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Published on May 12th, 2014 | by Alexis Argent


Ruckus Smart Wi-Fi is a Clean Winner at Annual BNP Paribas Open Tennis Tournament in Indian Wells

Ruckus Smart Wi-Fi is a Winner at the annual BNP Paribas Open Tennis Tournament in Indian Wells. 

Ruckus Wireless have announced that the Indian Wells Tennis Garden, owned by Larry Ellison, co-founder and CEO of Oracle Corporation, has successfully deployed a massive, high-density, high-capacity Smart Wi-Fi network throughout its entire 54 acre complex, which was in use during the BNP Paribas Open held there last March. The annual tennis tournament, which this year enjoyed record attendance of over 430,000 tennis fans over its two-week run, is the largest combined professional ATP World Tour and WTA event in the world.

Handling nearly 2 terabytes of data at any given time during the tournament’s two week run, the comprehensive Ruckus Smart Wi-Fi network was installed and is managed year-round to provide Wi-Fi access for various types of other events held at the Garden by West Coast Networking of Palm Desert, CA, a managed service provider (MSP) and Ruckus Big Dog channel partner.

We were tasked with the responsibility of deploying a wireless network for the entire site—an internal system for verifying tournament participants’ credentials, facilitating box office functions, and other internal infrastructure needs, in addition to a massive, public Wi-Fi system,” said Mark McComas, vice president of West Coast Networking. “The driving force behind this deployment was providing public Wi-Fi access that would enable patrons to easily access the BNP Paribas Open Mobile Application.”

The Ruckus Smart Wi-Fi network at Indian Wells Tennis Garden consists of over 130 indoor and outdoor Ruckus ZoneFlex™ access points (APs), 80 percent of which are ZoneFlex 7782 Series carrier-class 3×3:3 2.4/5 GHz 802.11n outdoor APs, featuring integrated antennas with patented BeamFlex™ technology for unprecedented performance in high-density, high-capacity applications. In Stadium 1, APs were discreetly mounted in the lower bowl on concrete columns, hidden under awnings, with power supplied via Power over Ethernet (PoE). On the upper bowl, APs were mounted on the light poles, where they also drew their power from. A dedicated 4 GB fiber broadband connection provided the backhaul for the system. West Coast Networking manages the entire network with a Ruckus ZoneDirector™ 5000 controller.

The BNP Paribas Open Mobile App is a one-stop, multi-functional online resource that was used during the tournament to provide attendees with all kinds of up-to-the minute information, including: tournament player match schedules; live, up-to-the minute scores of all matches in-progress; match results; player bios, and draw information; plus, live video coverage of matches.

Located in the heart of the Coachella Valley in Indian Wells, CA, the Indian Wells Tennis Garden is a $77M facility built in 2000, including the 16,000+-seat main Stadium 1, the second largest tennis-specific stadium in the world—plus a new, recently completed 8,000-seat Stadium 2, and 22 additional championship courts.

The biggest problem to solve is density, and choosing the appropriate radio for the right application,” continued McComas. “By using Ruckus directional RF technology, we’re able to concentrate each AP’s beam to specific locations like banks of seating at each stadium court, and you really can’t do that with a 360 degree-type AP from other vendors. Keeping the beam’s focus directly on a specific area was the key.” Unique Ruckus technology ensures that users get consistent, reliable, high-performance coverage. McComas added, “During peak usage periods, we had anywhere from 7,500 to 9,000 concurrent users online on a daily basis throughout the tournament, with nearly 2 terabytes of data being carried through the network.”

Internally, Indian Wells Tennis Garden staff used a separate group account/SSID for credentials scanning, ticket scanning at the entry gates using Janam handheld 2.4/5 GHz wireless scanners, and administrative staff tasks/functions. West Coast Networking also set up a limited group account/private, secure SSID for tournament medical staff and officials. Fans and players, and each player’s individual staff (trainers, coaches, etc.), plus tournament vendors, all used the public Wi-Fi SSID, which was simple and easy to connect to once entering the Tennis Garden via a standard/typical web portal log-in process.

All of the tennis courts had network coverage, plus all three of the new Stadium 2 fine dining restaurants (Nobu, Chop House and Piero’s PizzaVino), both of the Garden’s 19,000 square foot outdoor shade structures, the vendor areas, and the Stadium Plaza.

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