Located in Basel, Switzerland, St. Jakob-Park is the country’s largest sports stadium, with a maximum capacity approaching 40 000 and 680 parking spaces over two levels.
A key host venue of the 2008 UEFA European Football Championship 2008 and the stage for the 2016 UEFA Europa League Final, the stadium is home to 32 shops over three floors, as well as two restaurants: Restaurant UNO and the Hattrick Sports-Bar.
Challenges for network construction
The high-density and high-capacity environment of a stadium makes network construction especially challenging. As a major venue in the city, St. Jakob-Park attracts visitors from far and wide, with upwards of 60 000 people in the stands, shops, restaurants and parking areas at any one time. On top of that, the online habits of visitors have also changed over the years. While most people used to be content simply browsing websites and social media, today people want to also be able to watch and share videos and images. In this newly demanding environment, St. Jakob-Park’s legacy network struggled to offer acceptable coverage to more than 30% of visitors, with no guaranteed network bandwidth for high-priority services possible, and no capacity to ensure the quality of high-definition audio and video playback.
A large stadium network with such wide coverage requires expert configuration and delivery. The high number of potential end users adds layers of complexity, making operations and maintenance (O&M) potentially difficult, placing enormous strain on the stadium’s technical team, in turn impacting operating cost.
Network security is also critical for public venues, with public Wi-Fi networks particularly vulnerable to attacks. There has to be a balance between security and convenience, to allow different types of users access to key services after verifying their identity.
In this scenario, St. Jakob-Park had a vision: to transform itself into an eco-friendly, wireless stadium. To turn this vision into reality, an advanced future-proofed Wi-Fi network was required to achieve full wireless coverage, high user concurrency and secure connections, all with easy O&M.
Full wireless coverage for a world-class stadium
To tackle the issues facing St. Jakob-Park, Huawei offered a solution with an advanced cloud management architecture, powered by the industry’s most advanced Wi-Fi 6 technologies. By wirelessly connecting to Huawei’s cloud management platform, network devices are now able to gain access to a range of tools, including access point (AP) management, application management, licence management, network planning and optimisation, device monitoring, network service configuration, and value-added services. As a result, the stadium’s technical team can handle complex network planning and O&M with ease. Indeed, the entire process is automated and intelligent, enhancing operations efficiency while lowering operating costs.
To meet the high-density requirements of the project, Huawei AP7060DN APs were introduced in shops, restaurants and parking lots to provide indoor coverage. Outside, AP8050DN and AP8150DN APs were deployed to provide additional coverage.
The AP7060DN is Huawei’s next-generation Wi-Fi 6 (802.11ax) AP. With a data rate of up to 5.95Gbit/s, it is fully capable of meeting the quality requirements for high-bandwidth services, such as HD video streams, allowing users to enjoy high-quality wireless services. Additionally, the AP7060DN performs well in terms of coverage, access density and operating stability, delivering an optimal Internet experience to end users.
AP8050DN and AP8150DN are both 802.11ac Wave 2 outdoor dual-band wireless APs. Featuring excellent outdoor coverage performance and powerful hardware protection functionality, they offer high access capacity and a data rate of up to 1.267Gbit/s, enabling gigabit access for users outdoors. Both APs excel in high-density outdoor scenarios, such as stadiums. They provide comprehensive service support capabilities and feature high reliability, high security, simple network deployment, automatic WLAN AC discovery and configuration, and real-time management and maintenance.
To ensure security for St. Jakob-Park, the Huawei USG6680 firewall integrates a broad range of functions such as a firewall, virtual private network (VPN), intrusion prevention, antivirus, data leak prevention, bandwidth management, anti-DDoS, URL filtering and anti-spam. Moreover, it offers a global configuration view and integrated policy management, and can identify over 6 300 applications and support application-specific access control. For example, USG6680 can distinguish between text and voice messages on Facebook. It also combines application identification with intrusion detection, antivirus and data filtering services, improving detection performance and accuracy. By obtaining the latest threat information at the earliest possible time, the firewall is able to accurately detect and defend against vulnerabilities, thereby ensuring the security of the network.
A smart Wi-Fi network delivering a better experience for all
Huawei Wi-Fi 6 is designed for today’s complex and fast-changing environment with a range of powerful features. Large bandwidth, high concurrency, and low latency — coupled with a radio calibration function that reduces the interference rate by 60% — guarantee a seamless and efficient wireless network. Huawei Wi-Fi 6 also supports a large number of users: up to 400 users can be connected to a single AP at the same time.
With remote cloud management, O&M is significantly simplified. Using Huawei’s cloud-based wireless local-area network planning tool, St. Jakob-Park’s technical team can shorten project delivery time to just one day instead of three, and the time needed for fault diagnosis is reduced from four hours to just 30 minutes. As a result, network management efficiency is dramatically improved, allowing the flexible deployment of APs in a shorter period of time — a much=needed capability for major event planning. Meanwhile, Huawei Wi-Fi 6’s lossless roaming and fast switchover ensure visitors receive the best network experience possible. If an AP is faulty, connection is automatically established with another AP in a process so seamless that users are unaware. Additionally, fault diagnosis is so quick — requiring 30 minutes or less — that the network can be repaired without end users noticing at all.
In terms of security, Huawei’s USG6680 provides a built-in signature database with more than 6 000 applications, as well as layer-7 firewall support, to proactively identify and defend against malicious attacks. These features deliver invisible protection for the network and ensure high-speed and preferential forwarding of mission-critical services. In addition, WPA3 has become the security standard in Wi-Fi 6, which enhances user privacy protection in an open network environment through personalised data encryption. This means that communication between a client and a Wi-Fi AP is encrypted, preventing eavesdropping from third parties.
Delivering both speed and security, Huawei has enriched the in-stadium experience for fans at St. Jakob-Park, enabling them to share their favourite moments around the world, in real time.
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