X

Connect (X)

Tag Archives: Verizon

Florida Cell Towers Show Marked Resiliency

By J. Sharpe Smith

A temporary cell site rises above a crumpled tower on Marco Island, a barrier island in the Gulf of Mexico off of southwest Florida. (Photo: Verizon)

In face of the most powerful storm recorded in the Atlantic, the tower industry showed that it could take a punch and come back swinging.

Just five days after Hurricane Irma blew through Florida, Verizon’s network stood firm, with close to 97 percent of its facilities in service.

“Our network engineers have been working around the clock to restore service and make repairs to the network, and they won’t rest until the remaining 3 percent of sites are back serving customers,” Russ Preite, Verizon president – southeast market, wrote in a blog post.

The reason cell towers performed so well in the aftermath of Irma has to do with a corporate culture at Verizon that stresses preparedness, according Christopher Desmond, principal engineer for Verizon’s network and in-house drone expert.

“We have a formalized response to adverse weather preparedness with generators, backup generators, and partnerships with refueling and with drone companies,” Desmond said. “We devote an enormous amount of attention to resiliency and redundancy. We elevate equipment, shelters. We ruggedize antennas, electronics and towers, so the network will be available as the area recovers.”

As the storm approached, refueling and drone teams were staged and ready to go. Concrete and steel reinforced “super switches” across in Florida, built to withstand a CAT 5 hurricane, stood ready to keep the system on the air.

Hurricane preparations are a nationwide effort. Verizon brought personnel from South Carolina to support Florida and from Louisiana to support Texas. Network personnel were flown from California to the New York metro area back when Super Storm Sandy hit the Atlantic seaboard in 2012.

“Our Verizon technicians and personnel on the network side support each other across the country in the wake of any event,” Desmond said. “They were able to restore the network in record time.

Verizon’s long-term preparation with power generators and refueling allowed the majority of its cell sites to remain in-service without commercial power. In some cases mobile generators and temporary solutions were deployed for service. Microwave technology was also added where fiber was temporarily interrupted to some cell sites.

“We had hundreds of towers on generator or backup battery power at one point, but still providing service to our customers. That too is in the teens. The network resiliency is a testament to the team’s ability to go out and effect repairs,” he added.

Verizon continues to support government officials and first responders with ongoing recovery efforts statewide, as well as those in the community who need assistance with charging devices and Internet access.

AT&T Responds to Irma with Equipment, Personnel and Support for Public Safety

AT&T Response Team (Courtesy AT&T)

To restore communications after Hurricane Irma blew through Florida, AT&T deployed 3,000 personnel, 14 cells on light trucks, three emergency communications vehicles providing satellite-based VoIP, Ethernet and Wi-Fi service. The effort also includes mobile command centers, hazmat response vehicles and charging stations.

AT&T is supporting the more than 15,000 public safety responders to Hurricane Irma with priority communications through Dynamic Traffic Management. “We have firemen coming in from across the country and without our communications lines they cannot talk to each other. They are relying on our cell service,” one AT&T employee said. “If we are not placing the strand and cable in the air, no one’s got communications.”

One portable cell site is stationed at the state emergency operations center (EOC), two are positioned in Naples to specifically support public safety and another four of the portable cell sites have been deployed to the Florida Keys. Network assets are also being staged at a local EOC in Miami-Dade.

Even as Hurricane Maria and other events shift the nation’s focus, AT&T, Verizon and others will continue on helping the local populace pick up the pieces, according to Joe Nergon, AT&T Technical Field Services.

“We got a lot of work to do. Hurricane Irma was a huge hurricane,” Nergon said. “We are starting down here and we’re going to move to as many neighborhoods as we can to get this restored for our customers.”


J. Sharpe Smith is senior editor of the AGL eDigest. He joined AGL in 2007 as contributing editor to the magazine and as editor of eDigest email newsletter. He has 27 years of experience writing about industrial communications, paging, cellular, small cells, DAS and towers. Previously, he worked for the Enterprise Wireless Alliance as editor of the Enterprise Wireless Magazine. Before that, he edited the Wireless Journal for CTIA and he began his wireless journalism career with Phillips Publishing, now Access Intelligence. 

