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Overview of the Project

In 2019 AdaptiveComms were awarded a 3 year contract by Sefton Council to provide outdoor Wi-Fi services to the Southport Air Show to facilitate point-of-sale and electronic wristband check areas all across the event locale, grant internet access to the event control services, and provide phone lines to Air Traffic Control which is critical for the event.

The Southport Air Show attracts up to around 100,000 visitors each year, and the contracted wifi solution was required to be robust, reliable and secure with good coverage. It needed to work around nearby steel structures including buildings, fairground rides, event structures/platforms and high metal crowd management barriers.

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Planning and Preparation

A project of this size required a lot of careful planning, preparation and testing, to ensure services were as reliable and efficient as possible on the day. Meetings were attended early on between ourselves and event organisers to agree a firm and accurate view of requirements and locations that needed servicing, and also safety aspects that needed to be followed regarding the public nature of the event. Discussions also took place between ourselves and local business/landowners where we had to service connections via their properties. We also carried out research and spoke to vendors and suppliers about the latest technologies and equipment to achieve our goals.

Once we had a clear view of what was required and what the technology could achieve, we proceeded to devise a plan for the whole event area with maps, diagrams and data to plot the directions, ranges and channel separation of the Wi-Fi equipment to maximise coverage and minimise cross-channel interference and potential line of sight issues. This plan was developed and revised with data collected by our engineers conducting field surveys for line-of-sight and radio frequency testing of the airspace throughout the event locale.

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Implementation

The Wi-Fi network would consist of a number of outdoor 2.4GHz access points distributed throughout the 3.5km event space, fed by a fast wireless point-to-multipoint 5GHz backbone originating from a high vantage point on the seafront, which gave a great line-of-sight to the majority of the event space. The event space was further split up into 7 serviceable zones, each with its own stations and requirements.

In the months leading up to the event, AdaptiveComms engineers carried out extensive zone-by-zone field testing of the equipment to ensure it would work as planned on the days of the event. Minor optimisation adjustments were made to equipment settings and positioning according to the test data collected.

In the days leading up to the event, our engineers delivered and set up all the equipment to the event space and carried out final testing with the event staff carrying out ticket sales and wristband checks. During the event, we had engineers present on-site at all times for support and to constantly monitor the system’s performance.

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Debrief and Analysis

This project was a great success at the 2019 Southport Air Show, and was praised by Sefton Council, event organisers and event staff alike, who all agreed the Wi-Fi had performed very well with no complaints or significant issues raised. Things went so well our engineers even managed to find time to take some photographs of the event as shown on this page!

Unfortunately, the Southport Air Show was cancelled in 2020 and 2021 due to Covid 19, but we can’t wait for it to be back in July 2022!

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