This blog is by Harri Holma from Nokia Siemens Networks.
Despite so much of our entertainment going online, popular events, such as sports games, pop concerts and cultural festivals still manage to draw huge crowds. But what has changed is the bringing together of these virtual and physical worlds, made possible by the rise of mobile broadband.
Next time you are at an event, look around and you’ll almost certainly see many people with smart devices in hand glued to Live-Timing.com to receive real-time race results or taking pictures and videos and sharing their experiences over social networks.
Upping the stakes at popular events
It’s why mass events are presenting new challenges for operators. In the everyday world, mobile broadband traffic is dominated by downloads. But get people together in large numbers in a small area, watching something special, and suddenly everyone wants to upload. As well as the sheer volume of data involved, smartphones come with their own signaling issues that further rack up the pressure on the network. For operators, the stakes are high because delivering a poor customer experience at important, high-profile events could be damaging to their reputation and lead to increased churn.
Coping with these short-lived, high-demand events takes careful planning and a combination of technologies. Operators need some neat solutions.
Some of the challenges concern LTE. With high signaling at these events, control plane capacity needs a boost. Cells can also interfere with each other so radio frequency planning requires extra care. Locations for physical antennas may be hard to come by at mass events, so an active antenna can be used to make beam steering more flexible.
Micro and pico base stations can be critical for the planner faced with serving big crowds. The secret here is light weight, big capacity and the same features as macro cells to deliver consistent performance to subscribers.
And don’t forget Wi-Fi. An increasingly common feature in smartphones, Wi-Fi offers unlicensed spectrum to improve the user experience.
So there are many ways to prepare to ensure that the mobile broadband network at an event will live up to people’s expectations. Find out more in our new White Paper -– High Capacity Mobile Broadband for Mass Events.