LTE Lab Trial Sets Gigabit Speed Record

By The Editors of AGL

Verizon, Ericsson and Qualcomm Technologies continue to push the LTE speed envelope breaking the Gigabit speed barrier. The companies achieved an industry first with commercial silicon and network infrastructure with 1.07 Gbps download speeds using the Qualcomm Snapdragon X20 LTE Modem during an Ericsson lab trial.

This 1.07 Gbps achievement builds on Verizon’s recent announcement about Gigabit LTE with support for License Assisted Access (LAA). Also of significance, the 1.07 Gbps speed was achieved using only three 20 megahertz carriers of (Frequency Division Duplex using separate transmit and receive frequencies) spectrum, achieving new levels of spectral efficiency for commercial networks and devices. These efficiencies will enable the delivery of the Gigabit class experience to more customers and lead to new wireless innovations.

The companies achieved the 1.07 Gbps industry milestone by using 12 simultaneous LTE streams, which allow for up to 20 percent increase in peak data rates and capacity with a corresponding improvement in average speeds. Ericsson’s Radio System and LTE software, in concert with a mobile test device based on the Snapdragon X20 LTE modem, enabled these high speeds.

The lab tests also used 4×4 MIMO per carrier, 256 QAM per carrier, which enables customer devices and the network to exchange information in large amounts, delivering more bits of data in each transmission.

 

Verizon to Compete with AT&T for Public Safety Market

By J. Sharpe Smith

Move over AT&T. Verizon plans to make “substantial investments” in network capabilities, products and services aimed at providing 4G LTE to public safety agencies. The carrier plans to build and operate a private network core dedicated to public safety communications, providing network access and call routing.

The dedicated public safety core will operate separately from the commercial core and provide first responders with access to the whole coverage area of company’s 4G LTE network.

“Verizon’s public safety network solution does not require that states opt-out of FirstNet, does not require access to any federal funding provided to FirstNet, and does not require any financial commitment from states to support network deployment,” said John Stratton, Verizon executive vice president and president of global operations. The creation of this dedicated public safety network core will be fully funded by Verizon.

Verizon will make priority access and preemption services available to public safety when necessary and at no charge. The carrier will also invest in new mission-critical 4G LTE voice communications to complement existing services such as Push-to-Talk Plus. PTT Plus already includes interoperability with existing Land Mobile Radio networks.

“We’re making the investments necessary to give public safety access to the best possible network coverage, reliability and capability, when and where they need it,” said Michael Maiorana, senior vice president, Public Sector for Verizon. “Our public safety network will provide a comprehensive and cost-effective solution for public safety, and we’ll continue working to offer first responders the network reliability and access to innovative services they need to keep our communities safe.”

Verizon will market multi-band devices that provide access to Band 14 spectrum and enable full interoperability with any Band 14 radio access networks (RANs) deployed by FirstNet.

Thee FirstNet response to Verizon’s announcement noted that it has added Arizona, Kansas and Nevada to make 15 states that have opted in for its nationwide broadband public safety network.

“With Nevada’s opt-in decision today, we are up to 15 states/territories. Two of those states explored alternative options through an RFP/RFI process in their state before deciding to join FirstNet,” according to a FirstNet spokesperson.

The organization seems confident that it has done the groundwork that will allow it to be a success.

“FirstNet has consulted closely with public safety as a partner to develop this network,” the FirstNet spokesperson added. “Thanks to their input, we are now delivering first responders a compelling network solution they’ve never had before – which includes true priority today – and we will deliver them ruthless preemption, a dedicated and encrypted public safety core network with local control capabilities, a dedicated FirstNet Public Safety Security Operations Center and public safety grade customer care.”


