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Rutgers Athletics, OIT partner to bring Wi-Fi to SHI Stadium student section

Rutgers football is on the come up, and now the university is making sure students can share it all during their in-game experience with newly-upgraded Wi-Fi capabilities and increased bandwidth in the student section.

From the moment that students step off the bus, right up through the gates of the stadium, on the south concourse, and to their seats, their devices will be connected to RUWireless Secure to post, watch clips, scroll through social media, and more.

Athletics IT partnered with the Office of Information Technology (OIT) to bring network connectivity to thousands of students watching games live in SHI Stadium for this season.

“Our goal was always to get the students online faster with better service, so they can post to Instagram, make TikToks, and be able to do everything to capture this experience from the stands,” said Jonathan Beal, systems administrator at Rutgers Athletics.

The planning period for the project started this past March before breaking ground at the stadium in June. Delays in receiving equipment made it a tight push for the season, as the Athletics IT team was placed deep in the queue on backorder for wireless access points.

OIT was able to assist by loaning the needed wireless access points to Athletics so they could complete their project in time for this season.

“OIT was dedicated to ensuring this project was ready for the first game”, said Adrienne Esposito, Director of OIT.

Despite adversity with delays and even some damage to the installed equipment from Tropical Storm Ida, which had also forced Rutgers football to push back its home opener two days, the Wi-Fi setup was up and running for the first game against Temple on September 4.

The current student section was added to the stadium as part of the 2008-09 renovations to the south side of the stadium, making it the perfect place to start an in-stadium setup for network connection. There are 180 wireless access points under the seats, and since this portion of the stadium was an add-on, the space below the section is largely open air, which allowed for easier access for drilling and installing equipment.

Approximately 2,500 devices on average have been connected to the network in the stadium at any given time during the games this season, marking a successful launch to Wi-Fi in the student section.

“Everyone is pleased,” said Joe Vassilatos, unit computing manager at Rutgers Athletics. “We hit our target and we’ve heard nothing but positive feedback so far.”

To be able to access Wi-Fi in the stadium, students need to already have their devices properly onboarded to RUWireless Secure. The next step in the process for the Athletics IT team is enabling RUWireless so devices can be onboarded in-stadium and guests can also connect to the network.

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