Quakes Q&A: New Stadium Wi-Fi partner Ruckus Wireless

Ruckus VP Rob Mustarde sounds off on their capabilities, World Cup activations

Alongside the new stadium news that dropped yesterday, SJEarthquakes.com caught up with Ruckus Wireless Vice President of Marketing, Rob Mustarde, on what makes Ruckus different, his favorite club and Ruckus Wireless’s involvement in the World Cup.

Mustarde won’t give us the full details, but we get the idea that Ruckus Wireless will take a big part in the fan’s digital experience in Brazil this summer. The Earthquakes are excited to establish a partnership with a world-renowned company to provide our fans with free, public Wi-Fi at all matches in our new stadium – creating the best digital game day experience possible.   

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SJEarthquakes.com: What makes Ruckus different?
Rob Mustarde: Within the access point technology that we produce, we have something that we call a “smart antenna.” Unlike any other vendor, we have the ability for the antenna to reconfigure itself for each client that it’s communicating with. When you have an access point - even though you have many people connected to one access point - this access point is actually only communicating with one device at a time. Essentially, it means we can deliver better quality signal to each device at any given moment in time.

SJEQ: We hear you may have some activations at the World Cup this summer. Is that true?
Mustarde: We do. I can’t be too specific because we have non-disclosure agreements in place but there are some very large stadiums that will be using Ruckus equipment. We’re in the deployment process right now – including a stadium with a very, very big game near the end of the tournament that will have our equipment deployed there. [Laughs] It’s very exciting for us.

SJEQ: Are you going to make it down to Brazil?
Mustarde: I’d like to think so. I don’t know whether I will or not. You can tell from my accent, I’m from the UK - England, specifically. I follow England first and then I follow the United States second.

SJEQ: Being from the UK,, who is your club to follow?
Mustarde: Every body should only really have one club. Since I was a schoolboy, I have followed Liverpool. For most kids in England, the first game they remember is typically the FA Cup final and very often they pick a team that was in the final that year and they end up following that club. For me, it was the ’71 Cup final – Liverpool vs. Arsenal – and Liverpool lost 2-1 in extratime. Charlie George scored a header. [Laughs] a name many people won’t know anything about. Anyway we lost, but I’ve followed Liverpool ever since.

SJEQ: Do you have a favorite player?
Mustarde: Good question. One of the people that I have great admiration for - I don’t think he’s the most skillful player in the world, but he has turned into a great leader. And, that’s David Beckham.

SJEQ: As times have changed with the fan's digital in-stadium experience, what can fans do especially on the Ruckus Wireless system?
Mustarde: The reality is that we live in a world where we walk around with these smart devices in our pockets. We always want to be connected. The challenge in a stadium or any very densely populated location is that very issue – Wi-Fi was never designed to deal with hundreds or even thousands of people being connected concurrently. That is a challenge, and it remains a challenge. All of these stadiums are very, very difficult to deal with. In terms of the benefits, ultimately the applications that you run over the network itself will be driven by the club and Ruckus is there to establish that connectivity. Whether it’s video on demand, concessions, social media, fans can always stay connected through our system. 

SJEQ: What makes you intrigued about partnering with the Earthquakes and our stadium here?
Mustarde: Well, why wouldn’t we want to? First of all, we’re just down the road. We’re in the heart of the Silicon Valley. We’ve done a lot of stuff with the City of the San Jose, all of downtown San Jose uses Ruckus equipment, and the San Jose International Airport is all Ruckus equipment. You all being here just completes the local jigsaw puzzle.