Setting the Benchmark for Wireless

Articles & News

Articles & News



By Teena Maddox | August 16, 2017, 11:31 AM PST

The newest professional sports stadium opens next week in Atlanta, and it's filled with new tech to improve the fan experience as a result of the team's partnership with IBM.

There's a new stadium in town, if your town is Atlanta. The Atlanta Falcons football team and Atlanta United soccer team have a new home—the glass-encased Mercedes-Benz stadium that is located next to their former home in the Georgia Dome.

The new stadium uses IBM Cloud as the basis of a converged network with more than 4,000 miles of fiber on a passive optical network to support IoT-connected systems throughout the building. The 71,000-seat stadium has 90 miles of audio cabling and nearly 2,000 wireless access points for Wi-Fi connectivity.

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"If you think about what's going on from the digital perspective, the digital invention that's happening across the industry right now, technology is just as important as the concrete in the stadium," Miller said. "You need that technology integration as well because we as fans, me being one of them, I have the same expectations here as I have when I interact with Amazon or Starbucks or any other great experience that I have. Parking, entry points, wayfinding inside the stadium. All those things were designed to reduce friction and make an easier and simpler experience for the fans when they get here."

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By reducing the number of wiring closets, and therefore reducing the amount of switching equipment, it saved up to 30% of the normal power usage. With copper ethernet you can go only 300 feet, but with fiber you can go 12 miles without a switch, he said. 

The stadium also houses a neutral host distributed antenna system (DAS) and all four major carriers—AT&T, Verizon, Sprint, and T-Mobile—have signed on to it. This means that fans will have the option of using their cellular service with plenty of connectivity, or switch to the stadium's Wi-Fi.

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Amanda Duffy