expected at the Liberty Flames football games.  This massive design and build project was completed in less than a year and features:

  • High-definition streaming video and Wi-Fi calling for 25,000 spectators.
  • Future expansion and deployments such as location-based services to further enhance the fan experience.
  • Planned integration of all 11 of the university’s large public venues, including baseball and softball fields, an indoor track, and a natatorium.

The move to Division I football represented a heightened opportunity for Liberty University: high performance, high risk, high visibility and high payoff.  In developing this high-technology venue, Liberty ignited their sports fans, empowered their students, and positioned Williams Stadium as a sought-after venue for events of all kinds.  Using sophisticated technology as a brand differentiator in the 21st century is a winning strategy in Division 1 and beyond!

TechTalk: How WeConnect Fans, Teams, Owners and Venues.

MSB responded to Liberty’s need for blazing speed and network upgrades. MSB created a system that was efficient to construct and adaptive to future technologies.  A perfect and innovative example is the 624 under-seat wireless access points that deliver a distributed, strong Wi-Fi signal throughout Williams Stadium while remaining virtually invisible to fans and students.  MSB’s design also accounted for the University’s investment in existing infrastructure, seamlessly integrating and leveraging legacy systems and investments. Project management was a critical component to the project’s success in tandem with hardware integration testing, commissioning, and optimization.

World-Class Natatorium

Building on a legacy of Olympians, world records and national titles, our client university recently built a 40,000-sf state-of-the-sport aquatic center with an Olympic-size pool, class rooms, locker rooms and seating for 800 spectators.  To capture the lead in both athletic performance and recruitment, the institution engaged M S Benbow to design and build a seamless, high speed, integrated HD Wi-Fi and network solution. MSB’s solution that was both fan-facing and coach-facing: driving fan engagement and athletic success with the best and fastest network technology available.

The unique Wi-Fi application to underwater and above water cameras is a win-win for coaches, student athletes, spectators and the University.  Coaches can eliminate the guess-work involved in understanding what might keep a good swimmer from being a great one.  Student-athletes are particularly attracted to the promise of technology to improve their performance.  Spectators enjoy the same excellent Wi-Fi speeds that they do elsewhere on campus, making it all the easier for them to engage on social media and with university sponsored promotions and offerings.

Technology-assisted performance evaluation is particularly powerful in the highly competitive world of recruitment, and coupled with their impressive winning record, our client has the lead in attracting the country’s top swimming candidates.

“We listened closely to understand what our client was trying to achieve for students, fans and staff.   We then converged those needs into holistic wireless design that delighted fans and empowered coaches, teachers and athletes to connect and excel.” – Ken Wright

Chase Center

Chase Center currently boasts an 18,064-seat sports and entertainment arena, 100,000 square feet of retail and food and beverage space, and 580,000 square feet of office space in two buildings.

Designed and built by M S Benbow leveraging technology from Aruba, a Hewlett Packard Enterprise company, the converged network represents a new standard of excellence for both arena visitors and owners/operators. But MSB didn’t just build today’s state-of-the-art network: Chase Center is designed to anticipate and integrate new emerging technologies. Here are just a few innovations involved in creating this cutting-edge, high-performance, high-density wireless and converged network:

  • Nation’s first arena under-seat antenna deployment, which enables the highest density of capacity in network architecture while greatly streamlining maintenance
  • Wayfinding technology that leverages Bluetooth architecture that engages visitors from the moment they arrive for an optimal experience
  • Kiosk ordering for concession areas to boost sales and reduce customer wait times
  • Top-of-the-line security allowing coaches and players to communicate without interference
  • Support for sophisticated location-aware marketing strategies
  • Broad-based suite of network services to support building operations, from sound and lighting control, to A/C and physical security.

Technology experts would marvel at the complexity of this converged network solution and its elegant integration of core networks, switches and routers, firewalls, and extremely diverse hardware and appliances. The bigger story is how this synchronized network removes the distance between Chase Center’s owners and visitors – allowing for a seamless exchange of value in this extraordinary and beautiful new San Francisco landmark.

The timeline on the implementation phase of the project – 6 months from start to completion – posed almost as big a challenge as the technology. The opening weekend the San Francisco Symphony and Metallica were set to entertain 18,000 fans at the Chase Center’s inaugural event, and in fact, the show did go on!

TechTalk:  How We Connect Fans, Teams, Owners and Venues

Our goal was the deployment of a best-in-class high density wireless network with a robust, converged wired network at the largest and most complex venue technology project of its kind in scope, size and network capability. MSB provided engineering, project management, construction and programming services for the fully integrated converged network system providing seamless connectivity to Golden State Warriors and Chase Center guests. In addition, MSB interfaced with more than 30 different stakeholders from the Architects to General Contractors.

The network hosts a 20-GB fiber-linked network providing enough bandwidth to support high-volume multi-media guest experiences and location services throughout the venue and surrounding 11-acre district.

MSB’s innovative design solution for the converged network system included using 1,728-strand fibers to maximize capability and support new technologies including approximately 750 upcoming Wi-Fi 6 access points (APs) and 280 switches. In all, the network infrastructure boasts 600 miles of fiber optic cable for the network backbone, 300 miles of copper cable and 30 network closets to support all systems and applications requiring IP data connectivity, including Voice over IP (VoIP)-enabled wireless, cellular DAS, HD streaming and audio operations.

Services Provided

  • RF & Network Design
  • Technology Consulting
  • UPS Power System Design and Implementation
  • MDF / IDF Equipment Layouts
  • Project Management
  • Construction Management
  • Network Integration Services for all Building Operations & Vendor Sub-systems
  • RF Tune / Optimization
  • Network Redundancy / Fall-Over Testing
  • Live Event Support
  • Remote Event Support
  • Remote Network Monitoring
  • System Maintenance