Game on: Networking win for South Pine Sports Complex

On court, every second counts. Off the court, scoring each game, and live streaming the big ones, matters, too. It’s why major sporting facilities like South Pine Sports Association Complex need fast, effective networking that doesn’t miss a beat. To deliver, South Pine turned to Centra Networks and Aruba Instant On. 

“We don’t have the budget of large enterprises, but we still need a network that spans a vast space and enables us to operate without disruption or security risk. And we need a system simple enough for staff to manage in-house. We got all this and more from the Aruba Instant On networking solution, delivered by Centra Networks.”
Gerry See
President South Pine Sports Complex

In December 2019, the notfor-profit South Pine Sports Complex underwent a major $18 million renovation and upgrade, almost tripling its size by the time the project was completed in April 2021. Today, it’s one of the largest sporting complexes of its kind in Australia, with 17 different playing fields and 18 different sports ranging from netball and basketball to synchronised roller-dancing.

Equipped for state and national events, including wheelchair and handicapped sports, as well as meetings, functions, and expos, South Pine Sports Complex sees around 10,000 people pass through its doors each week.

Most of these people – whether directly or indirectly – need reliable Wi-Fi. And sporting groups and the admin team need enterprise-grade networking for a whole range of other services. To deliver on these needs, South Pine Sports Complex called on Centra to implement the simple and affordable Aruba Instant On solution.

ChallengeSolving the complex networking needs of a huge site

The massive expansion of South Pine Sports Complex created an immediate need for an affordable networking solution that could cope with the various demands of different users within the facility. Sports teams need dependable Wi-Fi for live scoring of games on iPads. Teenagers ‘need’ access to free Wi-Fi to stay connected to friends and family between games. Centre administrators need the ability to operate systems such as security cameras. With the new building spanning 150 metres from end to end, designing and implementing a reliable networking solution was going to be a challenge in itself. Add the fact that, as a not-forprofit organisation, South Pine Sports Complex had a limited budget, and the stakes were even higher.

According to Matthew Militano, Technical Director Centra the priority was not so much on bandwidth – as the data load is not particularly large – but on the dependability of coverage throughout the complex to avoid any disruption to things like the live scoring of games. “Our focus was not so much about speed, but rather to ensure that if a person scoring with an iPad moved from one side of the court to the other, their coverage wouldn’t drop off.”

As well as reliability, the networking solution needed to be incredibly user-friendly. Admin staff needed the easy ability to manage and update guest passwords, as well as the ability to control access speeds – for example, to give kids and spectators a limited share of the bandwidth so their casual usage wouldn’t affect overall network performance for officials and administrators.

And, given that the complex is open from about 6am to 10:30pm, seven days a week, the system needed to provide simple, secure ways for the management team to troubleshoot issues from anywhere, anytime.

“We needed a detailed solution to fit our Wi-Fi requirements. It’s a complex site in terms of its size, not to mention the networking and Wi-Fi needs, which include security cameras, a significant PA system, fully integrated lighting, scoreboards, screens between courts, and more.”
Matthew Militano
Technical Director Centra

SolutionBringing their networking A-game

With these unique challenges in mind, South Pine Sports Complex turned to Centra Networks, who recommended Aruba Instant On. While Aruba is most known for its large enterprise solutions, Aruba Instant On provides a range of simple, secure, enterprise-grade solutions for indoor and outdoor use – making it ideal for a use case like this.

The Centra Networks team knew that behind Aruba Instant On’s simplicity and ease-of-use lay some powerful features. The Aruba Instant On solution uses multiple Wi-Fi access points to deliver a strong signal across the site. With in-built flexibility and the easy ability to add new access points, plus complete control via the Aruba Instant On App, it gives South Pines Sports Complex reliable, secure networking at an affordable price.

Centra Networks provided a detailed solution to overcome unique site issues – such as the sheer size and scale of the building, the need to run fibre up and down extremely high divider walls, and the integration of lighting and scoreboards. Not to mention the risk of damage to Wi-Fi access points from wayward basketballs, which Centra Networks solved by providing steel-framed wall mounts for each access point.

The solution includes:

  • 23 x Aruba Instant On AP22 Wireless Access Points
  • 6 x Aruba Instant On 24- and 48-port switches
  • Fibre between all switches

Features to facilitate easier management and control include:

  • The Aruba Instant On App, which comes with automatic updates and alerts
  • Enterprise-grade security, featuring two-factor authentication and five VLANS
  • Content filtering, to prevent inappropriate content from being accessed by users of the network
  • Notifications and alerts to Centra Networks whenever issues arise, even after hours

The entire internal space is now fully networked, with Wi-Fi from corner to corner. The system can handle whatever sporting groups throw at it. “During peak periods, we’ve typically got about 600 devices accessing  the network, and it all runs without a hitch,” said Matthew Militano, Technical Director Centra.

BenefitsScoring big wins with future-proofed networking

Feedback from players, scorers, spectators and all the other people that move through the facility each week has been exceptional. From an admin perspective, it’s a big win, too. “The system has made administrative life a lot easier. We can control the lighting from the front desk. Monitor the whole complex via CCTV. Proactively manage bandwidth usage by guests. And more,” said Gerry See, President South Pine Sports Complex.

“All our use cases are catered for with Aruba Instant On. From daily management of the equipment linked to the network, to heftier demands on the system such as recording or live-streaming of major games, the network system manages all demands across the complex.”

“It’s great quality, with no dropouts, no stutter. Just seamless connectivity.”

And the demands keep growing. As technology continues to improve, so too will the load. “For example, basketball games are now recorded and every participant receives a video link to watch and share the game from home. These videos even come with highlights packages of every player – so if your kid scored a three-pointer, it’s right there for you,” he said.

South Pine Sports Complex wanted an affordable, reliable and flexible networking solution for its massive facility. “We got what we asked for and so much more from Centra and Aruba Instant On.”

Have questions? We have answers.

Centra Networks premium dedicated hosting platform has delivered to Sundown the ability for all sites and users to work in real time and for all line managers and executives to effectively collaborate working with the same data no matter what site they operate form.

Gary Lederhose
Group Accountant , Sundown Pastoral Co

Centra Networks provides full IT management from the server to all workstations, printers and vendor management that provides process driven, reliable and effective support RQYS needs.

Peter Coddington
CFO, Royal Queensland Yacht Squadron