Are you ready for your building’s ‘Super Bowl’ of wireless demand?


Beyond the record-setting day of total offense generated in the Philadelphia Eagles’ thrilling 41-33 win over the New England Patriots in Super Bowl 52, there was also a record 16.31 terabytes of Wi-Fi data used during the game, the most ever reported for a single-day, single-building event.

While you probably won’t have to worry about having almost 70,000 people show up at your building for the day, there are plenty of lessons for any big-building owner or operator to learn from how U.S. Bank Stadium in Minneapolis prepared for its “super” wireless stress test, and how you might better prepare for your own big-demand wireless days, whenever they might arrive.

What’s most interesting from a traffic-predicting standpoint is the steady climb of wireless data usage over the past few years at the NFL’s yearly championship game, both via cellular connections as well as by Wi-Fi. In what now sounds like ancient history, fans used a total of “only” 3.2 TB of Wi-Fi data at Super Bowl 48 at MetLife Stadium back in February of 2014. Since then, successive Super Bowls have seen Wi-Fi data use climb to 6.23 TB at Super Bowl 49, 10.1 TB at Super Bowl 50, and 11.8 TB at Super Bowl 51 before this year’s 16.31 TB mark was recorded.

Use of cellular networks in and around the stadiums used for Super Bowls has grown yearly as well, and while it’s not a strictly apples to apples comparison due to the different ways different carriers report figures, this year AT&T, Verizon and Sprint saw 50.2 TB of traffic in and around the stadium on game day, compared to 25.8 TB seen the year before. Maybe you can blame Justin Timberlake for running into the stands for a selfie for some of this year’s record totals, but it’s our guess that what the numbers really mean is that there’s still no top to the growth in wireless data demand, both at big sporting events as well as at any place where there’s lots of people in the same area at the same time.

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