SUNNYVALE, Calif.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Aruba, a Hewlett Packard Enterprise company (NYSE: HPE), today announced that 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’ organization recognized 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.”
Hammond noted that 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.
As part of the organization’s motto of “Committed to Excellence”, the Panthers undertook a three-phase upgrade plan. The first piece of the plan was completed last off-season when the Panthers rebuilt their DAS system to provide better cellular coverage in the stadium. Part two of the plan was the Wi-Fi upgrade for which the Panthers evaluated Ruckus, Cisco, and Extreme before choosing Aruba. Working with partner AmpThink for the deployment, the Panthers installed over 1,220 Aruba 802.11ac access points in a stadium-tested, under-the-seat deployment and Aruba Mobility Controllers. They also implemented AirWave network management to optimize network performance and quickly resolve any connectivity issues, as well as the ClearPass Policy Manager for securely authenticating mobile devices. ClearPass also delivers the PCI compliance required for stadium vendors and their many PoS and IoT mobile devices.
The first three home games of the season have already demonstrated the benefits of the Aruba Mobile First Platform. 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.
With the new network in place, the Panthers can now support the growing demands of their fan base, deliver secure and reliable Wi-Fi to stadium vendors and have the foundation they need to head to the third phase of their technology upgrade. The Panthers will be updating their mobile app with new features that will continue to enhance the fan experience and are planning to deploy Aruba’s Mobile Engagement Solution with Aruba Beacons to provide in-stadium location services and introduce new revenue generating opportunities. With the beacons in place, the mobile app will allow fans to receive proximity-based notifications as well as quickly locate and navigate to the nearest food vendors, bathrooms and other stadium amenities.
According to Hammond, continuing to ensure fan satisfaction is the most important benefit of their new Aruba wireless network, which also leads to simplifying the continued upgrades the Panthers will pursue. He said, “As our owner, Jerry Richardson, says, ‘the fan is the most valuable member of our team’. As an organization, we want to demonstrate that commitment at our stadium.”
To read more about best practices for high-density environments like Bank of America Stadium, download Aruba’s Very High Density Validated Reference Design guide.
About Aruba, a Hewlett Packard Enterprise company
Aruba, a Hewlett Packard Enterprise company, is a leading provider of next-generation networking solutions for enterprises of all sizes worldwide. The company delivers IT solutions that empower organizations to serve the latest generation of mobile-savvy users who rely on cloud-based business apps for every aspect of their work and personal lives.
To learn more, visit Aruba at http://www.arubanetworks.com. For real-time news updates follow Aruba on Twitter and Facebook, and for the latest technical discussions on mobility and Aruba products visit Airheads Social at http://community.arubanetworks.com.