UniFi delivers ‘rocking’ Wi-Fi at SA’s largest music festival

UniFi delivers ‘rocking’ Wi-Fi at SA’s largest music festival

Rocking the Daisies is the largest Music Festival in South Africa with 25 000 attendees, located at Cloof Wine Estate in the Western Cape.

Last year, Vodacom partnered with Steyn Entertainment for a 2nd year in a row to provide a managed internet connectivity solution to the production teams, media, local and international artists, Nutickets Gates access and Nutickets NFC tags top-up stations for the festival.

The great task at hand was to design, build and manage the entire solution over 10 days.

The hardware used:

1x Ubiquiti 5GHz AirMax AC Sector Antenna 120degree

8x Nano beam AC 19dbm

4x Power Beam M5 400 (legacy hardware from RTD2015)

4x Unifi Outdoor+

6x Unifi AP Pro

3x Unifi AC Pro

1x Mikrotik Cloud Core CCR1009-8G1S

1x Mini desktop PC with Unifi Controller software

1x Mobile Cow (Mobile base station) providing 80Mbit/s DIA microwave link (where the 5Ghz AirMax AC is located)

 

There were 13 hotspots located throughout the festival with the longest range of around 1.7km & main area was a radius of roughly 400m. Configuration of the Access Points & Nano Beam units was pretty simple, each AP gets VLAN’s & 2-3 SSID’s depending on where it is located. (The Unifi controller software is pretty awesome)

 

The MikroTik Cloud Core handled the VLAN/DHCP, firewall & bandwidth management. It was placed in the production office & then later moved to the COW as that was the central point of all connectivity.

 

Where things get tricky is that the construction team needs to smash 2m poles into the ground & attach clamps to a 3m pole where the radio link would be attached to. The main gate Wi-Fi needed to cater for around 25-50 devices that would scan 25 000 tickets and update databases as festival goers enter the venue. Here the AC-Pro was used in the tent and a Nano Beam on a 5m pole just to be able to get line of sight to the COW. What made this simple is that the AP injector and NB injector were located at the same power point as the LAN cable plugs from one injector to another and no other hardware was needed at all.

 

Soft check, where accreditation is done for the vendors/crew was located 1.7km away from the main gate, had an AP-PRO and Nano Beam with around 10 devices connected into a cargo container.

 

The NuTickets Control Command where updates and backups was run on the 600 NFC readers that were used at all the vendors for a cashless environment. In total there were around 27 000 NFC tags being used. So you didn’t need a credit card or cash in hand to buy food, alcohol and or clothing.

 

The main stage provided a problem with everything working right up until the event started, there seemed to be an insane amount of interference. The Nano Beam link was moved from a 5m pole and attached to the main stage which required someone certified to climb up and fasten it to the structure as it was a health and safety risk. From there about a 50m cable ran down and into an Outdoor+ which seemed to help.

 

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