Just as many expect the New England Patriots to star in this year's Super Bowl, onlookers easily could assume wireless will take center field for communications. But as Los Angeles Rams fans and technologists know, there's a lot more going on behind the scenes -- and in the case of the infrastructure powering mobile connectivity, it's miles and miles of dense fiber.
Carriers have deployed hundreds of small cells and antennas throughout Mercedes-Benz Stadium and the surrounding area to support the anticipated crowd of 1 million attendees. Much of this infrastructure will remain to support 5G, according to AT&T.
Last year, Verizon supported 18.8 terabytes of data in its network within the stadium, while AT&T's network carried 7.2 Tbytes and Sprint's carried 9.7 Tbytes. This is predicted to increase this year, based on individuals' overall patterns of cell-phone use. Outside the stadium, emergency personnel will rely intensely on infrastructure to pass data to and from security drones, license plate readers, police and Armed Forces tasked with securing the area, and emergency medical technicians, among others. (See Verizon's Broadband Touchdown Outlasts Super Bowl.)
"One-day events like the Super Bowl provide huge scaling challenges for communications, and optical fiber is the only medium capable of transporting the massive volumes of data in and out of the venue. We’re therefore seeing an increase in optical fiber use at large sporting events like the Super Bowl, the World Cup and the Olympics," Loudon Blair, senior director of Corporate Strategy at Ciena told Broadband World News.
The many camera angles, instant replays and dazzling effects viewers are now accustomed to seeing place huge demands on bandwidth -- demand only fiber optic cable can manage.
"I am sure everyone has noticed a recent trend at these events where the broadcaster provides lots of viewing angles -- from behind the goal line, at the halfway line, overhead -- which requires lots of UHD 4K cameras. At the last World Cup, each football stadium had over 1,000 cameras." Blair said. "The uncompressed 4K video generated by these video streams requires a lot of bandwidth (typically more than 10Gbps per stream) to be transported inside and outside of the stadium. The amount of bandwidth this requires is significantly more than can be handled by traditional satellite links."
Unlike years ago, when the event itself was the entertainment, Super Bowl producers now must add more to create a digital experience that provides the value attendees expect. Those at Mercedes-Benz Stadium want to share their day -- adding further stress to the infrastructure if inadequately designed.
"Sports fans who are sitting in the stadium are glued to their phones. They are recording events and sharing their own private experiences, while remaining tapped into what’s happening online. Without adequate wireless bandwidth to accommodate 50,000-100,000 connected fans, the latest generation of fans who have been raised on interactive social media may not be attracted to the venue," said Blair. "Clearly, … lack of connectivity is unacceptable – attendees need a way to share with family who aren’t there, friends who are seated in different sections, and to record content for sharing later or in real-time."
With terabytes of data in play and service providers' need to over-provision in such a high-profile, live-televised event, infrastructure requires a combination of satellite, local cellular and high-capacity optical fiber, he said. Only then can the infrastructure support all the data media and tens of thousands, if not 1 million, users create, added Blair.
Fans outside the stadium, there to absorb the atmosphere or watch in local bars, also contribute to data traffic, he said. That's where 5G will play a key role, added Blair.
Using 5G, wireless demand from radio towers will be steered to support any spike in demand within and around the stadium for the hours that an event occurs. Once it's over, a service provider can then redistribute that bandwidth to support general purpose use cases, said Blair. Today operators can use Ciena's Liquid Spectrum to allocate network capacity where it's needed; the software controls steer optical bandwidth toward a stadium, for example, during a big game and then repurpose the bandwidth after the spike is over, he said.
No matter who wins the Super Bowl on Sunday, fiber will have played its part in the tech team -- supporting the fixed and wireless players so each service provider makes users look like quarterbacks in their own eyes.
More than a half-million Irish residents expected to have fiber broadband by 2020. But Ireland's National Broadband Plan has not even begun — and government officials today postponed any agreement again.
In a new report and searchable database, Broadband Now discovered fiber is the is the least expensive technology powering subscribers' connections. But the poorest, most rural residents pay the most for connectivity, regardless of underlying infrastructure.
As Vice President of Global Healthcare at AT&T, Maria Lensing oversees the telecommunications operator's technology and professional services offerings across the spectrum of medical providers, from solo practitioners and walk-in clinics to giant hospital chains, medical-device vendors and consulting firms. Lensing also sees more interest from traditional service providers -- cable and telecom operators looking to expand or build relationships with their own medical communities, perhaps as an adjunct to smart-home successes or standalone.
Lensing, who took on this role almost a year ago in May 2018, oversees both the sales and technical teams responsible for developing growth initiatives for AT&T's Global Healthcare business -- including products, services and industry-specific solutions. She also very actively promotes business minority inclusion, education and female empowerment programs and has been recognized both within and outside AT&T. Some awards she's received include "Top 40 Under 40" and "Super Woman in Business" from the Memphis Business Journal.
Join Maria Lensing, VP of Global Healthcare at AT&T, on Tuesday, April 23 at 12:00 p.m. ET / 9:00 p.m. PT, when she's the guest on BBWN Radio, hosted by Broadband World News Editor Alison Diana. Register now!
So far, the agenda includes a discussion of technologies such as fiber and 5G; defining the needs and solutions for a widely diverse range of customers; partnering for success in a typically slow-moving, budget-constrained market; learning and dispersing best practices from other verticals and within other business groups; promoting diversity and female empowerment when so many say they're doing so but so little has changed; and what she hopes to accomplish in another year in this role.
Register and post your questions for Maria on BBWN Radio's easy-to-use chat board. We will get to as many questions as possible. Please post questions before and during the broadcast. Once you've registered, you will be led to the chat board page. Talk to you on April 23!
Tune in to Broadband World News Radio on February 14 at 11 a.m. ET / 8 a.m. PT / 4 p.m. UK when John Isch, Practice Director of the Network and Voice Center of Excellence at Orange Business Services, discusses use cases, ROI and misconceptions of software-defined wide-area networks, virtualization and cloud.
Just when you thought the answer to your next technology direction question was clear, the noise around multiple new technology options fills the Internet and airwaves. Multiple 5Gs are being deployed; there's CableLabs' 10G initiative; the ITU and IEEE are toiling around 50G PON – and we haven’t even talked about Wi-Fi6 yet! Is any of this real, do you have to pay attention or can you just let the dust settle and then decide?
Since waiting is often not the best option, let’s demystify technology options, their impact on your business, and how to prepare for whatever the future brings.
In this webinar, Service Providers will learn:
Current state of 5G and how it affects everyone, not only mobile network providers.
Latest technologies being developed and how they will benefit their networks and subscribers.
How to prepare their networks for the future – whatever it may hold.