These days, part of watching anything on TV—sporting event or otherwise—is dicking around on your phone or tablet. For people attending the Super Bowl this year, it'll be no different; the New Orleans Superdome will have a robust Wi-Fi network. Ars Technica has looked into the details, and it takes a lot of work to keep that sucker humming. That includes hunting down illicit devices.
The Superdome's Wi-Fi networks is designed to handle some 30,000 simultaneous connections, and theoretically that should be enough. The issue is that "rogue devices" could screw that up, spewing competing waves all over the place. That's why Super Bowl attendees will have to submit their electronics to frequency scan before bringing them in. Any gadgets that could attempt to operate on the same frequency the Superdome's Wi-Fi setup aims to monopolize won't be getting in.
Dave Stewart, the IT guy in charge of the Superdome's network put it this way to Ars Technica:
Imagine if you were to bring in a wireless camera and that wireless camera is tuned to the 2.4GHz frequency range [also used by Wi-Fi] and is continually broadcasting a signal. Anything that's going to operate in the same frequency range has the potential to cause interference. Some of those interfering devices are minimal, but others are impactful.
It's a tough job to try to keep that Wi-Fi network running nicely under such a huge load, but without it, an increasingly important element of modern-day sports-watchin' would be missing from the big game. After all, there's a whole lot of time during the Super Bowl—during any football game—when nothing is actually happening, and the tweetosphere is going to be hopping, and who wants to miss that?
This is the first time the Superdome's Wi-Fi will be publicly advertised as available to all fans, no password or anything. And at the Super Bowl, no less. Talk about a baptism by fire. You can read more about the crazy logistics of the whole thing over at Ars Technica. It's a pretty wild endeavor. You can put bets on the game, sure, but where do I bet on whether or not the Wi-Fi goes down? [Ars Technica]