July 30–The dazzling spectacle that is sport at its highest level will take center stage as the Olympics make their quadrennial run in London from July 27 to Aug. 12. Behind the scenes there will be no less herculean effort exerted as in-building systems designed by iWireless Solutions and Real Wireless, with help from iBwave Solutions, attempt to provide the wireless capacity that will match the data usage of millions of people.
“Most of the attendees that will navigate the Olympic Village will have the expectation to always be connected,” said Dominique Gauthier, chief technology officer, iBwave “If you look at Wembley Stadium or the Olympic stadium they built in London, you end up with a million people per square kilometer. That is one of the highest amounts of people to be served in a wireless environment.
“Having 80,000 people in one venue trying to access Facebook or posting videos on YouTube or on Twitter becomes a big challenge,” Gauthier added. “It is the volume of data that proposes the challenge. Each fan will want to get scores and developments for all the other events going on at the same time.”
Early in July, iWireless deployed high-capacity, in-building systems at Hampden Park, Cardiff Millennium Stadium and Coventry Ricoh Arena. A total of 106 sectors are available across all three sites. Thirteen venues, both sporting and operational, for the summer games were also commissioned in July by iWireless, under demanding conditions and within security deadlines. In addition, a high-capacity solution was deployed at O2 Arena, providing coverage to executive suites, concourses and spectator seating for up to 18,000 capacity events.
The Olympic deployments are the fruit of an agreement between iWireless and iBwave signed back in 2010. The agreement allowed iWireless to use iBwave design software to plan and design indoor wireless networks at emerging stadiums and indoor sport facilities in the United Kingdom.
“Wireless operators are heavily investing to upgrade their wireless network coverage and cell sites equipment in large athletic venues where some of the world’s largest events such as the Olympics, the FIFA World Cup and the popular premier league football games are hosted,” said Ravi Mondair, senior project manager at iWireless. “iBwave design software will help us to better design and plan the wireless networks in those buildings and easily upgrade wireless equipment of existing stadiums’ cell sites. This will enable more U.K. mobile users to use their devices concurrently during major sporting events that often gather more than 70,000 fans at the same time.”
Olympic park neutral host in-building systems can accommodate TETRA public safety users, as well multiple cellular carriers O2, Vodaphone and the merger of Orange and T-Mobile known as “Everything Everywhere.”
Since it was built in 2007, the new Wembley National Stadium has relied on in-building system provided by Real Wireless, which provides a range of wireless consultancy services and management of spectrum and radio systems.
The iBwave software solution allows the Real Wireless to model the venues to the dimensions of the architecture, placing all the components, such as the antennas, radios and cabling, simulating the performance of the wireless network and even angle of the fans’ seating area.
“Attention was not paid to stadium wireless systems, until operators began massive in the American football stadiums and baseball stadiums,” said Gauthier. “This is where the demand was initiated. From an iBwave standpoint, a software had to be developed with a specific capability to predict the performance of a signal level against an inclined service to gauge how much signal was getting to the seating area.”