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University of Nebraska Plans for First-Class Fan Experience

University of Nebraska UNL M S Benbow Wi-Fi Network Expansion

Work Begins on 5-Year Strategic Plan for State-of-the-Art Facilities

Make no mistake, the residents of Lincoln, NE aren’t just fans of University of Nebraska (UNL) Athletics. They live, breathe, and loyally support every sport in which the Huskers participate.

Football, basketball, volleyball, women’s soccer, softball…the fans turn out in mass to UNL athletic events throughout the year. It’s a tradition. A way of life. And with 24 sports there is no shortage of options for fans to cheer on the Huskers.

Part of Nebraska Athletics’ 5-year strategic plan is to “continue to be a leader and pioneer in state-of-the art facilities, ensuring first-class fan experience while generating maximum revenue…”
-2022-2027 Nebraska Athletics Strategic Plan, Cornhusker Futures

Fans’ expectations are high, not just for the game or event, but for the complete experience – from tailgating all the way to the game’s final second. Part of that experience is the virtual one. The omnipresence of smartphones is merging the physical and virtual worlds. Fans want (expect!) to multi-task while being at a live event by checking other game scores, streaming video, coordinating an on-site meet-up or communicating with friends and family, or by virtually sharing a moment in a matter of seconds!

How do you give the fans the same, consistent world-class Wi-Fi experience at any given Nebraska Athletic event, while also ramping up the network for operations?

Well, you bring in M S Benbow and Associates…

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Multiple Facilities…Same Goal.

Photo: Husker Volleyball (NU Athletic Communications)

UNL is known for their college athletics. Eight of their sports facilities – Memorial Stadium, Alex Gordon Training Complex, Hawks Championship Center, Bob Devaney Sports Center, Bowlin Stadium, Hawks Field at Haymarket Park, Hibner Stadium, Dillon Tennis Center – all vary in design and capacity, and some serve multiple purposes.

For example, the Devaney Center is a multi-sport venue, home to the Huskers’ championship volleyball team, as well as wrestling, men’s and women’s gymnastics, women’s swimming and diving, and track and field. It is also a notable, premier Olympic-sport venue.

Memorial Stadium, home to Nebraska Huskers football since 1923, boasts a 100-year history (not to mention 60-years of consecutive home game sellouts) and has a capacity of more than 90,000 seats. In 2023, the stadium was the site of Volleyball Day in Nebraska with an attendance of more than 92,000 which surpassed what is widely regarded as the attendance world-record for any women’s sporting event. And yes, Nebraska won in a 3-0 sweep.

These custom-built venues are home to world-class training and competition facilities for UNL’s athletes, staff, and guests. The network had to be championship caliber and able to deliver

  • Blazing fast Wi-Fi to fans in all seating and guest areas.
  • Critical data and insights to coaching for those real-time adjustments.
  • Ubiquitous connectivity for Operations for revenue generating activities.
  • A precision-built core network to deliver Huskervision to the Cornhusckers faithful.

MSB Engaged

To reach their goals and excel in providing a reimagined fan experience, Nebraska Athletics engaged M S Benbow and Associates to consult on the best approach to design and deliver a champion-level network.

After a strategic assessment, MSB learned UNL’s pain-points, technical needs, and performance goals. Then the MSB team did what they do best. They came up with the right set of solutions.

They began by designing a 50-GB fiber-linked network core to provide best-in-class Large Public Venue High Definition (LPV-HD) Wi-Fi coverage for the eight athletic facilities and Huskervision. The design includes:

  • Approximately 4,000 HPE Aruba Wireless Access Points
  • 80+ Edge Switches
  • A new infrastructure with CAT6A cables
Photo: Husker Track and Field (NU Athletic Communications)
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That’s Just The Beginning…

Phase I of the project focuses on the state-of-the-art custom designed network.

Photo: M S Benbow and Associates Professional Engineering Corporation

We can’t wait for what’s next! Design phase now moves to Construction and Deployment phases, with our efforts culminating in a network that breaks records on its own – records in the way of Data Throughput and Take Rate leading to successful outcomes such as fan ratings, new tech adoption, and rev gen for the university.

Our designers, engineers, and project managers work in concert to break the boundaries when creating solutions for complex projects such as this one. Our commitment to excellence and sensitivity to our clients’ objectives ensure the end result exceeds their expectations.

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Services Provided

  • A&E Design Package Development
  • Project Specification Development
  • Project Budget and Implementation
  • Planning
  • Network & RF Design
  • MDF Equipment Layouts
  • Technology Consulting
  • Network Integration Services
  • Construction Management
  • Project Management

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