Ruckus Wireless in pole position for Le Mans 24 Hours
Ruckus Wireless is proud to have been selected official technology supplier to the Le Mans 24 Hours race. The company has a solid track record in the deployment of Wi-Fi networks in extreme conditions, such as the Winter X Games Europe and the WOMAD festivals. However the brief from the ACO, the organizers of Le Mans 24 Hours, was challenging. Ruckus was given the job of unwiring the press room of one of motorsport’s most prestigious events and supplying it with 100% reliable Wi-Fi.
So how did it go?
Paris & Sunnyvale, Calif., 3rd July 2012 – “We didn’t have a precise idea of what we needed. We just wanted it to work !” says Fabrice Gérard, IT manager for the ACO (the body which organizes Le Mans 24 Hours), as he reflects on an issue which had been a headache for his team in recent years.
And yet the initial brief was simple in its intention: remove the hundreds of wires that connected the paddocks, the stands, the press room and so on, and replace them with a Wi-Fi network. Unaware of the challenge that lay before them, a number of networking integrators submitted solutions which were, on paper, very attractive. But not one of them succeeded in passing the ultimate test: the extreme conditions of Le Mans 24 Hours.
“A normal race is easy to handle. You’ve got a dozen journalists needing Internet access in the press room and some radio connections to bear in mind,” says Fabrice Gérard. “During the main racing weekend of Le Mans 24 Hours we’ve got 1,300 journalists and more than a hundred private Wi-Fi networks to deal with. It’s total anarchy.”
It’s a situation where if it can happen, it will happen. Nevertheless the information has to get through.
“If you can identify the problem, you’re half way to finding the solution,” says Richard Mézière, manager of Illico Réseau, the integration partner of Ruckus Wireless responsible for the installation and management of the network at the race track. “Users never give us much to go on. They’ll just say, ‘It doesn’t work’! Which is where the Ruckus system comes into its own because it allows us to monitor precisely how the network is dealing with the workload, what the possible failures might be and what provoked them.”
Expecting the unexpected
There are very few knowables in a motor-racing event such as this.
“Let’s be clear, we cannot say where are Wi-Fi clients are going to be and what their bandwidth requirements will be. It’s the same for the press room. We can’t forecast peaks and troughs in user traffic, it all depends on what happens in the race,” explains Richard Mézière. “With so many variables in play, we couldn’t deploy a classic infrastructure.”
Le Mans 24 Hours makes two key requirements, which prevent the use of a standard solution:
– redundancy in critical areas of the site to ensure optimal service whatever the surrounding conditions; and
– most of the hotspots must be mobile so the network can be adapted, in real time, to requirements on the ground.
The ACO chose Ruckus Wireless’s BeamFlex technology to do the job. The Le Mans 24 Hours organizers saw it as the best possible technology for dealing with the various sources of interference around the race track, such as unofficial Wi-Fi networks and radio communications between the drivers and their support teams.
BeamFlex is a patented and proprietary technology of Ruckus Wireless. It is a smart, compact antenna array with multiple elements which directs transmit energy towards the best path for the receiving device. It enables the Wi-Fi signal to be adapted in real time to avoid the problems that beset networks in extreme conditions.
Demand for a Wi-Fi network is a recent phenomenon. It all started about three years ago when the technology improved and its deployment gained momentum. Since then, visiting press, sponsors and competing teams at the circuit consider it normal to have Wi-Fi Internet access at their disposal during the race. For the organizers, reliable Wi-Fi coverage is also an effective way of stopping the deployment of unscrupulous Wi-Fi provision.
“When we presented our solution in 2011, it was to a wary audience which had experienced a number of disappointing solutions,” remembers Andrew Bartram, sales manager at Ruckus Wireless. “We made them a simple offer: we deploy a Ruckus solution at reduced cost during the Le Mans 24 Hours and then let the ACO decide. It was a complete success. Six months later we started negotiations to carry our business relationship forward. Today, Ruckus Wireless is proud to have deployed a successful Wi-Fi network where other suppliers failed. We are also proud to be serving the needs of a race that holds such a prestigious place in the history of motorsport.”
About Ruckus Wireless, Inc.
Headquartered in Silicon Valley, Ruckus Wireless is a supplier of advanced wireless systems for the explosive 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 by Inc. Magazine and named a World Economic Forum Technology Pioneer, Ruckus invented and has patented state-of-the-art wireless technology, such as adaptive antenna arrays that focus and direct Wi-Fi transmissions over the best signal path, automatically avoiding sources of Wi-Fi interference. These unique capabilities extend signal range, increase client data rates and ensure consistent and reliable distribution of delay-sensitive multimedia content and services over standard 802.11 Wi-Fi. With over 55 patents, 12,000 customers, and 4,000 solution partners worldwide, Ruckus employs over 450 staff in 22 countries. To date, the company has shipped over 3 million Smart Wi-Fi systems around the world to over 12,000 enterprise and carrier customers. For more information, visit Ruckus Wireless at http://www.ruckuswireless.com.