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Ericsson launches stadium-optimised Wi-Fi solution

October 19, 2012
Attending a sports match, concert or other event in a full stadium is a great experience that many people instantly want to share with friends and family whether by communicating with within the venue, contacting those not at the event or by uploading videos and photographs to social networking sites.
However, peaks in network traffic can make delay interactions via Facebook, Twitter or SMS during such events, with poor quality mobile connectivity at major stadia and arenas having been explained as "one of the biggest issues facing the venues industry" by AEG Ogden Group Director - Arenas Tim Worton.
Speaking earlier this year, Worton stated that at major sport and entertainment events "people want to post their experiences, their photos via Facebook and other social media but overloaded wireless technology means they just can't."
To overcome this issue and offer the most seamless experience for mobile device users at the stadium, Ericsson has this week launched a stadium-optimised Wi-Fi solution.
The solution consists of two products: the AP 5114 stadium-optimised Wi-Fi access point and the WIC 8000 Wi-Fi controller; which combine to create a Wi-Fi network that is integrated with the mobile network - in keeping with Ericsson's unique approach to heterogeneous networks.
In its Traffic and Market Data report, Ericsson forecasts that mobile data traffic will increase 10-fold between 2011 and 2016, mainly driven by video. This predicted growth, combined with the popularity and ubiquity of Wi-Fi on mobile devices, has created a trend toward operators deploying their own Wi-Fi networks.
Given that social networking and video apps are used particularly heavily during major events, mobile traffic in stadiums is especially high. The result is that, from the operators' perspective, stadiums are like very dense metropolitan 'villages' that require a wide range of wireless solutions - such as small cells, distributed antenna systems (DAS) and Wi-Fi as a complement to the existing macro network - to address all of the coverage and capacity requirements.
Ericsson Head of Wi-Fi Product Line Dave Park "this Wi-Fi solution - which represents our first Wi-Fi product launch since our acquisition of BelAir Networks in April this year - enables stadium owners and managers to provide fans with the same options that they have when watching events at home, including instant replays and multi-view content feeds. Our solution meets all of the requirements that operators have for comprehensive, coordinated and integrated wireless coverage in stadiums."
Delivering additional radio network capacity and coverage through the deployment of small cells as part of a heterogeneous network is central to most mobile operators' mobile broadband strategies, and Wi-Fi is a key element. With Wi-Fi fully integrated into mobile access and core networks, users will enjoy seamless access to high-performance mobile broadband, whether they are connected over 3GPP or Wi-Fi, and operators will be able to choose connectivity to optimize the user experience.
Ericsson Head of WiFi Marketing Sheila Burpee Duncan said there were three elements that made the product "stadium optimised". The first is its hardware, with 40 degree directional antennas and tilt mounting designed to provide very targeted "directionality of capacity" to mitigate the effects of interference across a stadium bowl.
The other two aspects are both in software. The AP's SON capabilities - interference detection and handling - are also designed to reduce interference. The third aspect is around mobile video optimisation. The controller and the APs both have software that is specifically designed to optimise both the uploading and streaming of video - reducing jitter, latencies and packet loss. That will support not just videos being shared to social networks, on the uplink, but also new streaming video features that

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