Ashton Gate is set to become the most high tech stadium in the country as a software defined network operating system rolls out to control the Wi-Fi and networking infrastructure.

The 27,000 seater stadium, host to Bristol City Football Club and Bristol Rugby, could also become an access point to the terabit fibre network run by smart city scheme Bristol is Open (BiO).

“NetOS allows us to build a fully programmable stadium, treating the network almost as a business app”


Zeetta Networks has already deployed 50 nodes using its cutting edge NetOS operating system in a pilot project and is rolling out 100 more as part of an Innovate UK project. This will provide a single, converged and secure platform for monitoring, managing and automating the operations of complex information and networks.

Vassilis Seferidis Zeetta Networks“The importance of NetOS in this context is to provide full visibility of the whole network thus simplifying the maintenance and operation of the network,” said Vassilis Seferidis, CEO of Zeetta Networks (pictured right). “The Innovate UK funding is for the expansion of this pilot to a wider scale deployment with over 150 Wi-Fi access points. On completion of the project, Zeetta will have a commercially deployed platform of a “programmable infrastructure solution” which could be further deployed in other vertical markets beyond stadia.”

What is NetOS?

NetOS, which is also at the heart of the BiO infrastructure, uniquely manages simultaneous data flows between different types of connected devices and sub-systems including wireless, optical, Ethernet and Internet-of-Things (IoT) devices. This integrated and scalable approach, able to handle from a few bits of data generated by the stadium’s turnstiles or cash tills up to Petabits of data per second passed through an optical switch managing all data traffic in the stadium, significantly increases network performance and efficiency.

This could be connected to other parts of the system via the BiO network. “There have been discussions in extending Bristol Is Open to the Ashton Gate Stadium and this could happen in the next few years,” said Seferidis.

“We pride ourselves on the stadium being a live test lab for our vendors and solutions providers”


This is the first step in more high-tech developments at the stadium.

“We pride ourselves on the stadium being a live test lab for our vendors and solutions providers, to be able to develop their products and bring them to market quicker in a real world environment,” said Paul Lipscombe, head of IT projects at Bristol Sport. “NetOS allows us to build a fully programmable stadium, treating the network almost as a Business App, when it comes to dynamically reconfiguring it for a growing multitude of demands and new services. On the back of NetOS being deployed we have started to receive a number of proposals for trials of new innovative solutions.”

A true digital stadium

As part of the Ashton Gate stadium deployment, Zeetta will also develop key network applications running on top of NetOS for the stadium’s operations teams, members of the public (visitors and fans) and security and emergency services. These network applications will allow operations staff to monitor and dynamically reconfigure network resources such as bandwidth quotas across the different network subsystems, in real time, with minimal effort and no service downtime, reducing the cost of operating and maintaining the network of service delivery sub-systems in the stadium.

“From the outset we have had a vision of Ashton Gate being at the leading edge in new technology to make this a truly digital stadium,” said Martin Griffiths, Chairman of Bristol Sport. “NetOS as a network “orchestrator” from a control centre without needing to manually intervene with routers and switches has the potential to be a game changer in stadium management and  we welcome the opportunity to be the pioneering site where this Bristol-grown technology is tested and validated.”

Zeetta Networks is exhibiting at the Smart City Expo World Congress in Barcelona from 15-17 Nov as part of the UKTI pavilion. You can also keep up with them on Twitter here: @zeettanetworks  And while you are at it, why not follow us too? @TechSPARKuk