When ARQ took on a complete build of a major Southern California sports and entertainment venue in early 2014, its team of highly skilled and experienced engineers and electricians knew the stakes were high.
The venue is busy year-round with capacity crowds of more than 25,000 people for professional sports, concerts and special events – all posting high-definition videos and photos from their smart phones and mobile devices. This high demand for data required a top-notch Distributed Antenna System (DAS), which is ARQ’s specialty, in a building that had no existing wireless network.
ARQ designs, installs and maintains some of the most advanced and efficient wireless communications networks in the world for structures of all shapes, sizes and uses, but this venue stands out because it provided some unique challenges over the course of the six-month project.
The original design was for six sectors – antennas that would carry AT&T, Verizon and Sprint radio frequency signals within the seating area of the arena. But at the request of one of the carriers, the DAS was expanded to cover 12 sectors within the venue. That doubling of the network required a complete redesign while the project was underway.
There were also many aesthetic requirements that ARQ had to follow, including customizing mounts for the antennas and outfitting the arena’s massive pedestrian corridors with antennas, wires and fiber-optic cables that would be virtually unnoticeable to the thousands who would pass by it each day.
Because this was a turnkey project, another one of ARQ’s specialties, it owned the whole operation from beginning to end. All planning, designing, cabling, installation and maintenance of the network was handled by ARQ’s skilled and experienced installation team.
They built a 2,000-square-foot head-end room to store all of the DAS equipment in the only available space beneath the grandstands, so no one could see it and it wouldn’t disrupt the revenue-generating operations of the venue. ARQ outfitted the room with a waterproof membrane that protects it and the valuable electronics inside from water that could leak down from the seating area. It was an unusual challenge that was unique to this particular venue because unlike most indoor arenas, which sweep the seats and aisles after each game or concert, this one hoses them down with water to clean them. ARQ also built HVAC, fire-suppression and security systems for this important room.
ARQ takes public safety seriously, and maintaining connectivity during a crisis is always a top priority. Because the arena is in Southern California, it is vulnerable to an earthquake or blackout. ARQ addressed these issues by mounting each antenna with a chain that tethers it to the ceiling. If an earthquake shakes it from the structure, it would remain positioned in a spot that keeps the network intact and people safe during the chaos of the natural disaster.
It is a critical feature because more than 70 percent of all emergency calls are made within structures from mobile phones, and those calls have to reach the outside world in order to alert authorities if there is a medical problem, an accident or even a fire or natural disaster. Also, the wireless network maintains the open radio frequency communication between first responders – such as police, fire or emergency medical technicians – who are deployed to help someone in need. Without a strong communications system, lives could be endangered if something were to go wrong during a game or concert.
Usually with large-scale indoor wireless networks such as this, there are at least a couple of issues that need correction. However, this installation from ARQ received the coveted “zero punchlist” upon the initial walk-through from one of the nation’s biggest telecommunications companies. Not a single thing needed to be adjusted.
The network is still up and running to this day and is responsible for a massive amount of data transmissions from one of Southern California’s most popular sports and entertainment venues.