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United rolls out new Wi-Fi system at Old Trafford

Featured image credit: Rob Ridley

Manchester United fully rolled out its new Wi-Fi system at Old Trafford last night as its Premier League season began with a 1-0 win against Wolverhampton Wanderers.

United has worked with cloud-driven networking company Extreme Networks to fit the new system, which is designed to enhance connectivity for fans on match days. Extreme Networks was named United’s official Wi-Fi network solutions provider and Wi-Fi analytics provider in January 2022 as part of a multi-year deal.

United said the system, which uses under-seat Wi-Fi 6 technology, has seen over 1,600 access points installed, making it the largest project of its kind in the UK. Over 4,000 holes have been drilled, over 10,000 seats temporarily removed and replaced, and over 90 miles of cabling installed across the Old Trafford.

The roll-out of the new system last night came after test events were held in the closing games of last season, when over 120,000 fans benefited from more reliable connections.

The new system received mixed reviews on social media last night, with some fans saying that the Wi-Fi worked seamlessly and others unable to connect. Fans are required to select ‘OldTraffordWi-Fi’ on their device and enter their email on the log-on page to connect to the Wi-Fi.

Extreme Networks will support United in accessing real-time network analytics to drive more personalised and informed decisions around the fan experience and overall venue operations.

Attiq Qureshi, United’s chief digital information officer, said: “We are delighted to be supported by Extreme Networks to deliver world-class connectivity to our fans within the Theatre of Dreams. Old Trafford is steeped in history, however it is vital we keep innovating with the best possible modern digital solutions which allow us to improve the overall matchday fan experience.

“The next generation of connectivity at Old Trafford will provide the club with a great platform for future digital innovation as well as help the club better understand the wants and needs of our huge fan base.”

Norman Rice, chief operating officer of Extreme Networks, added: “The network is at the heart of every organisation, whether you’re a hospital serving patients both in clinics and at home, a manufacturer leaning into warehouse automation or a sports franchise playing in a 113-year-old stadium. With functions from EMS services to retail stores, a stadium on game day is like a small smart city, and the network supports every digital service.

“Extreme has years of experience designing and delivering networks and Wi-Fi experiences at some of the world’s most historic and coveted venues. The new network at Old Trafford will enable its operations team to improve experiences for everyone who visits the stadium while streamlining match day operations.”

Extreme Networks also has a partnership with United’s Premier League rival Liverpool. Extreme serves as Liverpool’s official Wi-Fi network solutions provider and official Wi-Fi analytics provider as part of a multi-year deal agreed last October.