Verizon-installed Super Bowl Wi-Fi network protected as rogue devices get tackled

Football fans attending yesterday's Super Bowl in New Orleans' Mercedes-Benz Superdome were discouraged from bringing in rogue devices that might jam the extensive Wi-Fi network set up across the venue. The network, built by Verizon Wireless using equipment from Cisco Systems, was designed to handle up to 30,000 simultaneous connections during the Super Bowl, according to Ars Technica. To ensure interference-free communications, Superdome management was on the lookout for rogue access points or rogue equipment that might enter the stadium.

Dave Stewart, director of IT and production for Superdome management firm SMG, told Ars Technica that every device entering the building was subjected to a frequency scan. If a potential for interference was detected, either the device's Wi-Fi channel was changed or it was denied access to the facility. Further, Superdome management used spectral analysis equipment to detect any rogue devices that did get into the stadium.

The Mercedes-Benz Superdome's 802.11n Wi-Fi network was installed just this season for use by all venue attendees, but the Super Bowl marked the first time the network was publicly advertised as available to all fans. No password was necessary to access the network. The Superdome also has an extensive carrier-neutral distributed antenna system, built 18 months ago by AT&T. For more, see this Ars Technica article.