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Ruckus Wireless Integrates Smart Wi-Fi Products with Sundance Film Festival
[January 17, 2013]

Ruckus Wireless Integrates Smart Wi-Fi Products with Sundance Film Festival

Jan 17, 2013 (Close-Up Media via COMTEX) -- Ruckus Wireless announced that for the third straight year, its patented Smart Wi-Fi products and technology are once again powering the Wi-Fi services being offered at the Sundance Film Festival, which is expected to attract an estimated 45,000 patrons over the event's 10-day run.

Taking place January 17-27, in Park City, Salt Lake City, Ogden and Sundance, Utah, Ruckus said the Festival will feature an expanded, high-performance public Wi-Fi network enabled with the latest Smart Wi-Fi technology from Ruckus Wireless. Festival organizers are using the Ruckus Smart Wi-Fi network to support their own mobile applications, offload data traffic from the local cellular network, and to provide high-speed Internet access to a growing number of moviegoers armed with mobile devices like smartphones and tablets.

According to a release, the high-speed Wi-Fi network is being made available at 15 official festival venues, including indoor and outdoor theaters in multiple cities. Many of the venues include wait list tents and ticketholder queues outside, where moviegoers will be waiting for the next showing, and can access Festival content over the Wi-Fi network while they wait.

"Mobility is a key theme at this year's Festival, and our Wi-Fi network will take center stage," said Justin Simmons, associate director of Technology Services at Sundance Institute. "Not only do we expect to see a sharp rise in the number of mobile devices in use, we'll also be live-streaming many events this year for people to watch on their handhelds." Additionally, with the prevalence of social media, people are sharing more photos and videos then ever before at the Festival.

Simmons noted that to give patrons the type of experience they expect at a high profile event such as the Sundance Film Festival, they needed a robust, carrier-class Wi-Fi network capable of supporting the high-volume demand.

"Deploying our own infrastructure gives us more control. That said, we really needed a carrier-class Wi-Fi system that delivers the concurrent capacity and high-speed experience that users are now demanding. Conventional Wi-Fi systems aren't designed for power users. Ruckus has continually proven to deliver a reliable wireless experience to our visitors. And they can never to seem to get enough." Ruckus noted that the entire Wi-Fi network across all Festival venues includes 100 Ruckus ZoneFlex indoor and outdoor access points (APs), comprised of: 66 ZoneFlex 7962 and 14 ZoneFlex 7363 802.11n dual-band indoor APs; 18 ZoneFlex 7762 802.11n outdoor dual-band APs; two ZoneFlex 2741 outdoor 802.11g APs, and; two long-range ZoneFlex 7731 802.11n point-to-point bridges for backhaul. A new ZoneDirector 3100 wireless LAN (WLAN) controller with a 100 Mbps connection provides central management at Sundance Institute's data center for all of the remote sites, eliminating the need to have individual, local controllers at each site.

Sundance Institute Technology Services staff will remotely manage the entire indoor/outdoor Wi-Fi network over a private IP network using the Ruckus ZoneFlex management system, housed 60 miles away from many of the access points (APs). The Festival is utilizing Park City's fiber optic backbone and the Comcast local fiber and coaxial network to backhaul Wi-Fi traffic from each site through connections ranging from 25-100 Mbps.

A key driver for this year's Wi-Fi infrastructure at the Festival is the anticipated increase in the number of tablets that will be used by attendees.

"Last year we saw a sharp increase in the overall number of devices being used, consuming about 25 percent more bandwidth than the previous year. With the greater number of tablets, combined with our mobile app we expect to see data traffic skyrocket. Obviously, this type of usage will put huge demands on Wi-Fi, given the constraints of local cellular networks." Simmons noted that in 2011 the Wi-Fi network offloaded a daily average of 220 GB of 3G/4G cellular traffic, which increased in 2012 to a daily average of roughly 290 GB, or 2.9 terabytes of data over the 10-day event. "This year we expect to offload upwards of 350 GB of data traffic each day," he said.

Ruckus said APs will also be deployed at the New Frontier and Filmmaker Lodge venues, where patrons can meet filmmakers and attend panel discussions about the movies being showcased. Additionally, the Ruckus-powered Wi-Fi network will include APs at Festival Headquarters, located at the Park City Marriott, where more than 2,200 event staff and volunteers will be working.

Ruckus ZoneFlex Smart Wi-Fi technology provides a number of features that will help make this mobile environment at the Festival work. For some venues where Ethernet cabling doesn't exist, the Festival will leverage Ruckus SmartMeshing Networking capabilities to enable wireless connectivity.

For resiliency, Sundance Institute is using Ruckus long-range 802.11n point-to-point bridges to provide high-speed wireless backup from the Park City Marriott to its headquarters three miles away. In addition to the high density of visitors expected to interact with their free mobile app, Sundance Institute is hosting a number of live-streaming events that they will encourage and expect patrons to view from their mobile devices leveraging the Wi-Fi network.

The list of events this year includes interviews with filmmakers, panel discussions about the films, the Festival opening day press conference, and other live-streamed video content.

Simmons said, "Given the stellar performance Ruckus equipment has delivered for us the past two years, we're certain our network will perform flawlessly again this year and set a new precedent for future Festivals. Ruckus Wireless continues to provide us with the kind of Wi-Fi technology that enables us to find new ways to continue to improve the user experience at our Festival." Ruckus Wireless is a global supplier of wireless systems.

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