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HPE Deploys Athonet's Private 5G at Ryder Cup – The Critical Communications Review

Source: The Critical Communications Review | Gert Jan Wolf editor
Hewlett Packard Enterprise deploys groundbreaking integrated private 5G and Wi-Fi network at the 2023 Ryder Cup

HPE delivers Athonet private 5G solution alongside HPE Aruba Networking Wi-Fi technology for the first time, providing exceptional connectivity for fans and operations staff.

Hewlett Packard Enterprise (NYSE: HPE) announced it has deployed an integrated private 5G and Wi-Fi network at the 2023 Ryder Cup, showcasing the future of wireless connectivity. Combining the private 5G technology of Athonet, a Hewlett Packard Enterprise acquisition, and HPE Aruba Networking’s Wi-Fi technology for the first time will deliver new ultra-secure capabilities, greatly expanded coverage, and enhanced fan and staff experiences at an unprecedented scale at one of the world’s most prestigious sporting events.
The global golf event being held at Marco Simone Golf & Country Club in Rome, Italy, September 25 – October 1, presents unique connectivity challenges to the organizers. The golf course, which covers 370 acres of archaeologically protected countryside, has been transformed into one of the world’s largest temporary sports stadiums that is set to host 250,000 spectators during the event. With fans and event staff requiring ubiquitous high-bandwidth connectivity at all times throughout the venue, the vision to deliver an innovative, state-of-the-art wireless network was paramount for organizers.
To meet the critical connectivity requirements of the Ryder Cup, HPE designed a groundbreaking integrated Wi-Fi and private 5G network. Wi-Fi predominantly provides the high-capacity connectivity required for thousands of fans congregating in popular areas. Private 5G provides wide-area coverage to more remote parts of the golf course, as well as a secure private network dedicated to critical operations staff. A network design like this provides a preview into the future of private networking and is an early realization of HPE’s vision when it acquired Athonet in June 2023.
“Each Ryder Cup gives us an opportunity to push the boundaries of technological innovation to maximize the fan experience, so it is really exciting to be breaking genuinely new ground with the combination of world-class Wi-Fi and private 5G technology,” said Michael Cole, chief technology officer of the European Tour group and Ryder Cup Europe. “Private 5G brings huge operational benefits in particular, providing us with a fully private network that will be unaffected by the crowd’s high demand for high-bandwidth applications. It gives us full course coverage for cellular devices providing critical services like security, stewarding, ticketing, and scoring that might have otherwise relied on the under pressure local telecoms networks.”
“When we announced our acquisition of Athonet earlier this year, our goal was to become the global leader in private 5G solutions and the Ryder Cup is a perfect opportunity to showcase how our Wi-Fi and private 5G innovations work together to achieve that goal,” said Phil Mottram, executive vice president & general manager, HPE Aruba Networking. “This is a perfect showcase for the integration of private 5G and Wi-Fi in a challenging environment, with private 5G providing extended range and reliability for operations staff, while Wi-Fi 6E provides high-capacity connectivity to thousands of fans concentrated in core areas.”
Driving the Ryder Cup forward with innovation
A high-performance Wi-Fi network powered by HPE Aruba Networking continues to provide the main source of connectivity for organizers, competitors, sponsors, and spectators. The higher throughput capacity of a densely deployed Wi-Fi 6 and Wi-Fi 6E network is the optimal solution for crowded spaces like the clubhouse, and hospitality and retail venues, as well as spectator grandstands. Furthermore, devices like laptops and tablets often cannot connect to cellular networks, and roaming agreements between public and private cellular networks are in their infancy.
The network leverages the latest Wi-Fi 6 and Wi-Fi 6E technologies, delivering twice as much capacity as Paris 2018 via more than 800 Wi-Fi access points. The backbone of the network is built on 200 HPE Aruba Networking CX switches with AI-powered HPE Aruba Networking Central for network management providing a single point of visibility and control across the entire network. The dashboard within HPE Aruba Networking Central also provides AI-powered insights into what’s happening across the entire environment from a network troubleshooting, optimization, and security perspective. HPE Aruba Networking ClearPass then provides secure, efficient access control and onboarding for improved spectator experience across the Wi-Fi infrastructure. Running the network and compute environment from the HPE GreenLake edge-to-cloud platform means less equipment is required on site and it is more cost effective and quicker to deploy and manage.
The private 5G network covers the golf course with one radio mast located in a central location powered by the Athonet Tactical Cube, a compact and mobile private cellular solution for mission-critical applications. Private 5G provides backhaul connectivity to solar-powered Wi-Fi access points in more remote parts of the golf course, extending the coverage of the Wi-Fi network without the need for cabling. This is important as, due to archaeological reasons, cables cannot be buried in certain parts of the site. Private 5G also provides a secure, segmented network for delay and capacity sensitive critical operations that need guaranteed bandwidth, such as security, stewarding, and transport.
Italy has allocated all 5G spectrum to mobile service providers, so spectrum is not normally available direct to enterprises, but the Italian Government made an exception for the Ryder Cup. The Ministry of Communications has given access to the 3.8 GHz band, which is perfect for 5G because it can carry plenty of data while traveling significant distances. To realize the potential of private 5G around the world, governments can play an important role in empowering enterprises, telcos, and technology vendors by making spectrum available for new, innovative use cases such as at the Ryder Cup.
On Social Media (LinkedIn)
“We aren’t just delivering connectivity but the most intelligent experience for any temporary sporting event in history.” – Michael Cole, CTO of Ryder Cup. “We want to surprise the world with technology” says Gianluca Verin, Athonet co-founder, of our Ryder Cup deployment. Our $Private5G network is the digital transformation engine running unseen and unheard behind the scenes but delivering the seamless digital connectivity needed for an event like this!
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