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February 12, 2016updated 28 Mar 2017 5:39pm

Super Bowl required Super Wi-Fi

By John Oates

Last Sunday’s Super Bowl scored the third largest TV audience in history tuning in for the game.

But it also broke records for the amount of data sent and received over wireless networks at the stadium.

Some ten Terabytes were sent over the free Wi-Fi network which is the equivalent of 6,000 hours of HD video footage or about the same as the 26 million books held by the Library of Congress back in the year 2000.

The amount of data increased from the 6.2TB uploaded and downloaded at last year’s game, and that was double the data from the year before.

Peaks included Beyonce’s performance during the half-time show, although the kick-off and the end of game both brought even higher data usage.

Hewlett Packard Enterprise company Aruba Networks spent two years planning and designing systems to keep the 70,000 fans online during the game.

Providing good wireless access is a challenge for almost all businesses now from the smallest coffee shop to the largest enterprise. President Obama has even complained that Wi-Fi coverage is a problem in the White House.

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But building such a network under the microscope of media attention and tens of thousands of fans is a much bigger challenge.

Aruba provided an access point for about every 100 seats in the stadium and a total of 1,300 points in the whole ground. While the normal assumption for stadium users is that about half will be using the network at any one time for the Super Bowl Aruba assumed everyone would be using it.

Although thousands of people were using social networks like Facebook, Twitter and WhatsApp during the game the Levi’s stadium also has its own application, refreshingly called ‘Levi’s Stadium’ for the crowd to use.

The app provides mobile ticketing as well as navigation to seats using Aruba’s Bluetooth beacon technology.

The app also creates heavier data demands by providing video replays directly to handsets.

Some people might think all this technology is removing something from people’s paying attention to the event they’re actually attending. But the app also lets you get food delivered to your seat which for a three and a half hour game has got to be a bonus.

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