Mariusz Blach -

Super Bowl wireless networking touch down for Extreme Networks

Weeks after first revealing its Wi-Fi 6-enabled networks for sports stadia in leading American sports leagues, networking technology and services company takes on wireless and analytics for biggest game in US sport

For the seventh consecutive season, cloud-driven networking solutions company Extreme Networks has been named the official Super Bowl Wi-Fi solutions provider and has been charged with providing in-stadium Wi-Fi and analytics for the 54th Super Bowl in Miami on 21 February.

Extreme has been charged with ensuring a seamless digital fan experience at the nation’s biggest sporting event in the Hard Rock Stadium and will be introducing what it calls new “smart stadium” technology co-developed with US communications provider Verizon to ensure quality of service in the hand-off of its users from 5G and 4G LTE networks to the stadium Wi-Fi set-up.

To put the task into context, the 2018 Super Bowl LIII reached record-breaking Wi-Fi usage. As much as 24TB of data was transferred within the stadium, an increase of 47% from the previous NFL championship game. Extreme expects an even greater digital engagement at this year’s Super Bowl, given the acceleration of social media usage and the NFL’s growing support for a diverse array of in-stadium digital fan experiences, such as artificial reality, virtual reality and location-based offerings.

Extreme Networks Wi-Fi 6 access points with ExtremeSwitching technology are said to offer greater flexibility and increased bandwidth to support more devices, including internet of things (IoT) devices, and advanced immersive applications.

Furthermore, the access points are attributed with being able to ensure seamless, secure Wi-Fi connectivity at stadiums that is said to be up to 40% faster than the previous Wi-Fi 5 standard, and stronger connections for real-time social media sharing, video streaming and mobile app use, including point-of-sale applications and mobile ticketing.

In practice for Super Bowl LIV, the smart stadium technology will link Verizon’s wireless network to ExtremeWireless Wi-Fi access points and ExtremeAnalytics software, to provide the connectivity and authentication experience for Verizon customers between the networks. This, it claims, will ensure uninterrupted connectivity for fans anywhere in and around the stadium.

With its access points, Extreme says NFL teams have the scale and capacity to provide seamless Wi-Fi connectivity to fans on game day, enabling them to instantly access real-time statistics and commentary, and stream instant replay videos on their mobile devices without latency.

With its analytics technology, Extreme assures that NFL IT teams will gain granular visibility into network and application performance, locations and devices, and will be able to capture information related to which apps are running on the Wi-Fi network and what the response time is for each app. It adds that given such insights, teams can deliver personalised offers and application features to engaged fans.

“Sporting events like the Super Bowl are about much more than the game – they’re about the experience. And today the Super Bowl experience is more exciting and immersive than ever thanks to enabling technologies like Wi-Fi and 5G,” commented Norman Rice, chief operating officer at Extreme Networks.

“The NFL has supercharged game-day experiences with cutting-edge digital advancements that are changing how we engage with our favourite teams. We’re proud to be a part of this as the Official Wi-Fi solutions provider for the seventh consecutive Super Bowl.”

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