Ohio State football fans will now be able to call, text and post online while attending games, as improved Wi-Fi connection is expected to be available for the opening game against Florida Atlantic on Aug. 31, according to a university press release.
The $10.5 million project, which began in January, will eventually include expanded Wi-Fi availability in the Schottenstein Center.
“Those involved — the Design Team, Osborn Engineering, Smoot Construction, Ohio Electric, Kastle and Ampthink — knew how important expanded coverage in the stadium was for our fans and they have worked efficiently and quickly to get this installation completed,” senior associate athletics director and chief information officer Jim Null said in the release.
By the Oct. 4 project completion date, 47 miles of wire, 4,018 antennas and 2,009 access points will have been installed in Ohio Stadium.
“Ten access points could typically cover an area the size of the stadium,” Null said. “But we needed significantly more to service the Wi-Fi needs of so many fans in close proximity, plus ticketing functions and the press box, suites, club rooms, concourses and outdoor areas.”
Sela MacDonald, a first-year in neuroscience who went to five games each season while growing up in Dublin, Ohio, said it was frustrating that cellular service and Wi-Fi didn’t work in or around the stadium, even an hour before games.
The new installation addresses what MacDonald said was a potential security issue.
“That’s really exciting because, especially being a first-year, it’s scary being in a crowd that big, and I can contact people and I won’t have to worry about not knowing how to get places, or texting people,” MacDonald said.
Second-year civil engineering student Adriana Pinero described the game day phone service as a “dead zone.”
“I once had an online ticket and I couldn’t even pull it up on my phone,” Pinero said. “I had to go someplace that had Wi-Fi, screenshot it, then come back.”
This project was part of a broader $18.6 million plan to expand Wi-Fi connection across all Ohio State campuses, which was approved by the Board of Trustees in April 2018.
The total Wi-Fi expansion is expected to feature the installation of 23,000 access points in 500 buildings and 180 outdoor areas across the state.