Pick Up that Pigskin: It’s Opening Weekend!

By Kathryn Williams, Blog Editor
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August has come around once again, and it’s finally the best time of the year: college football season. Watching college football has been one of America’s favorite pastimes for generations, providing an environment where people from all around the country can gather to bond over a mutual love of a sport and fascination for a team.

But it’s more than just enjoying a game to a lot of people, and stadiums need to upgrade fan experiences to reflect that. Only then can they ensure an experience that fans will remember for decades.

Kyle throws a Hail Mary…And it’s a perfect catch!
Texas A&M University's football stadium, Kyle Field, went through a complete network overhaul when they deployed over 1,200 Aruba Access Points in the stadium itself, and over 700 in the bowl alone.

Texas A&M wanted to differentiate themselves from network upgrades that many other large public venues go through, choosing specifically to focus on the idea of “infotainment.” Since the stadium and corresponding football program is such a beloved part of their university, they wanted to showcase the aspects of the stadium that the community chooses to embrace.

New engagement ideas are continually being explored and implemented. This past season promotional giveaways (for autographed memorabilia, tickets, etc.) were offered to Wi-Fi-connected fans for the best social media posts.

“People, especially millennials, have this desire/requirement to be always connected [to the Internet] and we find that we’ve really been able to provide that while they’re at the game,” says Matthew Almand, CTO for the Texas A&M System. “It’s all about having a good experience and sharing that with all your friends.”

And Kyle Passes to Williams…Touchdown!
Beyond Texas A&M, there are many universities throughout the nation (and the world!), that are upgrading their stadiums' wireless networks in order to improve fan experiences.

Liberty University in Virginia wanted to ensure high-functioning and reliable Wi-Fi at their football stadium, Williams Stadium, and chose to deploy Aruba Access Points (with beacons), ClearPass, AirWave, and ArubaOS 8, which includes AirMatch for automated RF management. With the addition of AirMatch, the entire network can afford to be updated in real-time without taking the network down, almost guaranteeing 24/7 reliability.

Liberty’s Williams Stadium, like many other college stadiums, is often used for more than football games. They needed a network that could provide high-performance access across the board, no matter what sort of event was happening in the venue. With the success of Aruba’s solutions in Williams Stadium, Liberty plans to implement a similar set up in their eleven other public venues on campus, including their baseball and softball fields. They’re also planning to take advantage of their APs with built-in beacons, hoping that the beacons themselves will provide them with additional information regarding their network connectivity.

“One of the big benefits of Aruba’s wireless solution is having location-ready access points with built-in beacons – and without the need for additional PoE [Power over Ethernet] cabling to manage the beacons – so we have the flexibility to enhance our application with this functionality when we’re ready,”  said Thomas Norton, wireless network architect for Liberty University. “With our Aruba infrastructure in place, we can look at new and innovative ways to draw more fans into our venues and to continue to improve their experiences.”

Texas A&M and Liberty University chose to prioritize their fans' experiences at their stadiums by providing them with Aruba network solutions. By opting with fast, reliable, and high-performance Wi-Fi, these universities are set up for success both on the network and on the field. Happy opening weekend!