The Preakness Stakes Races to Higher Capacity Wi-Fi from Ruckus Wireless

Historic Pimlico Race Course Brings High-Capacity, Advanced Wi-Fi to World-Renowned Sporting Event, Giving Tens of Thousands of Race-Goers Free Internet Access

May 16, 2011, 08:00 ET from Ruckus Wireless, Inc.

BALTIMORE and SUNNYVALE, Calif., May 16, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- Ruckus Wireless™ today announced that Believe Wireless Broadband and the Maryland Jockey Club, owner of the Pimlico Race Course, have selected advanced Smart Wi-Fi systems and technology from Ruckus Wireless to deliver reliable, high-capacity Wi-Fi access at the world-famous Preakness Stakes horse racing event, taking place on Saturday, May 21, 2011. Believe Wireless Broadband has provided temporary Internet access to Pimlico since 2007 for the Preakness event.  

Teaming with Believe Wireless Broadband, a full-service Internet provider in the Baltimore area, Ruckus Wireless is supplying high-speed, high-capacity 802.11n products and technologies that will be used to deliver free Wi-Fi Internet access to tens of thousands of attendees, press and event staff of this year's Preakness Stakes.

The indoor/outdoor Wi-Fi network will ease the burden of data access from local cellular networks by offloading traffic from smart phones and other Wi-Fi-enabled devices onto a higher speed, Wi-Fi infrastructure. And with a reliable wireless network in place, race-goers will be able to leverage a new Preakness application developed for iPhones, Androids and Blackberries that lets them watch videos from previous races, look up information about how to wager a bet, get profiles on the jockeys and horses, and see a schedule of races that day as well as upcoming events.

"With so much experience in dealing with high profile, high capacity events, we knew that because of the fixed area and dense user environment, the Ruckus technology would be best suited for the Preakness because of its unique ability to optimize the RF spectrum and get users on and off the Wi-Fi network quickly," said Paul Dowling, president and CEO of Believe Wireless Broadband.

A tradition since 1873 now in its 136th year, Preakness is the second largest horseracing event in North America. The monumental race is held each year at Pimlico, the second oldest racetrack in the U.S., established in Baltimore, MD, in 1870. For over a century Pimlico has hosted legendary horse racing icons including: Man o' War, Sir Barton, Seabiscuit, War Admiral, Citation, Secretariat and Cigar.

"There's no question that delivering Wi-Fi access on such a scale is a daunting challenge," said Joe Blaylock, network administrator for the Maryland Jockey Club. "But it's really no longer an option at public events, so we needed to really evaluate the kind of technology that could actually deliver a fast, reliable service to this many people in such a confined location."

Better Wi-Fi No Longer Negotiable for Public Venues

In recent years, Maryland Jockey Club (MJC) event organizers have seen a rise in the number of attendees bringing mobile devices and smart phones to the Preakness event. According to Blaylock, providing reliable wireless broadband access to race patrons has become a priority for this year's race as well as future events.

"The mobile Internet experience is now a vital part of Preakness, as many attendees use their devices to interact with friends back home or transmit photos and videos over Facebook, YouTube and other social networks," said Blaylock. "We are looking to leverage cutting-edge technology to improve the experience of our customers.  In today's world, a high-performance wireless network is essential to achieve this.  Ruckus technologies help us realize this vision."

In past years, the Maryland Jockey Club had attempted to provide wireless access using entry-level Wi-Fi equipment but wanted to move to a more powerful and purpose-built system designed for high-capacity public venue environments.

Patented technology, developed by Ruckus Wireless, makes more efficient use of the Wi-Fi spectrum by speeding the time it takes for end devices to access and use the network.  This is achieved by focusing Wi-Fi signals only where they are needed, automatically avoiding interference and reducing retransmissions caused by packet loss, that slow down access to the network for all users.

"With the recent technical advances Ruckus has made, Wi-Fi is now up for the challenge," said Blaylock. "Our customers expect high-speed wireless access no matter where they are and we have to give it to them. We're not only providing access to people watching the race in the clubhouse and grandstand, we're also blanketing the entire infield where we're hosting a full day of concerts, games and other activities. We know people will be excited to take advantage of free Wi-Fi access, if they know it's available and actually performs as advertised."

