Ice Arena Case Study

Genesis Place - Alberta, Canada

EAP350 - High-Density Wireless Network Infrastructure in Large Community Arena
Located just north of Calgary, Alberta, Canada, the City of Airdrie is one of the fastest growing communities in Canada. Covering an area of nearly 34 square kilometers, the city has a population of more than 43,000 people and provides a small-town lifestyle with a full complement of big-city amenities. The local economy includes local and regional retail, construction, manufacturing, and professional services.

The Need: A Large New Arena Required a Reliable Wireless Network Infrastructure

The pride of the City of Airdrie is Genesis Place, a community facility that features aquatics facilities, a gymnasium/field house and fitness center, in addition to indoor and outdoor running tracks. In September 2013, the development of the Genesis Place complex was completed with the opening of the Twin Arena.

The 120,000 square foot Genesis Place Twin Arena features two NHL-size ice rinks, a 250-seat grandstand for each rink, four meeting rooms which can seat up to 70 people, a conference room, and a pro skate shop. In addition to providing the community with meeting space and public skating facilities, the Twin Arena is used by the Airdrie Minor Hockey Association, Airdrie Ringette Association and Airdrie Skating Club.

According to Paul Hurst, Network Administrator for the City of Airdrie, it was important for him to be able to provide Internet access to visitors around the ice rink, youth hockey coaches on the ice, and people in the meeting rooms. With as many as 250 users in each of the two ice arenas and another 100 users in the meeting rooms, the wireless network needed to be very reliable and had to perform well.

“We’ve put in a product that costs us very little over the long term to install and operate and we’re getting our return on that investment.”

Paul Hurst

Network Administrator, City of Airdrie

The Solution: EnGenius EAP350 Long-Range Wireless N300 Indoor Access Point with Gigabit

Having deployed EnGenius access points extensively in other projects throughout the City of Airdrie, Hurst knew that he would be installing EnGenius in the new Twin Arena complex. He selected the EnGenius EAP350 high-powered, long-range ceiling mount access point. The EAP350 features an unobtrusive smoke detector design and supports 802.3af Power-over-Ethernet for quick, easy deployment.

Hurst deployed a total of four EAP350 access points, two units in each ice rink, which provide coverage throughout the entire facility. Even though Hurst was very familiar with the quality of EnGenius products, the EAP350’s performance still managed to surprise him. “The product works quite well,” he explained. “Considering the environment in our facility, we were surprised that an access point would give that much coverage.”

The Results: Reliable Wireless Connectivity Throughout the Arena

According to Hurst, the wireless network has performed flawlessly since the facility was opened to the public. Using EnGenius EZ Controller software, Hurst is able to monitor the performance of each EAP350 and the network usage of attached client devices to minimize the misuse of network bandwidth.

Hurst explained that his experience with the EnGenius wireless networking solutions is that they offer a compelling price-to-performance ratio. “From a longevity standpoint, we’ve put in a product that costs us very little over the long term to install and operate and we’re getting our return on that investment.”

As an added bonus to the performance and reliability, the competitive price points of the EnGenius products have provided the City of Airdrie with the capability to introduce wireless networks to throughout the organization even if they have not yet determined the actual needs of the organization. “It allows us to adopt wireless and understand the needs of the organization from a wireless network perspective without having to invest in hundreds of thousands of dollars of equipment,” Hurst stated. “EnGenius really was a good product to deploy and provided us with a benchmark in regard to our needs for this wireless network as an organization.”

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