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New 49ers stadium will allow 68,500 fans on Wi-Fi simultaneously

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The 49ers new home in Santa Clara
The 49ers new home in Santa Clara

When 68,5000 rabid fans of the fabled San Francisco 49ers Giants American football franchise enter their new stadium for the first time in August 2014, each and every one of them will have simultaneous access to a revolutionary new Wi-Fi network.

They won't be kicked off due to bandwidth restrictions as they seek updates on scores from around the country, they won't be restricted to dial-up style speeds when attempting to watch slow-motion replays and they won't have to make five attempts before eventually being able to send a photo from their seat to jealous pals.

The previously unheard of capabilities for a venue to sustain so many uninterrupted, unmetered, unlimited, LTE-level connections at once is the brainchild of two former Facebook employees currently on the 49ers' payroll.

The team's senior IT director Dan Williams and chief technology office Kunal Malik helped to built the social network's large and efficient network, which is among the world's best.

In an intriguing sit-down interview with Ars Technica the pair explained how they intend to get the job done at the 49ers new facility in Santa Clara, California.

"We see the stadium as a large data center," Williams said. "Within the stadium itself, there will probably be a terabit of capacity. The 68,500 will not be able to penetrate that.

Our intentions in terms of Wi-Fi are to be able to provide a similar experience that you would receive with LTE services, which today is anywhere from 20 to 40 megabits per second, per user.

"The goal is to provide you with enough bandwidth that you would saturate your device before you saturate the network," Williams said. "That's what we expect to do."

The Ars report explains how previous efforts to accommodate the needs of so many fans have fallen short due to a perceived "spectrum shortage." This year's Super Bowl at the Superdome in New Orleans allowed 30,000 people to get online, while the New England Patriots home Gillette Stadium only allows 10,000 people on at a time.

The 49ers plan to offer universal access where others have failed, will succeed by installing more stadium-wide access points, evenly distributed around the complex, while it will also use the team's current home Candlestick Park to test the tech during the next NFL season.

"We're evaluating placement of APs and how that impacts RF absorption during the game with folks in their seats, with folks out of their seats," Williams added.

The network will likely to used to provide video on demand services for visitors, while also enabling them to order food to be delivered to their seats. Insert joke about lazy Americans here.

However, considering there's only around 10 minutes or so of actual playing time during a three-hour NFL game, the Wi-Fi network will come in extremely handy for keeping folks entertained as well as well fed and watered.

It's also somewhat apt that the best public Wi-Fi network created at a sporting venue would be built in the heart of Silicon Valley.

For the full and extensive report check out the link in the hat-tip below.

Via: ArsTechnica

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