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Networking & Wireless

West Texas A&M Outfits Stadium with WiFi 6

A big WiFi upgrade at West Texas A&M University's Buffalo Stadium is enabling a number of digital "game day" experiences, including social sign-in, mobile ticketing, access to real-time stats, streaming video and more. The institution deployed high-density WiFi 6 equipment from Extreme Networks for the newly renovated 8,500-seat facility, which opened last month.

Features of the new wireless network include:

  • The ability for students to seamlessly upload photos, images and videos on social media, as well as access other bandwidth-intensive apps;
  • Support for mobile devices as well as HD digital scoreboards and 75 video surveillance cameras, with capacity to scale up further in the future;
  • A new mobile ticketing system and point of sale services;
  • A WiFi coaching program, to help fans get online during games;
  • Granular analytics on network performance and application usage; and
  • Single pane-of-glass network management.

Nearly 75 percent of the stadium renovations were funded by an increased athletic fee, and students have played an active role in the WiFi deployment. The infrastructure will be managed year-round by 10 to 15 students from the university's Computer Information Systems program, who will receive academic credit for their work.

"With Extreme's WiFi 6 technology, we now have the infrastructure to future-proof our sports stadiums across campus and support the future-looking, immersive experiences students have been craving," said James Webb, CIO at West Texas A&M University, in a statement. "And, we're able to provide our students with experiential learning opportunities, as they're the ones who get to deploy and manage this new network technology on a day-to-day basis."

"In deploying WiFi 6, West Texas A&M is the first University in the nation to deploy this next-gen WiFi technology in its stadium, joining a select group of forward-looking organizations that are pushing the boundaries of fan experience and reinventing in-stadium connectivity," commented John Brams, director of hospitality, sports and entertainment for Extreme Networks. "With professional-grade, stadium-caliber WiFi 6, West Texas A&M now has the capacity to support more devices and applications, and the foundation to offer cutting-edge new digital fan experiences including 4K video broadcasts, biometric payments and seamless augmented reality and virtual reality experiences moving forward. We're excited to help put West Texas A&M on the map for having one of the top collegiate sports venues in the country."

The university has plans to deploy WiFi 6 at its other sports venues, including the WTAMU Fieldhouse, home to its women's volleyball team; First United Bank Center, home to its men's and women's basketball teams; and the WTAMU Track and Field Complex. The technology will also support its growing esports program.

About the Author

Rhea Kelly is editor in chief for Campus Technology, THE Journal, and Spaces4Learning. She can be reached at [email protected].

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