Mercedes-Benz Stadium Wi-Fi saw 12 TB of data used at January’s college championship

The iconic ‘halo board’ video screen below the unique roof opening at Atlanta’s Mercedes-Benz Stadium. Credit all photos: Paul Kapustka, MSR (click on any picture for a larger image)

The Wi-Fi network at Atlanta’s Mercedes-Benz Stadium saw 12 terabytes of data used at the 2018 College Football Playoff championship on Jan. 8, 2018, according to officals from the Atlanta Falcons, owners and operators of this city’s new distinctive venue.

We’d long suspected that Mercedes-Benz Stadium, which opened in August of 2017, had seen big data days inside the 71,000-seat arena with its innovative technology, but until Sunday the Falcons had never made any network-performance data publicly available. But a day after the venue saw another 8.06 TB of Wi-Fi used during the SEC Championship game, Danny Branch, chief information officer for AMB Sports & Entertainment, revealed the statistics during a live MSR visit at an Atlanta Falcons home game. The 12 TB mark (which was an estimate — we’ll check back with the Falcons for exact numbers) is the second-highest we’ve ever seen in our unofficial research of single-day Wi-Fi totals, trailing only the 16.31 TB recorded at Super Bowl LII in February at U.S. Bank Stadium.

“We’re confident and ready for the Super Bowl,” said Branch during a pregame stadium tour, details of which we’ll dig into deeper in a full profile for our upcoming Winter Stadium Tech Report. Multiple network speed tests taken by MSR during Sunday’s 26-16 Falcons loss to the visiting Baltimore Ravens showed robust Wi-Fi performance on the network that uses gear from Aruba, a Hewlett Packard Enterprise company, in a design from AmpThink.

DAS renovation complete

An under-seat DAS antenna in the 300 seating section at Mercedes-Benz Stadium

According to Branch, the cellular distributed antenna system (DAS) network inside Mercedes-Benz — a deployment that is at the center of a current lawsuit filed by contractor IBM against gear supplier and designer Corning — is also now at full deployment, with the completion of 700 new under-seat DAS antenna deployments, mostly in the upper seating deck.

MSR speed tests taken during Sunday’s game showed a wide range of DAS results, from single-digit tests in some tough-deployment areas to results near 100 Mbps directly in front of what looked like some new antenna deployments. Again, look for more details in our upcoming profile in the Winter Stadium Tech Report (due out in mid-December).

“We’re in a good place [with the DAS],” said Branch, though he did say there was going to be more DAS work done on the outside of Mercedes-Benz Stadium prior to when Super Bowl LIII comes to the venue on Feb. 3, 2019, mainly to help ensure that the move toward more digital Super Bowl tickets goes smoothly. Mercedes-Benz Stadium also now has a couple of MatSing ball antennas in its rafters, there to bring DAS coverage to the sidelines of the playing field.

Sunday the Mercedes-Benz Stadium staffers were hosting a rare big-game back-to-back event, following Saturday’s packed-house tilt between SEC powers Alabama and Georgia, a championship-game rematch won by Alabama 35-28 after a dramatic comeback.

“That was a massive flip,” said Branch of the two-day stretch, which saw another huge data day Saturday with 8.06 TB of Wi-Fi used. The network, sponsored by backbone provider AT&T, averages about a 50 percent take rate from event attendees, according to Branch, who gave praise to Aruba and AmpThink for their combined deployment efforts.

“The expectation for fans now is that there will be Wi-Fi [in a sports venue],” said Branch. “But I love it when friends come to me after a game and tell me ‘the Wi-Fi is so fast!’ ”

