Chicago's Soldier Field launches enhanced DAS network

Boingo Wireless and AT&T have installed a neutral-host distributed antenna system (DAS) at the 63,000-seat NFL stadium.

Global venue management company SMG announced the launch of a new neutral-host distributed antenna system (DAS) at Chicago’s Soldier Field, home of Chicago’s professional football team, concerts, international soccer games and hundreds of other events annually. The upgraded Soldier Field network -- installed, managed and operated by Boingo Wireless (NASDAQ: WIFI) and AT&T (NYSE: T) in partnership with SMG -- will deliver comprehensive wireless coverage, ensuring that fans are able to stay connected via their mobile devices during the height of a game or concert.

The sophisticated neutral DAS installation consists of multiple strategically-placed antennas that distribute wireless network coverage throughout Soldier Field, providing for more efficient management of wireless capacity in heavily-trafficked areas. The state-of-the-art DAS network will increase wireless capacity for all fans in the 63,000-seat stadium. The companies say the new DAS installation is configured to deliver ubiquitous coverage and consistent performance throughout the stadium complex and will allow multiple wireless carriers to maximize the game experience for their customers. Boingo, SMG, AT&T and other carrier partners will continue to collaborate on upgrades to ensure optimal network performance. Additionally, Boingo operates the Wi-Fi network at the stadium, which was among the first in an NFL stadium when it was launched in 2010.

“Boingo brings more than a decade of experience in designing, building and managing combined DAS and Wi-Fi networks to Soldier Field. We’re proud to expand our relationship with SMG, and to help the SMG team realize their vision of providing a superior connectivity experience to each and every fan in the stands,” comments Doug Lodder, vice president of DAS business development for Boingo Wireless. “Built in collaboration with SMG and AT&T, the new DAS network provides additional capacity that will enable SMG to provide new location-based services and connected experiences to fans, and ensure the best possible mobile game day for spectators.”

Related news: Andrew’s DAS technology keeping football fans connected

AT&T’s participation in the Soldier Field DAS network is part of the company’s Project Velocity IP (VIP), a three-year investment plan to expand and enhance its IP broadband networks. Through this investment, AT&T says it is supporting its customers’ growing desire for high-speed Internet access and new mobile, app and cloud-based services. As part of Project VIP, AT&T plans to add more than 1,000 DAS nationwide by year-end 2015, as well as more than 10,000 macro cell sites, and deploy more than 40,000 small cells, to increase the density of its wireless network.

“When our customers are at the stadium for a game or concert, we want them to have an effortless network experience whether they are making a call, checking email, downloading apps or surfing the Internet,” comments Paul La Schiazza, AT&T Illinois President. “In a wireless world with an Internet economy, we’re continuing to invest in our wireless network. Enhancing our wireless coverage at Soldier Field is just one more way that we’re investing in Chicago.”

The enhanced DAS network at Soldier Field is now available to fans. Soldier Field stadium is owned by the Chicago Park District and managed by SMG. “With the addition of the neutral-host DAS network, we believe Soldier Field now offers one of the most advanced stadium networks in the nation, making it a benchmark for wireless services at stadiums across the country,” concludes Luca Serra, director of sponsorships and media for SMG at Soldier Field.

See also: Dallas Cowboys' technology head discusses new stadium's infrastructure

More in Wireless/5G