Ericsson Launches Stadium-Optimized WiFi Solution

Attending a sports match, concert, or other event in a full stadium is a great experience that many people instantly want to share with friends and family, by — for example — uploading videos and photos to social networking sites. But interacting via Facebook, Twitter, or SMS during such events can sometimes be tricky — due to the sudden increase in network traffic.

To overcome this issue and offer the most seamless experience for mobile device users at the stadium, Ericsson has launched a stadium-optimized WiFi solution. This solution consists of two products: the AP 5114 stadium-optimized WiFi access point and the WIC 8000 Wi-Fi controller. Together, they create a WiFi network that is integrated with the mobile network — in keeping with Ericsson’s unique approach to heterogeneous networks.

In its Traffic and Market Data report, Ericsson forecasts that mobile data traffic will increase 10-fold between 2011 and 2016, mainly driven by video. This predicted growth, combined with the popularity and ubiquity of WiFi on mobile devices, has created a trend toward operators deploying their own WiFi networks. Given that social networking and video apps are used particularly heavily during major events, mobile traffic in stadiums is especially high. The result is that, from the operators’ perspective, stadiums are like very dense metropolitan “villages” that require a wide range of wireless solutions – such as small cells, distributed antenna systems (DAS) and WiFi as a complement to the existing macro network – to address all of the coverage and capacity requirements.

Dave Park, Head of Wi-Fi Product Line, Ericsson, says: “This WiFi solution – which represents our first WiFi product launch since our acquisition of BelAir Networks in April this year – enables stadium owners and managers to provide fans with the same options that they have when watching events at home, including instant replays and multi-view content feeds. Our solution meets all of the requirements that operators have for comprehensive, coordinated and integrated wireless coverage in stadiums.”

Delivering additional radio network capacity and coverage through the deployment of small cells as part of a heterogeneous network is central to most mobile operators’ mobile broadband strategies, and WiFi is a key element. With WiFi fully integrated into mobile access and core networks, users will enjoy seamless access to high-performance mobile broadband, whether they are connected over 3GPP or Wi-Fi, and operators will be able to choose connectivity to optimize the user experience.

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