Crown Castle pulled back the curtain Tuesday on its $32 million-plus distributed antenna systems in Glendale, Ariz. just in time for Super Bowl XLIX on Feb. 1, 2015 at the University of Phoenix stadium. The state of the art network includes the stadium and Gila River Arena as well as the Renaissance Glendale Hotel & Spa, and throughout the Glendale Sport and Entertainment District.
The fiber-optic-connected network is a 100-fold increase from Super Bowl 2008 when Glendale also hosted the game, according to Mike Kavanagh, Crown Castle’s DAS President.
Crown Castle installed hundreds of small cell nodes inside the 72,200 seat stadium and additional nodes targeting the 14,000-space parking area to complete their 48-sector DAS.
Company executive who gave a tour of the upgrades said that the stadium surpasses the capabilities of almost every other stadium complex in the nation.
The DAS system’s antennas use replicated light poles, vents on the outside of the stadium and drop ceiling vents. Architectural concealments were also used.
The project required a considerable amount of coordination which required consensus with the Arizona Cardinals, Arizona Coyotes, Westgate Property Management, the Renaissance Hotel, the city of Glendale and the Arizona Sports Authority.
The DAS system went live Oct. 9, 2014 for the National Hockey League season and was in operation during the Fiesta Bowl and National Football League season.
The project required the installation of close to 1,000 antennas. The four major carriers will be using the DAS network to provide enhanced service to their subscribers.
For 2014’s Super Bowl in N. J., Verizon invested heavily in DAS to ensure that fans were able connect with each other and the outside world during the event.
The four major carriers have signed on to Crown Castle’s DAS network.
Fans used about 2.5 TB of data during last year’s Super Bowl, but are expected to use 4 TB this year.
However, that number could be quickly eclipsed.
As an example of America’s thirst for being surgically attached to their phones at games, AT&T’s Wi-Fi network at AT&T Stadium carried 4.93 TB of traffic during Monday’s game between Ohio State and Oregon, according to an AT&T statement.
John Winborn, chief information officer for the Dallas Cowboys, said fans used an additional 1.41 TB of wireless data on the stadium DAS network, resulting in a measured total of 6.34 TB of traffic.
Add in the other top three carriers on AT&T’s DAS and usage might be north of 8 TB, an amount that appears to be a record for a single game, single event.
AT&T said that data traffic was up 107% from the Wi-Fi and DAS combined when compared to the average regular season Cowboys game in 2014.
The cellular data traffic they saw on their DAS was 125% greater than what they experienced at last year’s Super Bowl.
The combined DAS and Wi-Fi traffic was nearly 20 percent greater than what they saw over both days and all three games of the 2014 NCAA Men’s Final Four played at AT&T Stadium.