Lessons in Education from Super Bowl LI: Keeping Your Fans Happy – Whether Your School Stadium Holds 1,000 Or 70,000

February 16, 2017 Bob Nilsson

Why should your school care about satisfying the needs of over 72,000 rabid Super Bowl fans at NRG Stadium? How about because the very same technology that works for the Super Bowl can insure that all your students, faculty, and fans have the very best possible network experience. The same Wi-Fi access points, wired switches, network management, network analytics, and customer support deliver satisfaction, whether you have 500 users or 70,000. Why shouldn’t you provide an NFL-grade experience to all your users?

Your school network may not have to support the 11.8 terabytes of data transfers that NRG stadium had during the Super Bowl, but you still want to provide the best possible performance and reliability. Video-intensive flipped classrooms, online testing, virtual and augmented reality can all consume bandwidth in your school; and that’s not even counting access to social media, YouTube, and Netflix that you provide to your common areas. During Super Bowl LIFacebook and Snapchat combined to consume almost 10% of the total bandwidth used without any bottlenecks.

The same networking challenges at NRG stadium, and all 10 NFL stadiums that use Extreme Networks apply at your campus and school buildings: coverage, interference, bandwidth, network management, analytics, BYOD onboarding, resilience, and reliability.  Here are ten more reasons our stadium success relates to the quality of your network (with infographic).

The stadium at St. Xavier High School near Cincinnati, Ohio, holds 10,000 fans. The 5-acre site supports 50-70 events and games per year with stadium-grade Wi-Fi providing reliable Internet access for fans, visitors and stadium operations. ExtremeAnalytics application visibility at the stadium helps ensure that fans and staff stay connected with the best possible network experience. Their fans, guests and staff enjoy an NFL-class experience all year long.

The Extreme Networks solution at Baylor University’s McLane Stadium delivers a flawless network experience to a capacity crowd of 45,000. Their Wi-Fi solution enables Baylor University and Baylor Athletics to engage their fan base with streaming video, unique content and value-added services. Having met the challenge of rolling out the in-venue Wi-Fi system, the school is now viewed as innovator and is sharing its experience with peer institutions planning to undertake a similar endeavor.

Chelmsford Public Schools in Massachusetts recently extended their network to their football field. They now have Extreme Networks Wi-Fi access points providing wireless service to fans, staff, and media during all activities at the stadium.

You can glimpse what is required to build out a network on the scale of an NRG stadium in the short video, Birth of a Super Bowl Wi-Fi Network. NRG serves not just the Houston Texans of the NFL, but also the Houston Livestock Show & Rodeo and the NCAA Texas Bowl. The network there includes 1,250 Wi-Fi access points, 105 switches, and 70 miles of cabling.

Learn more about how Extreme Networks delivered reliable, easy-to-manage wireless networking at Super Bowl LI and how this can help your school at this live webinar: Post-Game Recap: Delivering Wi-Fi at Super Bowl LI on March 16 at 1:00 pm. The webinar features the people who put that network together. They will describe the project and answer all your questions.



About the Author

Bob Nilsson

As the Director of Vertical Solutions Marketing at Extreme Networks, Bob Nilsson leads the Extreme Networks strategy and programs for vertical markets including Healthcare, Higher Education, K-12 Education, Federal/State/Local Government, Retail, Hospitality, and Transportation and Logistics. He has over 30 years of experience in marketing IT systems to Global 1000 companies worldwide. Before joining Extreme Networks Bob was VP Marketing at Clear Methods. Prior to that Bob held senior marketing positions at Digital Equipment and HP. Bob holds an SB degree in EE from MIT and MBA from Columbia Business School.

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