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Having scored in football at some of the world’s leading teams’ stadiums throughout 2022, leading cloud-based technology provider Extreme Networks has taken to the tracks and completed Wi-Fi 6 network deployments at five racetracks, including Darlington Raceway, Martinsville Speedway, Richmond Raceway, Talladega Superspeedway and the world-famous Daytona International Speedway.
The NASCAR US racetracks are some of the largest sports venues based on fan capacity. Daytona International Speedway is a venue that encompasses a 2.5-mile racetrack and required nearly 2,100 access points (APs), making it one of the largest US venues with outdoor Wi-Fi.
Moreover, some of NASCAR’s venues are located in rural areas and previously did not offer Wi-Fi. In addition to mobile concessions and social media activity, fans use their mobile devices to access real-time, live-streamed video and audio feeds from drivers and race officials – an essential part of the race-day experience.
However, streaming live video traffic has to date applied huge strain on the stadiums’ networks.
With its Wi-Fi 6 network, Extreme insists that these racetracks can now offer fans the high-bandwidth, high-performing Wi-Fi necessary to ensure fans can seamlessly stream content as desired without missing key moments.
Indeed, with the new infrastructure, for which Verizon Business is the technology integration and managed services lead in the development project, Extreme said it can deliver high-capacity Wi-Fi for up to 125,000 fans simultaneously, improving race-day experiences.
Using the ExtremeAnalytics and ExtremeCloud IQ offerings, IT teams at each NASCAR track will have visibility into network activity and performance, giving them access to insights that can help venue officials make data-driven decisions to improve operational efficiencies. This includes identifying bottlenecks in venue foot traffic, when it’s necessary to open new concessions due to crowds and detecting the usage of popular apps that could lead to commercial or marketing partnerships.
Read more about Wi-Fi 6
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In addition to Wi-Fi for fans, NASCAR is also improving fan experiences with digital amenities, including mobile payments, digital ticketing and updated contactless point-of-sales systems. These are also supported by the new Wi-Fi 6 network from Extreme, ensuring enough bandwidth for both operations, and high-quality audio and video broadcast systems in addition to fan access.
“With Extreme, we are changing the way fans experience the race,” said John Martin, vice-president of media and event technology at NASCAR. “These five racetracks now have a network that can support adding more amenities for fans like in-seat concessions ordering, and our venue IT teams have confidence that they can easily monitor everything happening over the network so we can make real-time adjustments and ensure a seamless experience for everyone using a Wi-Fi device.
“Bringing technologies that enable connectivity, including 5G and high-performance Wi-Fi, to our racetracks is the type of investment that will help us keep growing and modernise experiences for the next generation of fans.”
Explaining the company’s latest commitment, chief operations officer Norman Rice said: “At a venue with 125,000 fans, there is no room for error. The Wi-Fi has to be able to support everything happening simultaneously and without interruption.
“The network is the central nervous system to power these next-generation services and the insights that NASCAR ... can gain from our network analytics will enable them to make better decisions when it comes to improving the consumer experience and streamlining operations.”