When thousands of sports fans gather in the same place at the same time, they all take their technology. Event attendees want to stream live broadcasts, post photos and video to social media, and keep in touch with friends and family members at home. When interviewed by sports facility staff, fans said Wi-Fi access was a major part of their ability to enjoy an event. The Petco Park DAS shows how one facility solved this problem.
San Diego’s Petco park is home to the San Diego Padres of Major League Baseball. It also hosts concerts, soccer tournaments, and rugby events. When filled to capacity, the park holds 42,445 fans. Both the number of people trying to connect wirelessly and the park’s design created problems during events.
The park has a stone and stucco exterior and spacious, open concourses. Stadium design allows fans to be closer to the action than similar facilities. Seating is divided into neighborhoods with towers and terraces that provide panoramic views. The park was completed in 2004, and since then, fans’ demand for wireless access has skyrocketed.
Wireless access was necessary not only for fans, but for park efficiency. Stadium functions like ticketing and concessions relied on connectivity. Security, police, and federal agencies needed wireless capacity to manage security.
In 2010, the Padres hired Verizon to upgrade the Wi-Fi with a Distributed Antenna System (DAS) and provide fans with the technology options they craved.
What is DAS?
When construction materials block connectivity, DAS systems extend and coverage so radios and cell phones can find a signal. The system’s antennas connect with a hardware device or software program that acts as a controller to direct the data flow.
The controller connects to a carrier network’s base station. Verizon acts as the carrier for Petco Park, but the team’s senior vice president said they also wanted fans to be able to access other networks.
With passive DAS systems, cellphone signals run through leaky feeder cables. When DAS systems are active, antennas pass signals from the roof through fiber cables, amplifying them as they travel through the system. They work on radio frequency spectrums specific to wireless, so businesses must usually involve a wireless carrier to set up a DAS network.
DAS deployment is expensive, since installing antennas and stringing cable requires large amounts of both manpower and equipment. The carrier benefits most from users being able to access the system, so they usually handle installation costs. Verizon paid $10 million for the combined cost of Petco Park’s DAS network.
Petco Park Results
CommScope, Inc. deployed its ION-B DAS system at Verizon’s request. They laid thousands of miles of CommScope cabling to deliver more capacity and precision coverage throughout the stadium and parking lot.
Cisco’s hardware provides over 400 access points for up to 16,000 connections running concurrently. One park Wi-Fi network is dedicated exclusively to Verizon customers, while the other provides coverage for other carriers. Since its deployment, the DAS network has been able to handle high capacity at events, although when the park is full, operations are slower.
Other DAS Applications
The Petco Park DAS isn’t the only place users benefit from a distributed antenna system network. Any time there’s a need for additional cell coverage, DAS networks are a possible solution. Shopping malls, office buildings, and schools use them to improve bandwidth capacity and expand network connectivity.
C Enterprises provides cabling options for these kinds of networks. No matter what your cabling needs, our experts provide you with the best solutions available. For more information or to request a quote, contact us today.