Making sure nearly 70,000 fans attending last night's NFL season opener at Gillette Stadium in Foxboro, Mass. have the perfect networking experience is a daunting task. A large part of that duty fell on the shoulders of solution provider BEI Net.Works, who is one of Extreme Networks' go-to services partners.
Patrick Reed, network engineering manager for Bedford, N.H.-based BEI Net.Works, was tasked with helping provide a flawless network experience for New England Patriots and Kanas City Chiefs fans before, during and after the game.
Reed arrived at the stadium five hours before the game started to do a full systems health check which consisted of testing every single piece of hardware inside the stadium. Social media is a huge priority for the fan experience, he said.
"We try and do as much testing centered around what the fans are going to be using. So we go on Twitter. We go on Facebook. We go, and we stream audio, and we see how that response is," said Reid.
When kick-off happens, network traffic spikes and Reed needs to monitor the roughly 1,200 access points inside the stadium closely.
"It's really a matter of just taking the time to go through each AP – look at them, make sure everything is still flowing, making sure traffic is going where it's supposed to go," said Reid. "After that, we try to go into the stands again and take some additional readings. With all the user traffic that is going through, we need to make sure all the fans have the same experience. Going out and doing the test live in the field with everyone else gives us the ability to have data that shows what the fans are actually seeing."
During the game, the solution provider tracks wireless statistics, user counts and bandwidth usage for both access points and applications, to name a few. BEI then correlates all the data into reports both during and after the game for the NFL and Extreme.
BEI specializes in wireless and high-density Wi-Fi, network assessment, design, security, installation, configuration, as well as project management, maintenance, and field services.