Meru Networks has provided Wi-Fi connectivity for more than 500 journalists, photographers, VIPs, IBU (International Biathlon Union) staff, athletes and trainers in tough weather and environmental conditions at the IBU World Championships Biathlon 2015 at the Kontiolahti Stadium in Finland (March 3-15 2015).
The network supported high concurrent use, high bandwidth applications in a highly demanding sports venue, according to Meru.
“We put huge demands on the Wi-Fi, both in terms of number of users and traffic,” said Heimo Koskela, the IBU local organising committee’s chief of timing. “As each competition ended, we regularly saw up to 250 photographers logging on to send images wirelessly, while competitors and support staff were on it continuously using multiple devices to access social media and the IBU site.”
Located 120 metres above sea level and playing host to thousands of spectators and media from around the world, the competition venue saw the very best biathletes from 38 nations, including Great Britain and the USA, competing in cross-country skiing and rifle shooting.
The Meru network supported hundreds of photographers who needed to send images instantly from their digital cameras and laptops. Video and print journalists also put huge demands on the Wi-Fi, despite having fixed Ethernet available, while broadcasters used wireless to get access to online results services.
Designed and implemented for the harsh outdoor environment by Palmionet, Meru’s partner in Finland, Meru’s 802.11ac AP832e access points were deployed in climate-proof housings to withstand sub-zero temperatures, wind and snowy conditions.
“This is probably one of the toughest environments you can test a wireless network in – not only harsh weather conditions and low temperatures, but also the challenges of working alongside other wireless technologies like time-keeping systems with the potential for channel interference,” said Matti Polonen, of Meru partner Palmionet. “Yet, the network has been 100% reliable and fast.”
For public Internet access, local mobile operators (Elisa, DNA and Sonera) provided extra capacity, with 3G and 4G connections supporting a total of approximately 6,000 simultaneous users.
“Supplying high-density wireless connectivity to the media at sporting events is absolutely crucial, especially in inclement weather,” said David Kelly, vice president of international sales at Meru.
“Members of the press need 100% reliability when sending images, filing stories and accessing results online. The feedback from IBU has been incredible, with photographers and journalists commenting that the Wi-Fi there was the best they had ever used.”
The 47th Biathlon World Championships was held in Kontiolahti, Finland from 3-15 2015. There are a total of 11 competitions: sprint, pursuit, individual, mass start, and relay races for men and women, and mixed relay. All the events during the championships also count for the Biathlon World Cup season.