Twickenham Stadium – The RFU

A network upgrade to support 82,000 matchday fans, operations and security at the world’s largest Rugby Union stadium.

About Twickenham and the RFU

About Twickenham and the RFU

The home of England Rugby, Twickenham Stadium seats up to 82,000 spectators on a match day, as well as hosting conferences, rock concerts and other major events.

When the Rugby Football Union (RFU) undertook a £76 million development plan, their goal was to create a state-of-the-art, connected stadium to enhance the fan experience.

Ideal’s role was to upgrade the IT infrastructure to enable that, whilst future-proofing for new technologies.

“Twickenham was the first major Stadium we worked on and created a successful blueprint for the 20+ Smart Building projects we have delivered since.”

Moto Shakoori

CEO & Founder, Ideal

The Challenge

Meeting high-density Wi-Fi demand on matchdays from 82,000 fans, journalists and VIP guests was key. At the same time, the IP network had to support critical services, from turnstiles, lighting and digital displays, to CCTV, security control, voice and LAN corporate services and EPOS systems at retail outlets and bars.

Other significant challenges included the need for robust security across 4,000 access points and implementation to tight deadlines, despite limited access to the site.

The Solution

Our strategy was to work closely with the RFU to create a flexible scalable, robust and future-proof LAN infrastructure, whilst optimising existing technology where possible.

The network was built on a core of Cisco Nexus switches, with Cisco Catalyst switches at the access layer. Identity Based Networking Services (IBNS) were used to automate the management of 4,000+ network ports with the highest security deployed in every layer.

Staging and configuration was completed in Ideal’s headquarters to work around limited access to the stadium. A robust 24/7/365 support agreement wrapped around both new and legacy equipment, with Ideal engineers deployed onsite during initial match days to provide immediate support if needed.

The Results

The network performed seamlessly from day one and has now supported hundreds of matchday experiences, conferences and events. The experience it enables was instrumental in Twickenham winning the coveted Stadium of the Year accolade.

The flexible network put in place has been able to flex to accept new technological advancements and demands, including a rise in traffic caused by increased visitor streaming and video content demand.