Located in Basel, Switzerland, St. Jakob-Park is the largest sports stadium in the country, with a maximum capacity of close to 40,000 and 680 parking spaces on two levels.
Host of the 2008 UEFA European Football Championship and the stage for the 2016 UEFA Europa League Final, the stadium houses 32 stores on three floors, as well as two restaurants: UNO Restaurant and Hattrick Sports-Bar.
Challenges for network development
The crowded and high capacity stadium environment makes network building very challenging. As the main place in the city, St. Jakob-Park attracts visitors from far and wide, with more than 60,000 people in the stands, shops, restaurants and parking areas at one time. Apart from that, the online habits of visitors have also changed over the years. While most people used to be content just browsing websites and social media, today people want to be able to also watch and share videos and pictures. In this new, demanding environment, the legacy network of St. Jakob-Park struggles to offer an acceptable range of more than 30% of visitors, without the possibility of network bandwidth for high priority services, and there is no capacity to ensure high definition audio quality and video playback.
Large stadium networks with such wide coverage require expert configuration and dispatch. The high number of end users adds a layer of complexity, making operation and maintenance (O&M) potentially difficult, placing enormous pressure on the stadium technical team, which in turn has an impact on operating costs.
Network security is also important for public places, with public Wi-Fi networks very vulnerable to attack. There must be a balance between security and comfort, to allow various types of users to access the main service after verifying their identity.
In this scenario, St. Jakob-Park has a vision: to transform itself into an environmentally friendly wireless stadium. To turn this vision into reality, a sophisticated Wi-Fi network is needed to achieve full wireless coverage, high user concurrency, and secure connection, all with easy O&M.
Full wireless coverage for world class stadiums
To overcome the problems faced by St. Jakob-Park, Huawei offers solutions with sophisticated cloud management architecture, supported by the most advanced Wi-Fi technology in the industry. By connecting wirelessly to Huawei’s cloud management platform, network devices can now gain access to various tools, including access point management (AP), application management, license management, network planning and optimization, device monitoring, network service configuration, and value added services . As a result, stadium technical teams can easily handle complex network and O&M planning. Indeed, the whole process is automatic and intelligent, increasing operating efficiency while lowering operating costs.
To meet the very dense project requirements, the Huawei AP7060DN AP was introduced in shops, restaurants and parking lots to provide indoor coverage. Outside, AP8050DN and AP8150DN were deployed to provide additional coverage.
AP7060DN is the latest generation Wi-Fi 6 (802.11ax) AP from Huawei. With data rates of up to 5.95Gbit / s, it is fully capable of meeting quality requirements for high bandwidth services, such as HD video streaming, which allows users to enjoy high-quality wireless services. In addition, the AP7060DN performs well in terms of coverage, access density and operating stability, providing an optimal Internet experience to end users.
AP8050DN and AP8150DN are both 802.11ac Wave 2 outdoor wireless dual-band APs. Featuring exceptional outdoor performance and strong hardware protection functionality, they offer high access capacity and data speeds of up to 1,267Gbit / s, enabling gigabit access for outdoor users. Both APs excel in high-density outdoor scenarios, such as stadiums. They provide comprehensive service support capabilities and features of high reliability, high security, simple network deployment, automatic AC WLAN discovery and configuration, and real-time management and maintenance.
To ensure safety for St. Jakob-Park, the Huawei USG6680 firewall integrates various functions such as firewall, virtual private network (VPN), intrusion prevention, antivirus, data leakage prevention, bandwidth management, anti-DDoS, URL filtering and anti-spam. In addition, it offers a global configuration view and integrated policy management, and can identify more than 6 300 applications and support application-specific access control. For example, USG6680 can distinguish between text messages and voice messages on Facebook. It also combines application identification with intrusion detection, antivirus and data filtering services, improving detection performance and accuracy. By getting the latest threat information as quickly as possible, a firewall can accurately detect and defend against vulnerabilities, thereby ensuring network security.
A smart Wi-Fi network provides a better experience for all
Huawei Wi-Fi 6 is designed for today’s complex and fast-changing environments with a variety of advanced features. Large bandwidth, high concurrency, and low latency – coupled with a radio calibration function that reduces interference levels by up to 60% – guarantees a smooth and efficient wireless network. Huawei Wi-Fi 6 also supports a large number of users: up to 400 users can be connected to one AP simultaneously.
With remote cloud management, O&M has been significantly simplified. Using Huawei’s wireless-based wireless area network planning tool, the St Jakob-Park technical team can shorten the project delivery time to just one day instead of three days, and the time needed for fault diagnosis is reduced from four hours to only 30 minutes. As a result, the efficiency of network management is dramatically improved, enabling the deployment of flexible APs in shorter time periods – a capability that is very much needed for planning large events. Meanwhile, lossless roaming and the fast changing of Huawei Wi-Fi 6 ensure visitors receive the best network experience possible. If the AP is broken, the connection is made automatically with another AP in a very smooth process so the user is not aware of it. In addition, error diagnosis is very fast – takes 30 minutes or less – so the network can be repaired without the end user knowing at all.
In terms of security, Huawei’s USG6680 provides a default signature database with more than 6,000 applications, as well as 7-layer firewall support, to proactively identify and defend against malicious attacks. These features provide invisible protection for the network and ensure high-speed and preferential mission-critical service forwarding. In addition, WPA3 has become a security standard in Wi-Fi 6, which enhances the protection of user privacy in open network environments through personalized data encryption. This means that the communication between the client and the Wi-Fi AP is encrypted, preventing people from eavesdropping from third parties.
Providing speed and security, Huawei has enriched the experience inside the stadium for fans in St. Jakob-Park, allows them to share their favorite moments throughout the world, in real time.
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