Published on July 19th, 2011 | by Alexis Argent0
On-Communications install Extricom blanket Wi-Fi technology into Europe’s biggest indoor arena
Extricom Ltd., a designer and manufacturer of high-performance, next generation wireless LAN (WLAN) infrastructure solutions have today announced their collaboration with SMG Europe and On-Communications to provide their seamless wireless solution to the Manchester Evening News Arena – the largest indoor concert arena in Europe.
Ticket holders and performers will now be able to access a seamless high speed Wi-Fi network using Extricom’s unique blanket wireless technology across all public areas plus the back stage and loading areas of Manchester’s M.E.N Arena.
Steve Merrick, On-Communications Technical Director explained “Working with SMG Europe, the M.E.N Arena’s operators, it was clear that there were a number of stakeholders who would need access to and use of the Wi-Fi network. Installing and enabling such a network in a venue as large as the M.E.N Arena, with multiple floors, concrete walls and very large audience numbers is a challenging exercise.”
“It quickly became clear that only one manufacturer was able to meet all the technical requirements of the project. Extricom was the only system that offered guaranteed, seamless mobility without co-channel interference or holes in the coverage. Extricom’s channel blanket architecture delivers a continuous service to very high numbers of simultaneous users with no loss of bandwidth or throughput. The Extricom service guarantee, along with the minimal ongoing maintenance the solution requires made them the natural choice for us.”
The build required over sixty Wi-Fi access points, thirty range extenders and half a dozen switches. Connecting them all up took more than three kilometers of fibre, five kilometres of Cat5 cabling and various networking and routing devices.
The infrastructure means the Wi-Fi network can be accessed at every level of the M.E.N Arena bowl, around the concourses, throughout the executive suites, back stage, dressing rooms and loading bay areas of the venue. Both download and upload speeds to WiFi enabled mobiles and hand held devices are an impressive double digit Mb/s throughout.
“We have bought dual and diversely routed Internet feeds into the arena, one via fibre, the other using fixed wireless access, meaning we can light up to 130Mb of Internet access if required and more can be added later if required. Additionally, we are planning to run some services and applications over the Wi-Fi network locally.”
“We are releasing Wi-Fi network access in stages, first to promoters and performers, then to ticketholders and finally for other user groups and applications.”
Dave Batty, Facilities Manager at the M.E.N Arena added “We spent more than a year examining and specifying this project and we worked with On-Communications throughout that time. It was clear we shared the same values and had the same vision of how we could use communications technology to maintain the M.E.N Arena’s reputation as a leading global venue for artists, shows, promoters and audiences. I’m delighted we have now gone live, with the first night being the WNBA’s debut European match. I look forward to continuing our work with On-Communications, extending network access and adding exciting new services.”
Extricom’s Vice President Sales, International, Edu Meytal, was full of praise for the foresight shown by SMG Europe in their decision to deploy blanket Wi-Fi technology. He confirmed “SMG and On-Communications have understood the need to be able to manage Wi-Fi airspace and have it operate like a seamless mobile network. The unique and patented Extricom solution is the only WLAN that offers completely seamless mobility and we’re naturally delighted that our technology has been recognised as the product of choice to help SMG achieve its technology and communication goals not only now but for their future requirements too: Ultimately, Extricom delivers.”
About SMG Europe:
SMG Europe is the largest operator of sports and entertainment venues in the United Kingdom and Europe, controlling over 75,000 seats in ten operational facilities.
The 20,000 seater Manchester Evening News Arena is the largest indoor concert arena in Europe and the flagship of the group which includes: The Bridgewater Hall, Manchester; Metro Radio Arena and The Journal Tyne Theatre, Newcastle; Playhouse, Whitley Bay and Odyssey Arena, Belfast.
SMG Europe has been selected to operate Leeds Arena which will become Britain’s most exciting new concert venue.
The York Barbican re-opened as an SMG Europe managed venue following the completion of a major refurbishment program in May 2011.
Expanding into mainland Europe the group also manages The König-Pilsener Arena and Odysseum in Germany, plus has a presence in Scandinavia at the Oslo Spektrum in Norway’s capital.
The newly formed subsidiary SMG Polska has signed a 12 year contract for the management of the 42,000 capacity Wroclaw Stadium currently under construction.
SMG Europe has also been appointed by Ora Istanbul to manage the Ora Arena, the first multi-purpose venue of its kind in the country, and the Ora Convention Centre – scheduled to open in 2011.
On-Communications is a business to business IP Telco supplying voice, data and value added services to fast growing, upper quartile businesses and public sector organizations in the UK.
The company is a pioneer in Ethernet enabled connectivity. A combination of fibre, copper and wireless Ethernet circuits and networks are provided as a platform for customers to support next generation IP voice, data and cloud services. On-Communications is also a specialist in the design, deployment and management of large scale Enterprise Class Wireless and WiFi networks for arenas and major indoor venues.
Extricom is a manufacturer of 4th generation enterprise wireless LAN solutions, based on its Channel BlanketTM technology architecture. The Channel Blanket architecture provides wire-like reliability, high throughput, seamless mobility, unparalleled noise immunity, and is easy to install and maintain. In an era of intensive wireless usage powered by the market explosion of smart phones, iPads, iPods, tablets and other communication devices, voice, data, video, and location services are delivered with an always-on, robust and mobile Wi-Fi connection to any client, in any environment. Extricom Interference-Free™ WLAN is purpose-built to slash wireless complexity and future-proof your network for tomorrow’s multi-service demands.
Extricom solutions are in use by customers operating in numerous industries worldwide, including Education, Healthcare, Manufacturing, Logistics and Warehousing, Retail and public venues. They have discovered the uncompromising performance, reliability and ease of ownership that are the hallmark of the Extricom WLAN.
Extricom serves its growing global customer base through offices in the USA, Europe and Japan, and by working with a global network of distributors and partners.
For more information regarding Extricom products, please visit our Extricom Product Page