Campuses expanding stadium Wi-Fi access


Verizon teamed with iBAHN, an Internet Protocol-based information services vendor in the hospitality, meeting, conference, and retail industries, to build and install the Wi-Fi network—known as AU Guest Wi-Fi—with encrypted security and high-speed billing and support capabilities. The network, which has been installed throughout Jordan-Hare Stadium, will provide athletic fans seamless access to eMail, internet, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and other sites within the high-density access area. It is available by paid subscription.

“We know that Auburn Tigers fans are among some of the most loyal in college sports,” said Mark Bartolomeo, vice president for global enterprise sales for Verizon Enterprise Solutions. “On game day, they can use the new network to easily check statistics or watch highlights from the stadium or the parking lot.”

Last year, Stanford University teamed with AT&T to expand its wireless and broadband activity to all athletic venues on campus. Campus officials hoped Stanford students would access social media sites from their smart phones, but also worked to create downloadable advanced mobile applications to let students watch instant replays, check scores, access video, and upload photos to friends while cheering in the stands.

Bob Bowlsby, Stanford’s Jaquish and Kenninger Director of Athletics, said the university was eager to launch the new mobile applications and give fans “an enhanced and personalized game-day experience.”

“We understand how customers can use Wi-Fi to engage students, faculty, parents, and players in a university sporting event and throughout the season,” said Kevin Carman, director of AT&T Education Field Marketing.

Carman said the company works with schools to build customized mobile apps, access to real-time game and player statistics, video, promotional offers, enhanced social networking, and location-based services (LBS). AT&T also works with application developers or venues with application solutions.

AT&T reps said the company plans to spearhead a movement aimed at elevating various colleges’ athletic venues and campuses by introducing resources to tech-savvy students.

Geographical challenges

In the past, the University of Colorado has experienced problems controlling its wireless network and has struggled to contend with increasing student and faculty accessibility demands.

“A 9.5 million-square-foot campus poses several logistical challenges to providing reliable wireless access. Adding mobile spots on buses and heavy-traffic areas made it even more difficult,” said Max Lopez, senior wireless engineer at CU’s Boulder campus. “It’s an evolving environment in which building configurations and uses change, so we needed to develop a flexible network architecture to support wireless in hard-to-reach spaces and be able to manage it centrally for greater efficiency and responsiveness.”

To address the surging network traffic, Colorado installed a centrally managed, wider-reaching wireless Cisco network. The Cisco network allows students stronger access to internet resources and communication. Built-in troubleshooting tools and guides are available to assist in case of emergency.

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