Extricom, a manufacturer of high-performance, next
generation wireless LAN (WLAN) infrastructure solutions, announced their
collaboration with SMG Europe and On-Communications to provide their wireless
solution to the Manchester Evening News Arena – the largest indoor concert
arena in Europe.
Ticket holders and performers will now be able to access
a seamless high speed Wi-Fi network using Extricom’s unique blanket wireless
technology across all public areas plus the back stage and loading areas of
Manchester’s M.E.N Arena.
Working with SMG Europe, the M.E.N Arena’s operators, it
was clear that there were a number of stakeholders who would need access to and
use of the Wi-Fi network. Installing and enabling such a network in a
venue as large as the M.E.N Arena, with multiple floors, concrete walls and
very large audience numbers is a challenging exercise,” said Steve Merrick,
technical director, On-Communications.
It quickly became clear that only one manufacturer was
able to meet all the technical requirements of the project. Extricom was the only system that offered guaranteed, seamless mobility without co-channel
interference or holes in the coverage.
Extricom’s channel blanket architecture delivers a
continuous service to very high numbers of simultaneous users with no loss of
bandwidth or throughput. The Extricom service guarantee, along with the minimal
ongoing maintenance the solution requires made them the natural choice for us.
The build required over sixty Wi-Fi access points, thirty
range extenders and half a dozen switches. Connecting them all up took
more than three kilometers of fibre, five kilometres of Cat5 cabling and
various networking and routing devices.
The infrastructure means the Wi-Fi network can be
accessed at every level of the M.E.N Arena bowl, around the concourses,
throughout the executive suites, back stage, dressing rooms and loading bay
areas of the venue. Both download and upload speeds to WiFi enabled
mobiles and hand held devices are an impressive double digit Mb/s throughout.
We have bought dual and diversely routed Internet feeds
into the arena, one via fibre, the other using fixed wireless access, meaning
we can light up to 130Mb of Internet access if required and more can be added
later if required. Additionally, we are planning to run some services
and applications over the Wi-Fi network locally,” Merrick added.
We spent more than a year examining and specifying this
project and we worked with On-Communications throughout that time. It was clear
we shared the same values and had the same vision of how we could use
communications technology to maintain the M.E.N Arena’s reputation as a leading
global venue for artists, shows, promoters and audiences,” said Dave Batty,
facilities manager at the M.E.N Arena.
I’m delighted we have now gone live, with the first
night being the WNBA’s debut European match. I look forward to continuing our
work with On-Communications, extending network access and adding exciting new
services,” Batty added.