Blanket WiFi for fans at World Cup

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Coverage at stadia provided by consortium of Brazil’s biggest network operators will enable fans to tweet messages and watch instant replays of the action

Football fans attending matches at this year’s World Cup in Brazil will be able to tweet and watch replays of the action as blanket WiFi coverage will be provided at tournament venues.

The connectivity is provided by a consortium of the four biggest network operators in Brazil, with Ruckus Wireless of the US taking charge of the installation. Foreign visitors will be able to connect by paying a fee for access when they connect.

“Usually in the stadium you have WiFi but it’s mostly been used by journalists and FIFA,” Ruckus Wireless regional sales director Jussi Koria told Mobile News.“To my best knowledge this is the first connected World Cup. There’s quite a lot of expertise, design and man- hours that have gone into ensuring a quality network is up and running and with enough margins.”

The firm was involved with WiFi installations at the 68,000-seater Estadio Nacional Mane Garrincha in the country’s capital Brasilia, and the 52,000-capacity Arena Fonte Nova in Salvador. Both venues will host quarter-final matches.Ruckus put in a variety of access points both in the bowl area of the stadium and also in the interior to ensure blanket coverage.

Most stadium builds and renovations for the tournament were carried out with a mixture of public and private money, and Koria says this political mix was one of the most challenging aspects of the project. “It was very bureaucratic and some of the stadium owners were thinking they could put their own WiFi in,” he said.

“The owners realised that the amount and quality of the equipment you had to put into the stadium was very different from the usual mindset of putting WiFi in a venue. It was a different kind of beast.”

The California-based firm has already completed WiFi installations around the globe including Hamburg’s Imtech Arena and the Chennai Stadium in India.

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