The WrestleMania mark eclipsed the previous Wi-Fi high-water figure of 3.3 TB, recorded during the Niners’ home opener at Levi’s Stadium on Sept. 14, 2014. However, the WWE event’s record should come with a bit of an interesting asterisk, since the Niners said they built a temporary ground-level extension to the Wi-Fi network that was used by approximately 3,700 fans who were sitting in seats on the field, surrounding the WrestleMania stage. The team also put in extra Wi-Fi coverage for the three temporary seating sections that were erected in the Levi’s Stadium southeast plaza, structures that will likely be part of the configuration for Super Bowl 50 next February.“We considered the event a success from a Wi-Fi standpoint considering the temporary APs served almost 4,000 people and moved a large amount of data,” said Roger Hacker, senior manager, corporate communications for the San Francisco 49ers. “We moved a significant amount of traffic all the while seeing minimal negative comments on social media.”
In a related note, it seems like beefed-up train and bus service from light rail entity VTA kept lines and waits to a minimum, even with a record number of fans also using public transportation to the event. At the very least, the Levi’s Stadium team seems to be back on a positive path after some painful lessons learned during the Feb. 21 Coors Light Stadium Series hockey game. Remember also that WWE did not want in-seat food or merchandise delivery available during the event, which proabably helped make network operations easier.
Under-seat APs and handrail antennas
According to Hacker the field-level network used 76 extra access points, with 69 on the field level itself and seven more on the field-level walls. Hacker said a combination of picocell and handrail enclosures were used for the temporary network, which was necessary since the regular stadium-bowl configuration was never designed to handle traffic for events with fans on the field level.
Hacker also said the temporary network had its own switching infrastructure, with eight portable switching pods connected by both fiber and outdoor Ethernet cabling. The results from the WrestleMania event, Hacker said, will help the Niners and Levi’s Stadium staff prepare for future events with on-field seating, like the concerts scheduled for later this spring and summer.
The Niners said their goal with the WrestleMania temporary network “experiment” (which they believe to be the first ever done for a large outdoor event) was to see whether the Levi’s Stadium under-seat design could be extended to the field for temporary events “in a cost-effective, safe and repeatable manner. From what we experienced with WrestleMania 31, every indication is that we will be able to do that.”
Some more network stats from the WrestleMania 31 event:
– The peak concurrent user mark was 14,800 on the Wi-Fi network at around 8:10 p.m.
– The Wi-Fi network carried 1.61 Gbps of average continuous bandwidth from 2:20 p.m. to 8:00 p.m., also a new stadium record
– The peak bandwidth usage was 2.474 Gbps at 7:10 p.m.
– Usage on the Levi’s Stadium DAS network was not reported.