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In-building


Changing the game in sports stadiums


A


new software tool developed by iBwave for the indoor wireless industry is mak- ing the network design and planning


process of stadiums a whole lot simpler, the company says. And it claims that its advanced technology could not have been introduced at a better time, when professionals in the in- building game are dealing with huge challenges on the stadium fi eld. More and more stadiums are demanding


improved wireless access inside their domes, where tens of thousands of sports fans, stadium employees and media staff gather. Everyone within these densely populated spaces requires wireless access: fans want to chat, post instant messages, watch instant action replays, and upload live video content, while employees, emergency crews, critics, journalists and VIPs all have their own needs as well. From the seating areas to the car parks,


concession stands, restaurants and locker rooms, people can be everywhere during the games. Planning engineers need to determine the various wireless service profi les in each of these sections and accordingly develop their network designs. Mobile users do not want to experience drops in their wireless connection, especially during a sporting event when every second counts.


Coverage sectors To decrease these drops in connection inside stadiums, engineers include in their wireless de- sign planning process an intricate step known as sectorization. More than one section, or sec- tor, containing a radio frequency source needs to be created. “Each sector has its own maximum capac-


ity level, which is the maximum number of subscribers it can support”, explains Dr Vladan Jevremovic, engineering solutions director at iBwave. “Several sectors are required in order to support the maximum population capacity of stadiums.” Optimal sectorization and proper manage-


ment of interference are essential in order to meet the demand for capacity from mobile subscribers. T is is quite a feat to accomplish


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when working with inclined surfaces and open- air environments – inconvenient characteristics of stadiums.


Automated planning iBwave’s software tool iBwave Design automates the process of in-building network planning. It off ers features designed specifi cally overcome the hurdles encountered in dealing with sta- diums. For example, inclined surfaces can be modelled quickly through the use of a simple drag-and-drop function; what used to require hours of laborious work can now be completed within minutes. And the trapezoid shapes used to model inclined surfaces, in place of the tradi- tional rectangles, help create smoother surfaces, reducing shape overlaps and, in turn, improv- ing the accuracy of the tool. A surface plane prediction feature enables


engineers to analyse and predict radio frequen- cy signals in 3D format, with detailed images which even simulate the seating area sections. “T is latest feature allows a simple pictorial rep- resentation to be accessed without the need for multiple predictions to be conducted at various elevations on site”, comments Paul Jones, a sen- ior RF engineer at iWireless Solutions. T e prediction tool provides instant antenna


verifi cations, allowing engineers to run trans- mitter tests without having to be physically on the fi eld. “iBwave Design has provided us with complete and improved visibility of our RF designs”, said Ulf Lofberg, operations manager for Commscope Solutions, which was respon- sible for 10 of the stadium in-building designs for last year’s FIFA World Cup football tourna- ment in South Africa.


Olympic coverage More recently, iWireless has been working on wireless coverage for the London 2012 Olym- pic venues. “With iBwave Design, we have developed designs and deployed high quality solutions for 40-plus HSPA sectors within fully open air stadium bowl environments, support- ing up to 82 000 subscribers at peak times”, says Jones. In crowded stadiums, mobile coverage comes


LAND mobile November 2011


Modelling a stadium has been diffi cult with conventional radio planning tools because of the many inclined surfaces. This illustration shows a coverage prediction developed with iBwave Design


under strain because of rising noise, cell load- ing and user mobility, and dropped calls mean loss of revenue for all operators. But the latest in-building coverage technology will make it possible for fans from around the world to be connected for the games like never before.


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