Meru, Transbeam outfit NYC's Radio City Music Hall with 802.11n WLAN for 2009 NFL Draft
May 4, 2009 -- Attendees at the 2009 National Football League Draft on April 25-26 were able to access the Internet, transmit news stories, photos and video footage, update web pages and more using a high-speed Meru Networks 802.11n wireless LAN especially deployed for the event at New York's Radio City Music Hall.
May 4, 2009 -- Attendees at the 2009 National Football League Draft on April 25-26 were able to access the Internet, transmit news stories, photos and video footage, update web pages and more using a high-speed 802.11n wireless LAN provided by Meru Networks for the event at New York's Radio City Music Hall.
The WLAN was installed by New York City-based communications services provider Transbeam, a longtime provider of networking services at Radio City Music Hall, to support those following the NFL teams' selection of this year's newly eligible football players. Team affiliates, event organizers, journalists from media such as the New York Times and ESPN, and other attendees were online simultaneously, with each Meru wireless access point supporting up to 100 clients.
Bob Wolff, vice president of event services for Transbeam, commented, "At past events we've used micro cell-based wireless products, but their setup and management caused us huge problems and they provided inadequate network visibility and control. For the NFL draft, we needed a solution that was easily installed and managed, offered sufficient signal strength to meet the challenges of Radio City Music Hall's 1930s-era Art Deco construction, and could support high user densities. Meru met these criteria and easily maintained dependable wireless connectivity as more users went online. Meru's virtualized WLAN fits with Transbeam's policy of picking best-of-breed networking products to ensure customer satisfaction, rather than going with a single vendor across the board."
Wolff added that a WLAN incorporating the 802.11n standard - while ensuring full backward-compatibility with 802.11a/b/g - was a must, because attendees would be bringing an unpredictable mix of older and newer laptop and handheld devices to cover the NFL draft. Following the event, Transbeam staff found that more than 30 percent of users transmitted their photos and stories using high-speed 802.11n.
The wireless network deployed for the NFL draft used dual-radio AP320 access points supporting Meru's virtualized WLAN architecture. Because AP320s can work in the both 5.0- and 2.4-gigahertz (GHz) radio spectrums, users with newer 11n-equipped laptops or handhelds could occupy the 5.0-GHz band, while those with legacy 802.11b/g clients used the 2.4-GHz band. Like all Meru access points, the AP320 automatically selects a single channel span for use across the venue, layering additional channel spans when more capacity is required. This single-channel approach minimizes the potential for co-channel interference and eliminates the need for costly and tedious channel planning while supporting up to four times more clients than other WLAN solutions.
Meru's E(z)RF WLAN management software helped networking personnel keep track of RF signal strength, noise distribution and the availability of wireless bandwidth across client devices and access points at any given time.
"E(z)RF helped us keep track of WLAN activity with detailed statistics at both user and network levels to preempt any problems," Wolff said. "When you have limited staff and a high-profile event to support, having the right networking architecture is critical. We will be using Meru again for future events, including the NBA draft coming up this summer."