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Bad Wireless Connection Inside At The Super Bowl? Never Fear, The Wi-Fi Coaches Are Here

Mark Haranas

With the NFL's push to provide the ultimate fan experience inside stadiums, connectivity issues can be extremely frustrating for attendees especially during a major event such as Super Bowl 51 this Sunday.

To solve mobile wireless connectivity issues during the game, the NFL created the Wi-Fi Coaches program which has network experts come to your seat if you're having a wireless problem.

"If an access point goes down or if there are any performance problems, we don't need to wait for the fans feedback the next day, they can reach us immediately," said Michael Lytle, director of customer success at Extreme Networks, the official Wi-Fi and analytics provider for the NFL.

Lytle led the Wi-Fi Coaches program effort in 2012 at Gillette Stadium in Foxborough, Mass., home of the New England Patriots. Through its success, the NFL expanded the program into several stadiums that host NFL teams, including the Seattle Seahawks, Green Bay Packers, Baltimore Ravens, Tennessee Titans, Buffalo Bills, Philadelphia Eagles, Cincinnati Bengals and the Jacksonville Jaguars. The Wi-Fi Coaches will be onsite for Super Bowl 51 at NRG Stadium in Houston Texas on Sunday.

Over 500 Wi-Fi coaches have been trained league-wide, who walk around a stadium explaining to fans about the free Wi-Fi available, the capabilities of the NFL's Game Day application and will solve any network issue right away. The coaches are a mix of support, hardware and test engineers, as well as customer service and logistics personnel.

"The NFL mobile app has a feature if you can't connect to Wi-Fi or have Wi-Fi trouble, you can put a comment in like, 'I'm sitting in section 221, row 6, seat 5 and I can't connect to Wi-Fi.' We'll get an alert and we'll send the closest Wi-Fi coach to their seat and check it out," said Lytle. "People here are really amazed that they actually come to you and we can figure out the problem quick."

Approximately 20 Wi-Fi coaches from around the country are being sent to NRG Stadium for the big game.

Mark Haranas

Mark Haranas is an assistant news editor and longtime journalist now covering cloud, multicloud, software, SaaS and channel partners at CRN. He speaks with world-renown CEOs and IT experts as well as covering breaking news and live events while also managing several CRN reporters. He can be reached at mharanas@thechannelcompany.com.

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