J. Sharpe Smith is senior editor of the AGL eDigest. He joined AGL in 2007 as contributing editor to the magazine and as editor of eDigest email newsletter. He has 27 years of experience writing about industrial communications, paging, cellular, small cells, DAS and towers. Previously, he worked for the Enterprise Wireless Alliance as editor of the Enterprise Wireless Magazine. Before that, he edited the Wireless Journal for CTIA and he began his wireless journalism career with Phillips Publishing, now Access Intelligence. 

Commercial Deployment Nears Gigabit Wireless Speeds

By the Editors of AGL

Verizon, Ericsson, and Qualcomm Technologies have reached 953 Mbps (just under 1 gigabit in a joint commercial network deployment in Boca Raton, Florida. While lab tests have shown comparable speeds in recent months, this speed was achieved in a real-world network environment using Licensed Assisted Access (LAA) technology.

The demonstration used all commercially available Verizon network components including a cell site, hardware, software, and backhaul. Riding on Verizon’s network infrastructure, Ericsson provided a remote radio head, the micro Radio 2205 for LAA, designed for unlicensed spectrum use. Qualcomm Technologies provided a Snapdragon 835 mobile platform test device and the integrated Snapdragon X16 LTE modem.

To reach gigabit class speeds, the deployment used a combination of licensed and unlicensed spectrum for the first time. This four-carrier aggregation used LAA to combine Verizon’s spectrum holdings with unlicensed spectrum, which takes advantage of spectrum where home and commercial Wi-Fi technologies exist.

In addition to four-channel carrier aggregation, other technologies used included 4×4 MIMO and 256 QAM.

Testing Pits Cellular Versus Wi-Fi at MLB Stadium

July 18, 2017 — 

While the Washington Nationals easily handled the Seattle Mariners during a recent game, the real contest was between performances of the cellular networks and the Wi-Fi system as they battled to provide the best online experience.

During a recent major league baseball game at Washington Nationals Park, independent network benchmarking firm Global Wireless Solutions (GWS) conducted customer experience mobile network testing. The tests revealed that, both before and during the game, the Wi-Fi system excelled in the area of speed but fell behind cellular when it came to reliability.

Paul Carter, CEO GWS, said, “People want a reliable network with reasonable speed that works when you make a call, post a selfie, or load a video.  If you’re at a major sporting event, you want to quickly take care of your online activities and watch the game not your phone.”

Before the game, the carriers’ data speeds for a 4 mb file upload (the size of a Snapchat video) ranged from 1 to 4 Mbps, according to Global Wireless Solutions, while the Wi-Fi network averaged speeds of 8 Mbps.

AT&T, Sprint and T-Mobile also provided consistent speeds throughout the evening, while Verizon’s speeds dropped sharply during the game, according to GWS’ testing. For example, Verizon’s download speeds for watching a short video clip fell from 2.8 Mbps before the game to 1.6 Mbps during the game, before rising to 4.2 Mbps after the game

Wi-Fi Speed Crushes Cellular

During the game when the Park was the busiest, the Wi-Fi network was capable of delivering an average of roughly 32 Mbps, while the fastest cellular network, AT&T, averaged 25 Mbps.

“The $300-million program to bring Wi-Fi to every major league baseball park in the United States has brought in-seat connectivity into the 21st century,” the firm wrote. “When measuring potential capacity download throughputs, the Nationals Park Wi-Fi network was overall higher than those measured on cellular networks.

Cellular Owns Reliability

However, while the Park’s Wi-Fi was the quickest, it was not the most reliable.  All the carriers were more reliable in completing data tasks, nearly 100 percent, while Wi-Fi was several percentage points behind.

“A consistent Internet experience is highly valued. Steady with reasonable speed is a better experience than a network which is fast, then becomes too slow to undertake some common tasks, then suddenly speeds up again,” Carter, said. “If you want to share a photo or send a video, you want your network to support that dependably. For some baseball fans, the WiFi network in the Park can provide a better experience than their own LTE connection.”

For voice calls AT&T, Sprint and Verizon all had 100 percent reliability with AT&T and Verizon using VoLTE the entire time. T-Mobile, also using VoLTE, wasn’t far behind, however, it did experience 1 in 12 calls failing before the game started.