May 26, 2016

Levi’s Stadium crowd sets single-day Wi-Fi record with 10.1 TB used at Super Bowl 50

Broncos fans celebrate during Super Bowl 50 at Levi's Stadium. Photo: LevisStadium.com

Broncos fans celebrate during Super Bowl 50 at Levi’s Stadium. Photo: LevisStadium.com

The 71,088 fans at Levi’s Stadium for Super Bowl 50 helped set a single-day record for Wi-Fi usage, with 10.1 terabytes of traffic on the stadium network, according to the NFL and the San Francisco 49ers network staff.

According to figures provided to us by Roger Hacker, senior manager for corporate communications for the Niners, the Super Bowl 50 crowd broke last year’s previous Wi-Fi record of 6.23 TB by halftime, and ended up with the 10.1 total after recording traffic from 6 a.m. local time until 11 p.m. Of that total, 9.3 TB was used by fans on the free Super Bowl network and another 453 GB was used by media at the game. The remainder of 370 GB was used on dedicated internal operations networks, Hacker said.

When the Wi-Fi number is added to the 15.9 TB of cellular data used at the game, the total of 26.0 TB of wireless traffic is fairly stunning, and perhaps a wake-up call to current network operators at large public venues or those designing new ones, signifying that the usage pattern for mobile data at big events is still growing rapidly, with no top yet in sight.

Levi’s Stadium also set other Super Bowl connectivity records, the first by recording 27,316 unique Wi-Fi users and 20,300 concurrent users (set at 5:55pm PT), topping the previous Super Bowl records from last year of 25,936 uniques and 17,322 concurrent users, respectively. The previous max for concurrent Wi-Fi users at Levi’s Stadium was 18,901 for the stadium’s inaugural regular season game vs. the Chicago Bears on Sept. 14, 2014. At that game, the stadium saw 3.3 TB of Wi-Fi use.

Also new records for sustained connectivity and average use

While we’re still waiting for news about usage of the Super Bowl stadium app, there are some more record-setting stats to note: According to the stadium IT figures, the big-bandwidth day also saw a Levi’s Stadium record for peak Wi-Fi bandwidth used at 3.67 Gbps — this number is the total amount of bandwidth going through the network at a single moment in time, in this case at 3:25 p.m. Pacific Time. The previous record was a mark of 3.55 Gbps set during the Coors Light Stadium Series hockey game on Feb. 21, 2015, a night when not everything went well on the stadium-network side.

Sunday at Super Bowl 50 there were no apparent big glitches, with some Twitter complainers noting that stadium network technicians were quick to respond to any mentions of network downtime. Bandwidth provider Comcast has an interesting infographic of game-day data use, and said the peaks in Wi-Fi network activity happened during the following list of Super Bowl moments:

The 10 moments that generated the most data traffic at the stadium included:

The introduction of the 50 Super Bowl MVPs

Lady Gaga singing the National Anthem and the Blue Angels flyover

The opening kickoff

The first coach’s challenge

Von Miller’s forced fumble and the first touchdown of the game by Malik Jackson

The halftime show with Coldplay, Beyonce and Bruno Mars

Von Miller’s second forced fumble and C.J. Anderson’s game-sealing touchdown

Peyton Manning exiting the field and Gary Kubiak’s Gatorade shower

The Lombardi Trophy presentation

Using apps to get back home and to hotels

For those who are interested, here is our updated list of the top five big-venue single-day Wi-Fi records. If anyone has one to add to this list, please let us know!

1) 10.1 TB — Super Bowl 50, Levi’s Stadium, Santa Clara, Calif., Feb. 7, 2016
2) 6.23 TB — Super Bowl XLIX, University of Phoenix Stadium, Glendale, Ariz., Feb. 1, 2015
3) 5.7 TB — Alabama vs. Texas A&M, Kyle Field, College Station, Texas, Oct. 17, 2015
4) 4.93 TB — College Football Playoff championship game, AT&T Stadium, Arlington, Texas, Jan. 12, 2015
5) 4.9 TB — College Football Playoff championship game, University of Phoenix Stadium, Glendale, Ariz., Jan. 11, 2016

Congrats to the Niners, the NFL, Aruba, Comcast, and Brocade, as well as DAS Group Professionals, DAS gear supplier JMA Wireless and all the major cellular carriers, Verizon Wireless, AT&T, T-Mobile and Sprint, who all made exceptional efforts to ensure great connectivity for fans across the board.

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