St. Petersburg is known all over the world for its cold Baltic winds, amazing architecture and beautiful views. In the cultural capital of Russia you can also find a unique football stadium which is home to Zenit – a team for which everyone cheer with passion here. Although cold weather and fiery hearts can be considered essential parts of the local wintry landscape, when you’re running the second largest football stadium in Russia, you can’t afford any kind of uncertainty – especially in terms of security. And that’s where the Extreme security solutions security come into play…
Krestovsky Stadium, or Zenit Arena, is a retractable roof stadium with a retractable pitch in the western portion of Krestovsky Island in Saint Petersburg. The competition between architectural projects was won by Kisho Kurokawa's "The Spaceship". Upon its official opening on April 22, 2017, it housed around 68 000 seats, making it one of the largest football stadium in Russia, second only to the iconic Luzhniki in Moscow.
On your usual day, the venue serves as home for FC Zenit Saint Petersburg team in both domestic matches and the European competition, including UEFA Champions League. On July 2, 2017, the 2017 FIFA Confederations Cup Final was held at the stadium between Chile and Germany. One year later it became the arena of 4 group stage matches, the semi-final and the third place match of 2018 FIFA World Cup. A couple of months later the ice hockey match between Russia and Finland saw a record attendance of 71 381. The Arena regularly hosts world-famous artists like the legendary metal band Rammstein which played in front of a full stadium in 2019.
The paramount importance of security
The term “zenith” refers to the point in the sky that appears directly above the observer or a point on a surface that is higher in elevation than all points immediately adjacent to it. And what is the priority, the absolute paramount when it comes to designing networks for a large-scale venues? That’s right – it’s security. With its size and occupancy, this football arena simply has to be perfect in terms of safety.
“Because the use of wireless solutions in a security was not an option due to legal limitations, we needed to design and build a wired, fault-tolerant data network for integrated security systems for the entire stadium, or to simply put – a Security LAN”, says Kirill Orekhov from SpetsPromSvyaz (SPS), the system integrator company chosen for this project.
The stadium has been fully prepared for the FIFA World Cup games in 2018 in accordance with the FIFA requirements for capacity and security. The stadium is equipped with a video surveillance and identification system that makes it possible to detect any troublemakers and fans who are not allowed to enter. The Arena is also equipped with a security alarm system, a fire alarm system and a robotic fire-extinguishing system.
“During both domestic and international events, including sports matches, massive concerts and music festival, major exhibitions, conferences, seminars and other ceremonies, the security network powered by Extreme is responsible for providing critical services, including perimeter security, access & ticket control, visitor identification, CCTV & video identification, as well as electromagnetic control and radiation control”, explains Amir Yunusov, Head of Customer Relations at Extreme Networks.
The reasons behind choosing Extreme Networks
The decision to implement Extreme Networks solutions was made as early as in 2014 by the Construction Committee of St. Petersburg, as a result of a careful and multi-stage selection process, including comparisons of various complex solutions from different suppliers of engineering and low-current systems.
“When choosing a specific, technical solution and a manufacturer, the specialists of the St. Petersburg Construction Committee were guided first and foremost by the criteria of reliability. And it applied not only to the quality of the technology itself, but to the manufacturer’s reputation on the market as well. Ultimately, Extreme Networks was regarded as the best option in all respects”, says Kirill Orekhov.
Extreme Networks was selected at the design stage thanks to the active role of the IT team from the customer service with the involvement of Extreme Networks specialists, making it possible to provide the most optimal solution from the technical and economic point of view.
“Important factors when choosing this vendor were fault tolerance of the systems, minimization of costs for the period of operation and maintenance, warranty coverage, as well as the presence of a wide network of Extreme suppliers and partners, providing wide expertise in this field in Russia. We needed to know that we were choosing a reliable manufacturer”, says Kirill Orekhov.
Where the passions run high and the days are cold
And speaking of reliability, there are probably not many habitable places on Earth that would provide a tougher challenge for any technology. The northernmost metropolis in the world, St. Petersburg is often called the Venice of the North or Russian Venice due to its many water corridors, as the city is built on swamp and water. And Krestovsky Island, where the Arena is actually located, is characterized by a cold climate and strong winds throughout the year. This factor was also taken into account when choosing certain solutions.
“Despite the fact that all equipment is located indoors, it was very important to apply technical solutions with a wide climate tolerance, with the temperatures dropping well below freezing. Therefore all parameters and operating modes of the equipment were laid down and taken into account at the early stages of the design of the entire facility. So far, the harsh weather conditions have in no way affected the reliability of Extreme Networks equipment”, says Sergey Gusakov, head of the Extreme Networks' representative office in Russia and the CIS, who was directly involved in the project implementation.
The future holds a lot of promise and challenges for the Zenit Arena. As one of the cradles of Russian football, St. Petersburg will be one of the host cities for the upcoming UEFA Euro 2020, which was originally postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“St. Petersburg is proud to be called a football city. Our city lives and breathes football. We are preparing other infrastructure, and hope that we will be hosts of the highest quality”, said Georgy Poltavchenko, then the Governor of St. Petersburg, at the UEFA Euro host city logo unveiling ceremony, which took place in 2017 at the historical and impressive First Cadet Corps Manege building in the heart of Russia's northern capital.
In anticipation of the upcoming, international-level events, the plans of deploying additional security network infrastructure using Extreme Networks equipment are now well underway. As of right now, there is a process of design and coordination that will facilitate the need to expand the network and add separate services. In general, the Krestovsky Stadium security network not only meets the requirements of today's international event organizers, but is also ready for any additional services to provide the latest security measures.
SpetsPromSvyaz (SPS) has been operating on the Russian market since 2005 and is a system integrator in the field of solutions for the creation and implementation of systematic approaches to the management of information structures of enterprises and organizations, risk management and IT compliance.
The company’s portfolio includes projects of varying degrees of complexity – from the analysis of virtual infrastructure, taking into account deployed software, analysis of the effectiveness of IT investments and assistance in developing an IT strategy, to the consistent construction and implementation of effective IT management systems, including own specific priorities and customer needs to minimize risks and maximizing the benefits of their use.