Stadium WiFi deployments are considered one of the most challenging for multiple reasons.
- Stadiums are an extreme case of high density (HD) deployment, with tens of thousands of people packed in a relatively small area.
- Stadiums do not have a WiFi-friendly structure with lot of open spaces, creating vast interference zones. The problem is compounded by multi-level seating.
- Seats are typically arranged in staircase style, thereby increasing complexity of RF planning due to the presence of non-planar surfaces.
- Deployment is constrained by aesthetics, spectators' line of sight, and availability of mounting structures such as pillars, walls etc.
Mojo Networks took these challenges head-on and successfully deployed a seamless WiFi network at two large cricket stadiums for the Indian Premier League 2018. The purpose of this WiFi deployment was to provide wireless access to all the spectators as well as mobile data offload for the Jio 4G customers among them. The entire project was conceptualized and executed in 10 weeks.
Sawai Man Singh Stadium, Jaipur
The Sawai Man Singh Stadium has a total seating capacity of 37685. The bowl area where WiFi coverage is required is approximately 12000 square meters. To meet the coverage and capacity requirements, more than 500 access points (APs) were deployed at the stadium.
The bowl area was covered with Mojo O90-N45 directional APs. This model is a 2x2, 802.11ac Wave 1 device with 45-degree beam width and 11 dBi gain. As 3 out of 4 stands didn’t have a roof, poles had to be installed for mounting the APs in these stands. To meet the capacity requirement, for every 100 seats, an AP was deployed. The result was an extremely high-density deployment, with average inter-AP spacing of 6m.
In addition to closely spaced APs, in many areas 2 or 3 APs were mounted on each pole. A careful combination of Tx power and antenna tilt was used to provide RF isolation between APs. These values were arrived at with the help of RF simulation and on-field RF optimization.
7 matches were played at the SMS Stadium during the IPL 2018 season. During all the the matches, 2 SSIDs were radiated - Open SSID for anyone to connect using OTP-based authentication and Private SSID for 4G offload, only for Jio customers.
- 524 APs (indoor and outdoor) were deployed to cover the entire stadium including bowl area, offices, food court, corporate boxes.
- Average data usage per match was 1TB
- Nearly 50% traffic on the 5GHz band
- 22% traffic from 4G offload
- Average data rate 22 Mbps
In the next blog, we will talk about the WiFi deployment at Holkar Stadium, Indore.
This article was co-authored by Nadeem Akhtar and Anubhav Gupta. Read the second blog in the series here.
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