MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – When the Super Bowl comes to U.S. Bank Stadium there will be 70,000 fans in the seats, plus thousands of media members from around the world.
So, what does that mean for the stadium’s WiFi network?
With 310 days until Super Bowl LII in Minnesota, Jason DeRusha got an exclusive behind the scenes look at the preparations to make sure everyone can upload their Instagram and Facebook posts problem free.
It looks and sounds like any data center in any office building in Minnesota.
“We are at U.S. Bank Stadium’s data center,” Jesse Sullivan said.
Sullivan helps run U.S. Bank’s stadium entire network for CenturyLink.
It is so secure, so closely guarded that the exact design can’t be show, so would-be trouble-makers can’t attack it.
Everything is duplicated, in case something goes wrong.
“Not very sexy, but very important. It is the brains of the building,” Sullivan said.
The entire digital network was created to handle the Super Bowl: thousands of tweets, Facebook updates, Instagrams and snaps.
“Do you have the capacity to not only deal with the technologies of today, but the consumptions of tomorrow,” Duane Ring, president of CenturyLink’s Midwest region, said.
The stadium network here is called synchronous.
“Same speeds going up as coming in. Not like your home internet service where it’s asynchronous and there’s more data coming to your house,” Ring said.
At the stadium fans want to send videos out, at your home you tend to bring videos in.
The first regular season has been a great test.
“I sent a couple pictures to my kids. My kids were very unimpressed with my photography ability,” Ring said.
About 1,300 WiFi access points help us log-on. Some are portable. Others are hidden, like those behind section numbers on the handrails.
” There are two of them in there,” Ring said. “You would never know,”
The network also supports 2,400 HD TVs; they can send different messages to each TV. This is especially important if something went wrong and authorities needed to direct people where to evacuate.
“Technology and the technicians that worked on this project here are the same technicians that could be working your home tomorrow,” Ring said.
The biggest online moment for a Super Bowl is the halftime show. But, CenturyLink isn’t worried because they said the wireless network can support 70,000 devices online, at once.
“It’s built to handle that many people. Literally everyone could be on the WiFi network,” Sullivan said.
Because when the world’s watching, buffering is not an option.
The wireless network will be fully supported outside on the plaza, which will be huge on Super Bowl day.