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Meraki delivers seamless wireless network for Monterey Jazz Festival for 2nd consecutive year
Posted: Thu Oct 04, 2012 04:59:35 PM


SAN FRANCISCO — October 2, 2012Meraki, the leader in cloud-managed networking, announced that the world-famous Monterey Jazz Festival completed its second fully WiFi-enabled event using Meraki’s indoor and outdoor access points. The 55th Annual Monterey Jazz Festival took place on September 21-23, 2012, and welcomed over 38,000 attendees who came to watch 500 artists in 90 performances on eight stages. The Festival featured lauded performers including Tony Bennett, Trombone Shorty, and Esperanza Spalding, the first jazz artist to win the GRAMMY® Award for Best New Artist (2011).

Alvarez Technology Group (ATG) was again on hand to deploy and manage the robust network, providing free high-speed WiFi throughout the fairgrounds. Curtis Thomas, Director of Managed Services at Alvarez Technology Group, said that using Meraki equipment for the event was a “no-brainer. We’ve tested other solutions, but we’ve consistently had the most success with Meraki.”

The venue’s existing Meraki deployment was supplemented with additional MR-series outdoor access points to support the high-density requirements for the Monterey Jazz  Festival. High-capacity indoor MR16 access points in conjunction with outdoor MR58 and MR66 APs accommodated the various stages and buildings throughout the Monterey County Fairgrounds, where performances were held. The Fairgrounds’ vast and heavily wooded terrain had been a problem in the past when using other manufacturers’ equipment, but Meraki’s rugged outdoor APs ensured high-performance mesh networking and a seamless experience for event attendees.

Kimberly Knight, Marketing Director for Monterey Jazz Festival, notes that having fast and reliable WiFi was crucial for this year’s event. “We had folks who were concerned about WiFi for this year’s event and with Meraki on board, I could tell them with full confidence that our WiFi would be better than ever,” she said.

The deployment incorporated multiple SSIDs, including a private network for Monterey Jazz Festival staff and performers, two ticketing systems, and the free public network for attendees. Over the course of the Festival, the wireless network transferred over 70 GB of total data to over 2,000 clients, with 50% of the data dedicated to the guest network alone. Attendees used iPads and other mobile devices to stream apps such as Netflix for entertainment while waiting in between performances.

The WiFi also made it possible for Monterey Jazz Festival organizers to provide information to attendees via the 2012 Monterey Jazz Festival application for iOS and Android devices. Over 1,400 users used the Monterey Jazz Festival App to check and receive alerts for performance schedules, view a map of the fairgrounds, peruse food vendors’ menus, and research merchandise purchasing options--all from their mobile devices.

For the second consecutive year, the Meraki 802.11n access points allowed the use of Yamaha’s Disklavier RemoteLive technology to be incorporated into certain Monterey Jazz Festival performances. Through a special bridge with Yamaha software and the WiFi connection, every key and every note played on the piano from the actual performance would be recreated simultaneously on the Yamaha player piano with RemoteLive technology in a viewer’s living room, producing a unique and rich experience for the viewer. Pianist/singer Judy Roberts was showcased using the Yamaha AvantGrand piano, as well as the pianists for artists Christian Scott, Tierney Sutton, Gerald Clayton, and the Berklee-Monterey Sextet.

Despite the numerous demands on the network, the Festival went smoothly for the Alvarez team. Curtis commented that “everything worked the way it was supposed to work.” From his monitoring of the dashboard, Thomas noticed that there were no major issues during the event and that “from the beginning of the day when there were only 10-15 users to hundreds upon hundreds, there was no real change. It was seamless. Meraki is unmatched.”
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