AT&T shared a little bit of what goes into a portable network cells they put up at special events where bandwidth needs will be extraordinary. Remember, AT&T’s network is about 80% iPhones so this is important stuff. The setup above was what they used to cover a recent Los Angeles festival (read: Coachella).
This isn’t a test network; AT&T’s been honing their skills since they got caught with their pants down at SXSW in 2010 (back when AT&T was the only US iPhone carrier). Since then, with their mobile response team, they’ve been able to keep their network up and running at huge events with the addition of these ‘kits’ above.
The network performance stats for this setup – some of which are staggering:
Carried approximately 83 GB of data traffic during the peak hour on our in-event network
Carried a combined 6,054 GB (or more than 6 terabytes) of data on our in-event network during the two weekends of the music festival (24-hour traffic totals, Friday-Sunday for two weekends).
About 50 engineers were involved in planning, construction or onsite 24/7 monitoring.
Both the super multi-beam antenna and five-beam antenna are AT&T innovations that were conceptualized by L.A.-based AT&T engineers Bob Mathews and Gary Chow who discuss their work in the videos below:
Shown in this photo is AT&T’s super multi-beam antenna (mounted to a mast on the far left). The super multi-beam antenna has two rows with nine beams each – 18-beams total – and can handle as much as 18 times the network traffic capacity of a traditional single-beam antenna. Below the super multi-beam antenna is a five-beam antenna – which can handle as much as five times the network traffic capacity of a traditional single-beam antenna – and a single-beam antenna. The far left COW has a set of five-beam antennas mounted to it as well as a single-beam antenna. The far left COW, along with the middle COW and the right COW provide the radios needed to support coverage at the event. The vehicle next to the right COW (center right overall) supports the microwave dish that is used to bring increased backhaul to the event. The vehicle to the far right is an AT&T Mobile Command Post, where engineers on-site can meet to discuss network traffic movement and implement solutions at the event.