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    Connect 680,000 Fans in Beijing 2015 IAAF World Championships

Getting Wi-Fi to work at home or at work is one thing, but trying to connect 680,00 fans to post their experiences to social media all at the same time is another thing.

Spectators usually come to stadiums armed with one or more Wi-Fi-enabled mobile devices, with the expectation that reliable connectivity will just be there. But in these environments, delivering even a usable, let alone quality Wi-Fi experience to tens of thousands of users, is a tall order.

Huawei added to the host of astounding feats achieved at this year’s International Association of Athletics Federations World Championships in Athletics, which was held at the Beijing National Stadium (also known as The Bird’s Nest) from August 22 to 30, 2015. In just 90 days the company fitted the venue with a free-access Wi-Fi network comprised of 1,000 access points (APs). The network provided seamless internet access to the event’s 680,000 spectators, who were able to easily share their experience of the championships on social media. According to statistics, 16.4 TB network traffic was generated during the event, which is equivalent to the traffic generated by 8.6 million digital photo transmissions or 1.6 billion social media interactions.

Spectators share their excitement through social media using a free Wi-Fi network provided by Huawei.

“The Wi-Fi coverage at the 2015 IAAF World Championships in Athletics was significantly better than in years past. It has always been very challenging to deploy a wireless network in the Bird’s Nest, China’s biggest steel-structured stadium. But somehow Huawei managed to pull it off, and to do so in just three months. This achievement clearly demonstrates the company’s technical strength and ability to deliver highly competent solutions that enable fantastic Wi-Fi experiences at stadiums.” the organization committee of 2015 IAAF World Championships in Athletics said.

“It was a miracle that Huawei completed such a complicated project in such a short timeframe,” said Emanuele Perotti Nigra, Director of Technology and Information at the IAAF. “Their incredible Wi-Fi solution should show the presentation to the 2017 IAAF World Championships in Athletics in London as a possible solution.”

3 main challenges to successfully deploy its Wi-Fi network for the Bird’s Nest

Despite its rich global experience in stadium network deployment and the renown of its Agile Stadium Network Solution, Huawei still had to overcome three main challenges to successfully deploy its Wi-Fi network for the Bird’s Nest.

  1. The first of these related to the planning of the project. The Bird’s Nest is the world’s largest steel structure stadium. Huawei needed to plan the network in way that would minimize the negative impact that of steel structure on communication signals while also allowing for balanced coverage and sufficient network capacity. To do this, the company’s engineers used a visual simulation technology to test network signal strength, allowing them to ensure that each of the 1,000 access points were placed in precisely the correct locations.
  2. The second challenge related to the actual construction of the network. All access points and antennas needed to be installed on the ceiling of the structure at a height of ten meters, after which they had to be tested and optimized – all within three months. This created a great deal of difficulty for Huawei’s engineers, who were later commended for their outstanding after-sales support and high quality channel partners.
  3. The final challenge was the high-performance and high-density access requirement. Thankfully Huawei’s latest 802.11ac products are capable of supporting high-concurrency wireless network access for multiple users. At the same time, they can optimize multi-service access performance by leveraging application-based management and control.

A Huawei AP8130DN Wi-Fi access point at work on the ceiling of the Beijing National Stadium.

To date, Huawei’s Agile Stadium Solution has been deployed in over ten large stadiums across the globe, including Germany’s Borussia Dortmund stadium, Netherlands’s Ajax stadium, and the UK’s Ibrox stadium. With more large-scale sporting events being held in China, Huawei remains poised to expand its customer base for high-quality Wi-Fi network deployment and service solutions.