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Coming in the future will be apps for streaming audio -- including from "miked-up" players on the field and coach-to-quarterback communications -- and video from the locker room at half time, he said.
"I really believe that if we don't create these applications I've described, live venue viewing at this scale is really going to be put at risk unless you find a way to give [fans] everything [they] get at home and then make it even more engaging and special and unique," Patriot's Kraft said. He added that he would be "shocked" if every NFL stadium didn't have similar Wi-Fi capabilities within 36 months.
All this is made possible by a Wi-Fi network installed last summer by Enterasys Networks, which Kraft said the stadium hired after evaluating other "very big brand-name" networking companies that were reluctant to guarantee the success of the project.
"The system worked flawlessly from the day we installed it," Kraft said.
Fred Kirsch, content vice president for the New England Patriots, said the network consists of 360 access points around the stadium with almost as many antennas, supported by 34 intermediate delivery frames. The network is PCI-compliant.
The Patriots beat the Houston Texans on Jan. 13 in a game that determined who advanced to the AFC championship game this weekend. There were 16,000 unique Wi-Fi users at Gillette Stadium that day, Kirsch said, with 10,000 concurrent users at any one time. They downloaded a total of 350 gigabytes of data, despite a 756k per-attendee limit, "and we didn't even come close to capacity," he said.
Another interesting statistic: 70 percent of those accessing the Wi-Fi were using iOS-based iPads or iPhones, he said.