THE MSR TOP 17 FOR WI-FI

1. Super Bowl 52, U.S. Bank Stadium, Minneapolis, Minn., Feb. 4, 2018: Wi-Fi: 16.31 TB
2. 2018 College Football Playoff Championship, Alabama vs. Georgia, Mercedes-Benz Stadium, Atlanta, Ga., Jan. 8, 2018: Wi-Fi: 12.0 TB*
3. Super Bowl 51, NRG Stadium, Houston, Feb. 5, 2017: Wi-Fi: 11.8 TB
4. Atlanta Falcons vs. Philadelphia Eagles, Lincoln Financial Field, Philadelphia, Pa., Sept. 6, 2018: Wi-Fi: 10.86 TB
5. Super Bowl 50, Levi’s Stadium, Santa Clara, Calif., Feb. 7, 2016: Wi-Fi: 10.1 TB
6. Taylor Swift Reputation Tour, Gillette Stadium, Foxborough, Mass., July 27, 2018: Wi-Fi: 9.76 TB
7. Minnesota Vikings vs. Philadelphia Eagles, NFC Championship Game, Lincoln Financial Field, Philadelphia, Pa., Jan. 21, 2018: Wi-Fi: 8.76 TB
8. Jacksonville Jaguars vs. New England Patriots, AFC Championship Game, Gillette Stadium, Foxborough, Mass., Jan. 21, 2018: Wi-Fi: 8.53 TB
9. Taylor Swift Reputation Tour, Broncos Stadium at Mile High, May 25, 2018: Wi-Fi: 8.1 TB
10. Kansas City Chiefs vs. New England Patriots, Gillette Stadium, Foxborough, Mass., Sept. 7, 2017: Wi-Fi: 8.08 TB
11. SEC Championship Game, Alabama vs. Georgia, Mercedes-Benz Stadium, Atlanta, Ga., Dec. 1, 2018: Wi-Fi: 8.06 TB*
12. Green Bay Packers vs. Dallas Cowboys, Divisional Playoffs, AT&T Stadium, Arlington, Texas, Jan. 15, 2017: Wi-Fi: 7.25 TB
13. Stanford vs. Notre Dame, Notre Dame Stadium, South Bend, Ind., Sept. 29, 2018: 7.19 TB
14. (tie) Southern California vs. Notre Dame, Notre Dame Stadium, South Bend, Ind., Oct. 21, 2017: 7.0 TB
Arkansas State vs. Nebraska, Memorial Stadium, Lincoln, Neb., Sept 2, 2017: Wi-Fi: 7.0 TB
15. WrestleMania 32, AT&T Stadium, Arlington, Texas, April 3, 2016: Wi-Fi: 6.77 TB
16. Wisconsin vs. Nebraska, Memorial Stadium, Lincoln, Neb., Oct. 7, 2017: Wi-Fi: 6.3 TB
17. Super Bowl 49, University of Phoenix Stadium, Glendale, Ariz., Feb. 1, 2015: Wi-Fi: 6.23 TB

* = pending official exact data

NFL Stadium Tech Reviews — AFC North

Editor’s note: The following team-by-team capsule reports of NFL stadium technology deployments are an excerpt from our most recent Stadium Tech Report, THE PRO FOOTBALL ISSUE. To get all the capsules in one place as well as our featured reports, interviews and analysis, download your free copy of the full report today.

AFC NORTH

Reporting by Paul Kapustka

M&T Bank Stadium. All photos: Baltimore Ravens (click on any photo for a larger image)

M&T Bank Stadium. All photos: Baltimore Ravens (click on any photo for a larger image)

Baltimore Ravens
M&T Bank Stadium
Seating Capacity: 71,008
Wi-Fi – Yes
DAS – Yes

Extreme Networks picked up another NFL win this offseason, being selected to provide the Wi-Fi network gear for the Baltimore Ravens M&T Bank Stadium.

According to press releases from the team and Extreme, Extreme will install approximately 800 Wi-Fi APs to provide wireless service to the seating and concourse areas of the stadium. The $6.5 million network will be designed and deployed by integrator PCM Inc. of El Segundo, Calif., and the team app will be developed by YinzCam. According to the Ravens M&T Bank Stadium has a seating capacity of 71,000 for football.

The Ravens are also unveiling a new 3-D video system called freeD that the team said shows replays from every possible angle, like the replays seen on newscasts that can circle around the field of view.

Cincinnati Bengals
Paul Brown Stadium
Seating Capacity: 65,515
Wi-Fi – Yes
DAS – Yes

After putting Wi-Fi from Extreme Networks into Paul Brown Stadium for last season, the Bengals announced an additional $20 million in improvements for 2015, including newer, larger video boards. A TE Connectivity DAS in already in place, and the Wi-Fi network went through some upgrades especially in the stadium’s canopy level.

Cleveland Browns
FirstEnergy Stadium
Seating Capacity: 73,200
Wi-Fi – No, planned for 2015
DAS – Yes

While the Cleveland Browns continue to add improvements to FirstEnergy Stadium, Wi-Fi is not yet installed; according to news reports it should be available by the end of the 2015 season.

Pittsburgh Steelers
Heinz Field
Seating Capacity: 65,500
Wi-Fi – Yes/limited (club and suite areas only)
DAS – Yes

With room for 3,000 more fans in Heinz Field this season thanks to some offseason construction work, more Steelers fans than ever will be able to cheer on the Black and Gold.

Wi-Fi access, however, remains limited, not available in the full bowl but only in the FedEx Great Hall and the West Main Concourse. Clubs and suites also have free Wi-Fi, and the team said customer service reps will be available to deal with issues.

