Permanent network enhancements will make winners of Minneapolis/Saint Paul residents, regardless of whether the Patriots or Eagles scores the most touchdowns in Sunday's Super Bowl.
Verizon, which is presenting Super Bowl Live on Nicollet Mall in Downtown Minneapolis, has spent at least two years preparing for the big game. Led by Brian Mecum, vice president for Network-West at Verizon Wireless -- a veteran of five Super Bowls (who's already working on the game in Los Angeles in 2020) -- the service provider increased the infrastructure's capacity five-fold from the design it used 12 months ago.
In part, it's due to geography, Mecum told Broadband World News. Last year's game in Northern California meant people were scattered throughout downtown San Francisco and the stadium itself in Santa Clara, he said. This year's game, at US Bank Stadium, is in a different setting.
"In Minneapolis, it's all downtown. You have a million extra people showing up in a city," said Mecum. "They want to tweet, post and store in the cloud. We say the devices are the most expensive real estate on the planet. That device is not going to stop transmitting and receiving most of the time while they are there."
Terabytes of Touchdowns
Netscout predicts Super Bowl fans will generate 45 terabytes of data on Sunday.
All that sharing could add up to 45-terabyte spike in data usage during Super Bowl LII, tweeted Netscout this week. Last year's game generated 11.8 terabytes
, according to the National Football League's Official Wi-Fi Analytics Provider of the Super Bowl, Extreme Networks.
To ensure there are no outages -- such as the electrical failure that hit last year's game -- Verizon has redundant power and fiber infrastructure in place. This includes an unspecified amount of fiber; Verizon would not disclose any information about the type or scope of its fiber deployment, but Mecum pointed to the provider's 550-plus million miles of fiber and its partnership with multiple fiber contractors.
"We have our system running with batteries on it. There are generators, and then there are dual power feeds coming into the stadium itself. From a fiber perspective, rinse, repeat that same kind of diversity that we require. We absolutely have a tremendous amount of fiber and it's diverse so that the system will stay up if something happens on it," Mecum said. "When you're the 'nation's most reliable network' you can't have your network going down."
Brian Mecum, VP of Network-West at Verizon Wireless, takes the field at US Bank Stadium in Minneapolis.
The fiber supports a smorgasbord of wireless technologies including: 24 new permanent cell sites; more than 230 permanent small cell sites; doubled network capacity at Nicollet Mall, including a new small cell and design solution in the mall's new bus shelters; almost 50% more antennas for Verizon's Distributed Antenna System (DAS) at the stadium; a new neutral host DAS at Mall of America, boosting Verizon's network capacity 900%, plus another new neutral DAS at the airport that provides 4G LTE coverage in tunnels and increases capacity at the hub by more than 1,000%, according to Verizon.
Service provider field day
Verizon is hardly alone on the field.
AT&T, for example, invested more than $40 million on technologies such as 1,000 DAS antennas, increasing stadium LTE capacity 220% and cells on wheels (COWs) units. Sprint installed 800 new DAS antennas, 200 new small cell sites and implemented three-channel carrier aggregation via 400 cell sites. And for its part, T-Mobile deployed 120 small cell sites to increase capacity 35-fold and doubling LTE spectrum.
— Alison Diana, Editor, UBB2020. Follow us on Twitter @UBB2020 or @alisoncdiana.