Smart Wi-Fi: the Crown Jewel of Pimlico

Located on the outskirts of Baltimore, MD, Pimlico Race Course is one of the largest horse race tracks in the country and considered a national treasure by historians and equestrian enthusiasts alike. Pimlico occupies 70 acres of land and includes a massive infield section, which was originally used as a place for trainers and fans to congregate and cheer on the race from close-up. Additionally, fans can watch the race from the grandstand, which includes indoor facilities and a clubhouse for VIPs.

To cover the indoor/outdoor arena, Blaylock has deployed roughly 50 Ruckus ZoneFlex 802.11n dual-band access points (APs) managed by a centralized wireless LAN controller. The APs located in the infield section are mounted in tents and will connect to Ethernet switches and fiber and copper cabling installed underground.

The Ruckus ZoneFlex wireless LAN system features Ruckus' patented adaptive antenna array, innovative technology that delivers dramatic improvements in Wi-Fi signal range, reliability and performance – as well as the ability for smart wireless networks to automatically adapt to environmental changes.

"The Ruckus gear was different in that it delivers a strong and more focused signal to each client," said Blaylock. "The integrated antenna array adapts to changes in the environment allowing signals to literally follow users wherever they go," said Blaylock.

Pimlico is the latest of several public venues throughout the U.S. and abroad that have selected Ruckus Smart Wi-Fi to support their needs for a high-capacity, high-performance wireless network, including the Sundance Film Festival (Park City, UT), Asia World Expo (Hong Kong), The G-20 Economic Summit (Washington, DC), Georgia World Congress Center (Atlanta, GA), Imtech Arena (Hamburg, Germany), La Cite Nantes Events Center (France), NovaCare Complex (home of the Philadelphia Eagles) and the Ontario Convention Center (Ontario, Calif.).

About the Maryland Jockey Club

The Maryland Jockey Club is the oldest sporting organization in North America, established in 1743. It owns and operates Maryland's two major thoroughbred tracks, Pimlico Race Course in Baltimore - the home of the Preakness Stakes, the middle jewel in thoroughbred racing's Triple Crown - and Laurel Park, located in Laurel, Md., midway between Baltimore and Washington, D.C. MJC runs 220 live thoroughbred racing dates a year at Pimlico and Laurel. Through ownership of the Maryland-Virginia Racing Circuit, Inc., MJC manages Colonial Downs in New Kent, Va., and its network of OTB facilities in Virginia. Colonial Downs is Virginia's only major horse racing facility and runs approximately 26 days of live thoroughbred racing in the summer when live racing is not conducted at Pimlico or Laurel. MJC also owns and operates the Bowie Training Center in Bowie, Md., and manages a network of three OTB facilities in Maryland.

Believe Wireless Broadband

Headquartered in Baltimore, Maryland, Believe Wireless Broadband offers High Speed Internet Access, Wi-Fi Hotspots, Point-to-Point links and VOIP services.  Founded in 2002, Believe Wireless Broadband has been offering solutions to small and large businesses and local and federal government.

About Ruckus Wireless, Inc.

Headquartered in Silicon Valley, Ruckus Wireless is supplier of advanced wireless systems for the mobile Internetworking market. The company markets and manufactures a wide range of indoor and outdoor "Smart Wi-Fi" products for mobile operators, broadband service providers and corporate enterprises around the world. Ranked as the top telecom company in the 2009 Inc. Magazine 500 list and named a World Economic Forum Technology Pioneer, Ruckus Wireless has realized dramatic growth. Since 2006, revenue and shipments have grown by over 1000 percent. Ruckus invented, and has patented, innovative state-of-the-art wireless technology that steers signals around obstacles and interference. This unique capability extends signal range and ensures consistent reliable distribution of delay-sensitive multimedia content and services over standard 802.11 Wi-Fi. The company has shipped over 2 million Smart Wi-Fi systems around the world and has raised $51 million in funding from premier investors.

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SOURCE Ruckus Wireless, Inc.