BYU is following in the footsteps of the NFL and other large universities who are making stadium changes to enhance the game-day experience for their loyal fans.
Athletic Director Tom Holmoe announced at the 2018 BYU Football Media Day that the beloved stadium will be equipped with a high caliber Wifi coverage network and state-of-the-art antenna system.
This system has been a four-year project for BYU Athletics and will be ready for the first home game of the 2018 season.
BYU student Parker Jones said he has struggled to get cell service while attending events at the stadium.
“There have been several times when I have tried to contact someone in the stadium and haven’t been able to because I couldn’t get service. I mean, if someone goes to buy sodas for everyone and you tell them you want a Sprite, there’s no going back once they’ve left,” Jones said.
Associate Athletic Director over Communications Duff Tittle said the new Wifi system is ready to be used this fall at BYU.
“In 2017, BYU worked closely with Verizon Wireless and Extreme Networks to install a new high-performance distributed antenna system (DAS) in LaVell Edwards Stadium,” Tittle said. “DAS improves the overall productivity of cellular phone coverage across various cell carriers. This installation was phase one in an effort to improve mobile device connectivity in LaVell Edwards Stadium.”
Extreme Networks’ Extreme Wireless Wifi system will provide 1,241 access points, 50 switches, 42.6 miles of cabling and a peak bandwidth capacity of 10 gigabytes throughout the stadium. The new Wifi system will be password free and will serve close to 40,000 fans.
Fans often consume bandwidth as fast as the stadium can provide it, making it a challenge to stay ahead of the demand. This need for higher data capacity is due in large part to the fact that many phones with camera capability that once took photos at 8 megapixels are being replaced by newer devices that capture images at 12 megapixels. These high-resolution photos and videos are then being uploaded to social media.
Through the new system, any mobile device can be automatically authenticated by carrier networks over the stadium Wifi. The system was first tested at BYU’s final 2017 game against the University of Massachusetts. The second successful test was held at Stadium of Fire on July 4.
“The cell service at Lavell Edwards Stadium has always been terrible for me. I’m excited to hear they will be improving coverage and offering Wifi for the coming season, it’ll be great to be able to use more social media while keeping tabs on statistics and other games,” BYU student Kyle Manwaring said.
The new system will provide BYU fans and vendors more reliable mobile connectivity at LaVell Edwards Stadium.
The new Wifi system will also allow BYU to implement mobile ticketing and a mobile point of sale (POS) system for its vendors. These options will make a difference in fan experience and stadium security.
“We have a highly tech-savvy fan base; we knew we needed to provide them a way to access these features,” Tittle said.
Lavell Edwards Stadium will be the first collegiate football stadium in Utah to have an NFL-caliber Wifi system, ahead of Rice Eccles Stadium at the University of Utah and Maverick Stadium at Utah State University.
“We’re very excited about this new system and what it will offer the fans at LaVell Edwards Stadium. We’ve been wanting better mobile connectivity for a long time, but we wanted to make sure we got the highest quality system. We certainly feel like we’ve done that,” said Tittle.
The new network will be ready for the first home game of the 2018 BYU football season on Saturday, September 8 at 10:15 PM ET against the University of California.