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Sunnyvale, U.S.A. – Ruckus Wireless announced on July 23 that The New York Racing Association (NYRA) has selected and deployed its Smart Wi-Fi products and technology at Saratoga Race Course in Saratoga Springs, NY, the oldest horseracing track in the United States.
The new Wi-Fi network, designed to support daily crowds of up to 40,000 spectators, was installed in time for the July 20, 2012 opening of Saratoga Race Course’s 144 th horseracing season, a 40-day meet which lasts until September 3.
NYRA, operator of the 149-year-old Saratoga Race Course, sought out a high-performance, high-capacity Wi-Fi network to support, for the first time, its new mobile on-track wagering system, which allows patrons to place bets in real-time on their smartphones, right from their seats. In addition, the Ruckus-powered network will be used for operation of wireless ticket scanners at the course’s entrance, and provide wireless Internet access throughout the 350-acre race track, including indoors at the main clubhouse, restaurants, and other facilities, as well as the outdoor track, seating areas, and large picnic grounds.
“Saratoga Race Course is one of the premier tracks in the country, and has been a place where racing fans and spectators have enjoyed the sport for nearly a century and a half,” said Tom Thill, CIO for NYRA.
“In very recent years we’ve seen the number of smartphones and mobile devices in use increase dramatically, and we knew we needed to deliver a wireless experience of the same caliber that we’ve always been committed to at the track. Putting the Ruckus infrastructure in place was extremely easy, especially with the help of our solutions partner, Deep Blue Communications,” he said.
Smart Wi-Fi joins winner’s circle at Saratoga
Prior to implementing the Ruckus infrastructure, the wireless network at Saratoga comprised just a few legacy access points and was used only among staff for internal communications.
“With such a broad area to cover – both indoors and outdoors – as well as huge peaks in usage, it was really challenging to find the right solution that could meet all our requirements,” said Thill. “With its dynamic antenna technology, and ease of use and management, the Ruckus system performed superbly and gives us the support needed for future applications like live video simulcasting, digital signage and more.”
After evaluating several wireless LAN vendors and their integration partners, NYRA chose the Ruckus ZoneFlex system, to be installed and managed by Albany, NY-based Deep Blue Communications, a premier Ruckus BIG DOG partner.
“We’ve worked closely with Ruckus and relied on its Smart Wi-Fi portfolio to power many high-density Wi-Fi networks for clients, including several in the hospitality industry,” said Brian Epstein, president of Deep Blue. “Given what NYRA needed, we knew right away that Ruckus was the perfect solution. It turns out NYRA thought so too.”
To provide high-capacity, high-performance coverage to the entire 350-acre site, NYRA, along with Deep Blue Communications, has deployed 45 ZoneFlex dual-band, 802.11n APs, a combination of indoor and outdoor units, managed by redundant ZoneDirector 5000 wireless LAN controllers.
Integrating patented adaptive antenna technology, the Ruckus ZoneFlex system is designed to overcome the physical and technical challenges of delivering high-capacity, high-performance access to indoor and outdoor areas which are prone to interference or which pose physical barriers to signal penetration for seamless connections. By focusing and directing Wi-Fi signals over the best signal path, the ZoneFlex system is the only one on the market that automatically avoids interference to ensure consistent performance and high throughput.
Deep Blue Communications is overseeing and managing the Smart Wi-Fi network with the Ruckus ZoneDirector centralized controller. The ZoneDirector 5000 enables Deep Blue to optimize network performance through advanced and automated capabilities such as band steering, airtime fairness, per user client thresholds, dynamic (performance-based) channel assignment, and dynamic and configurable client load balancing.
“With the scalability and reliability that the Ruckus system delivers, our new mobile on-track wagering system will provide a significant revenue stream for us, while also helping the racecourse maintain its reputation as a top destination for watching state-of-the-art horseracing,” said Thill.