Skip to main content

The Winter Olympics just launched 5G. What Should Venues in the Middle East do?

By: Manish Bhardwaj, Snr. Marketing Manager, Middle East, Africa and Turkey at Aruba

The use of the world’s first 5G network at the 2018 Winter Olympics is generating excitement amongst those in the industry – and it’s easy to see why. As a user, our expectations for instant, seamless connectivity on every device have never been higher. For stadiums and other public venues, the opportunity to keep users engaged, offering instant replays, time and location-specific offers and always-on connectivity, have not gone unnoticed.

Venue operators in the Middle East will likely be watching the Olympics and considering their own need to keep up with connectivity demands. The development of VR, 4k video and the growth of IoT means an explosion in user numbers and data traffic. The lure of expanding network capacity and coverage is incredibly appealing not only to mobile providers, but to any business owner wanting to keep on top of these growing technological demands.

Many public venues already run public Wi-Fi to connect technology systems and visitors. So do the events taking place in South Korea give us reason to reconsider those deployments?

For most, a journey towards 5G starts with the convergence of LTE over licensed and unlicensed spectrum. However, the way this LTE-U technology takes control of a channel is controversial and may degrade performance of Wi-Fi equipment using the same channel. The two are not working smoothly together, leaving venue operators with a headache that could extend long into the future.

Here, we identify five essential technical considerations to help stadium and venue operators make an informed decision about whether to consider unlicensed spectrum technologies alongside Wi-Fi:

Spectrum Availability - Most stadium Wi-Fi networks are already spectrum-constrained, meaning they are only just managing to carry their existing load. Large, crowded venues like stadiums and arenas, need 20-24 full time-equivalent channels to make a 5 GHz system work (regardless of the type of technology). These Wi-Fi networks are carefully optimised to eliminate all unnecessary transmissions. Adding more unlicensed systems will reduce available capacity for Wi-Fi operations in this scenario. At present, there are no public technical measurements of deployed systems – so the actual impact is unknown. If four separate unlicensed networks are deployed, the negative impact on Wi-Fi connectivity will be even greater.
Number of Networks Required - Visitors to a stadium each carry devices run by different operators. To offer gigabit cellular connectivity, and a consistent experience to all, you’ll need to permit all four to deployan unlicensed network. Because this technology is so new, it lacks a “neutral host” methodology, so each operator will require its own separate physical network and spectrum. Without huge outlay, this can damage the customer experience.
Compatibility - Most stadiums and arenas have either separate antenna systems for each major mobile operator or a converged neutral-host distributed antenna system (DAS). Large venue operators interested in unlicensed spectrum technology, should first check its compatibility with their existing DAS. To be compatible, a DAS system must support an expansive LTE-U/LAA small cell deployment where the primary cell (PCell) is the DAS and each PCell has dozens of secondary cells providing 5 GHz service.
Cost, Cost, Cost - The amount of equipment and the cost of a hybrid Wi-Fi/cellular situation is significant. For example, a 60,000-seat stadium at typical under-seat densities, would require about 850 Wi-Fi access points. Stadium operators adopting unlicensed LTE technology would need over 3,000 additional small cells; each requiring sturdy waterproof housing, a 30-watt Power over Ethernet connection, Cat-6 cabling, and conduit. These small cell deployments would make the same physical footprint as Wi-Fi, which is likely to already be installed. All of this, and we’re not even mentioning the fact that many of today’s devices have Wi-Fi only connectivity, with billions more set to follow in the future.
Risk - It’s critical to consider the risk of adding multiple unlicensed mobile networks to your Wi-Fi environment. It took about seven years and three full generations of radio designs for Wi-Fi vendors to perfect high-capacity stadium systems, yet providers of LTE-U/LAA are only just getting started, let alone those working on 5G.
As a robust, stable and mature technology, Wi-Fi’s strength and ability to handle exceptional data traffic loads at large venues is well established. Yet as research suggests mobile data traffic will grow by 47 percent annually through 2021, it’s no surprise that new solutions – ultimately leading us to 5G – are cropping up.

But the key takeaway, is to think about both the pros and the cons of combining these two technologies before taking any action. Delaying combining Wi-Fi and unlicensed LTE networks, until the equipment can prove itself reliable outside of the Olympic bubble, is well worth considering.

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Cloud Computing powering India’s priority of ‘Digital-first country’

By: Sunil Mahale, India MD and VP, Nutanix
Digital transformation has been recognized as being vital to the growth of our nation. This transformation has enjoyed the unanimous approval and contribution from all stake holders including enterprises, MSMEs, government bodies and citizens. But this level of adoption in a country with a population of over a billion people would need a robust technology base that is capable to collecting and distributing vital data seamlessly.
Digital India envisions creating high speed digital highways, that will impact commerce and create a digital footprint for every individual. Technologies based on mobility, analytics, Internet of things and most importantly, cloud technologies are the building blocks for the digital India missionThere is a growing need to manage huge volumes of data, and making them readily available to public through digital cloud services. Cloud has a pivotal role in enabling this change.
While Data centers have become crucial to th…

RevStart launches its RevItUp Incubation Programme

Underlining its vision of creating a nurturing ecosystem for start-ups to grow in, RevStart, a co-working and incubation centre, has announced the launch of its RevItUp Incubation Programme. The 12-week long programme will be held at RevStart Incubation Centre in Noida from July 1, 2018 onwards. As part of the programme, RevStart will select five high potential start-ups from the ed-tech sector, AI, Consumer Internet, Sustainability, as well as for-profit social impact companies to assist them with developing their business, along with connecting them to global mentors across industries and sectors. In addition, start-ups selected for the programme will receive INR 5 lakh to Rs. 25 lakhs worth of cash and benefits, while RevStart will get an equity stake in the ventures.
The RevItUp Incubation Programme has been created to enhance the founding team’s industry, product, and company building knowledge and capabilities through a world-class curriculum. The programme will focus on tailor…

Insurtech startup Kruzr raises $1.3 Million from Saama Capital and Better Capital

InsurTech startup Kruzr has raised 1.3 Million USD (Rs. 9.5 Cr) for its seed round led by Saama Capital with participation from Better Capital. Kruzr is a preventive motor insurance technology which helps insurance companies personalize policy premiums & improve their risk model by delivering an engaging preventative driving assistant to their customers. Kruzr is founded by Pallav Singh, Ayan, and Jasmeet Singh Sethi.

Kruzr blends the power of voice technology and artificial intelligence in its personal driving assistant that helps drivers minimize mobile distractions, drowsy driving, speeding and external risks like weather and accident-prone zones. In pilots with insurers, Kruzr managed to cut down distracted driving by 80%. Kruzr is working with motor insurance companies in Europe, UK and India to bring its technology to their customers to prevent accidents & improve claims.

“Road accidents cause over 1.3 million deaths globally every year, and motor insurance companies los…