Europe’s first domed stadium, Telenor Arena, hosted the Eurovision song contest in 2010 and has since become a sought-after concert venue. The venue’s sponsor, Telenor, is a leading Nordic service provider operating across 12 countries. However, its mobile network was not originally designed to cope with 10,000 people trying to connect all at once in the same area, and the arena held more than double that number.
Telenor addressed that issue with indoor Wi-Fi, using a design developed for hotels and convention centers, but with carrier- grade backhaul circuits. That installation was completed in time for a Madonna concert in 2012. Berit Svendsen, the Telenor CEO, was at the event. She was not impressed by Madonna’s late arrival, nor when her company’s wireless solution failed to perform.
Keenly aware of the demands of today’s young mobile users, Telenor wanted to make the arena a brand showcase. With 4G launching in October 2012, the time was opportune.
Shortly after, Telenor was alerted to the strength of the Cisco Connected Stadium Wi-Fi solution. Marianne Arnesen, the Telenor Arena project manager, says: “I went to the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games, where the wireless infrastructure was Cisco-provided, and I got great high- speed Wi-Fi access inside the venue and throughout the Olympic Park.” Along with a detailed market survey, that hands-on experience tipped the Telenor decision in favor of Cisco.
During the Telenor Arena installation project, Cisco Services engaged with Datametrix, a Cisco Gold partner wholly owned by Telenor, which has become the first systems integrator in Norway to win Cisco certification for stadium projects. Providing high- and low-level designs, Cisco Services was also on hand to help fine-tune the new Wi-Fi network at concerts by The Killers, Justin Bieber, and Bruce Springsteen.
“Bringing a lot of knowledge to the project on design, implementation, and testing, Cisco Services did a great job.”
Marianne Arnesen, Technical responsibility Trådløs sone/Public WiFi, Telenor
One of the key advantages of Cisco Connected Stadium Wi-Fi is that it enables 2G, 3G, and 4G offload.
It’s specifically designed to meet the challenge of handling lots of concurrent users and big spikes in demand, extending reliable access to applications and services on mobile devices to tens of thousands of fans simultaneously.
As part of the Cisco Connected Stadium solution, it also enables new commercial opportunities from ticketing and electronic point-of-sale to location- based services and targeted marketing. In addition, a Cisco Mobility Services Engine makes it easy to deploy new Wi-Fi-based solutions and services, and offer a personalized mobile experience, while helping protect the network from wireless threats, rogue wireless devices, and denial-of-service attacks.
John Richardsen, product and business manager for Public Wi-Fi at Telenor, says: “Peak traffic registered so far was at a One Direction concert, where simultaneous users reached 48 percent of the audience.” In contrast, a Jon Bon Jovi concert with older fans recorded mobile device usage at just under half that level.
What matters more than impressive statistics is the wholesale uplift in user experience, enabling fans to use their devices for anything from making calls to uploading video.
“Since the Telenor Arena will have our name on it for years to come, it’s very important that fans come out happy and smiling, and the Cisco Wi-Fi solution will help us do exactly that.”
John Richardsen, Product and Business Manager, Public Wi-Fi, Telenor
Apart from that very public usage, the Cisco Connected Stadium Wi-Fi network is used for ticketing and enabling stadium tenants and retailers to securely access the network.
Telenor regards the arena as a valuable testing ground for future Wi-Fi projects. It now plans Extensible Authentication Protocol-SIM integration as a first step to bringing the mobile and Wi-Fi networks together, and it may launch a tier of additional services for Telenor subscribers on top.
Discussions are also under way on how Cisco Connected Stadium could bring new efficiencies to operating the arena or enable new services for the future. “The technology is very new, but who knows what the future will bring?” Richardsen concludes.
Customer Name: Telenor
Industry: Service Provider
Number of Employees: 4500
Provide reliable mobile Wi-Fi access for thousands of fans at pop concerts
Enable video and picture sharing with heavy upload to social networking sites
Transform arena into showcase for Telenor as leading mobile provider
Cisco Connected Stadium Wi-Fi, with Cisco Prime Management and Cisco Mobility Services Engine underpinned by Cisco Catalyst switching
Strong positive publicity generated by Wi-Fi performance at high-profile events
Wi-Fi network supports 50 percent fan usage with 250GB data transfer
Ideal testing ground for future Wi-Fi implementations and applications