Baltimore Ravens pick Extreme Networks for M&T Bank Stadium Wi-Fi

M&T Bank Stadium. All photos: Baltimore Ravens (click on any photo for a larger image)

M&T Bank Stadium. All photos: Baltimore Ravens (click on any photo for a larger image)

The NFL regular season hasn’t started yet, but Extreme Networks picked up another NFL win this week, being selected to provide the Wi-Fi network gear for the Baltimore Ravens M&T Bank Stadium.

According to press releases from the team and Extreme, Extreme will install approximately 800 Wi-Fi APs to provide wireless service to the seating and concourse areas of the stadium. The $6.5 million network will be designed and deployed by integrator PCM Inc. of El Segundo, Calif., and the team app will be developed by YinzCam. According to the Ravens M&T Bank Stadium has a seating capacity of 71,000 for football.

The Ravens are also unveiling a new 3-D video system called freeD that the team said shows replays from every possible angle, like the replays seen on newscasts that can circle around the field of view.

Team coming onto the field at M&T Bank Stadium

Team coming onto the field at M&T Bank Stadium

The first preseason game for the Ravens is against the New Orleans Saints on Aug. 13 and according to a video accompanying the announcement the Wi-Fi and the freeD TV will be available then. (Any Ravens fans who can confirm next week, please feel free to do so here!)

We’ll try to get more details on the deployment but by our count this is the seventh NFL team to use Extreme Wi-Fi gear for stadium Wi-Fi, joining the New England Patriots, the Philadelphia Eagles, the Seattle Seahawks, the Tennessee Titans, the Jacksonville Jaguars and the Cincinnati Bengals. Like in other deployments, the Ravens plan to use Wi-Fi coaches to help fans connect to the network. Extreme Networks is a preferred supplier of Wi-Fi technology to the NFL, a deal that does not guarantee that teams have to use Extreme but one that does provide preferential pricing if they do. Extreme is also the official Wi-Fi analytics provider to the NFL, and its Purview analytics software will be used in Baltimore, according to Extreme and the team.

Stadium Tech Report — NFL stadium technology reports — AFC North

Editor’s note: The following team-by-team capsule reports of NFL stadium technology deployments are an excerpt from our most recent Stadium Tech Report, THE FOOTBALL ISSUE. To get all the capsules in one place as well as our featured reports, interviews and analysis, download your free copy of the full report today.

AFC NORTH

Reporting by Chris Gallo

Baltimore Ravens
M&T Bank Stadium
Seating Capacity: 71,008
Wi-Fi – No
DAS – Yes, 856 antennas
Beaconing – No

The Ravens are in the midst of a $35 million renovation to update their 15-year-old stadium. The focus of the enhancements is on aesthetics, with new video boards and more LED displays being installed. No Wi-Fi at the stadium yet, but fans should have no problem getting a cell signal via the now 2-year old Corning MobileAccess DAS system.

Screen Shot 2014-09-10 at 10.42.52 AMCincinnati Bengals
Paul Brown Stadium
Seating Capacity: 65,515
Wi-Fi-Yes
DAS-Yes
Beaconing – No

The upgrades on the field over the last two seasons have been significant for the Cincinnati Bengals. And soon you’ll be able to say the same about Paul Brown Stadium. Wi-Fi from Extreme Networks is in place for all home games this NFL season.


Cleveland Browns

FirstEnergy Stadium
Seating Capacity: 73,200
Wi-Fi – No, planned for 2015
DAS-Yes
Beaconing – No

Less than a year ago, the Cleveland Browns were awarded $62.5 million from the NFL to improve FirstEnergy Stadium. Upgrades for the 15-year-old stadium include Wi-Fi, video boards, and a new sound system. With two first-round draft picks, a Heisman trophy winner potentially under center, and another new coach – the stadium is not the only thing experiencing a makeover. But Browns fans will have to wait a year to have Wi-Fi and Johnny Football at the same time.

Pittsburgh Steelers
Heinz Field
Seating Capacity: 65,500
Wi-Fi – Yes, 193 access points
DAS – Yes, 339 antennas
Beaconing – No

With plans to increase its capacity over the coming years, it’s important for Heinz Field to continue to be one of the best home field advantages in all of football. The easiest way to do that is to keep fans happy. And as a Steelers fan, what sounds better than waving your Terrible Towel whilst taking a selfie? Steelers faithful can do just that thanks to 193 Wi-Fi access points and 339 DAS antennas outfitted from AT&T and Verizon. Now can Pittsburgh return to the playoffs after a 2-year break?