Stadiums represent an unparalleled challenge to wireless operators in terms of the density of mobile device users. Tens of thousands of people are concentrated in a very limited space including the bowl of the stadium and surrounding areas like parking lots, offices, access hallways, bars and restaurants. It’s a matter of fact that in order to address such huge traffic demands, the available spectrum needs to be reused as much as possible. This means the number of sectors required for a distributed antenna system (DAS) can get extremely high, considering a single sector can typically serve around 1,000 people. 

 

Cowboys Stadium, Dallas, Texas

 

Unfortunately, the more cells that operate on the same frequency in a given area, the higher the generation of inter-cell interference. Several experiences from the field have proven that the power spillover from one sector to neighboring ones can be quite substantial. You also have to cope with external interference coming from surrounding macro base stations. All of that can produce a severe degradation of the signal quality with a consequent reduction of the total delivered capacity.

Antenna technologies play a crucial role in overcoming the issue of interference containment. Ideally the antennas should allow for sculpting the radio waves so that each sector footprint only covers a well-confined zone of users. In order to achieve that, antenna radiation patterns with a steep cut-off outside the main lobe need to be exploited. It is even more difficult to meet these antenna specifications over a large frequency range. In practice, inter-sector interference can be mitigated adopting the right antenna products with proper orientations.   

CommScope recently released two antenna products specifically targeted for high capacity venues. These are Cell-Max™ DM60 and DM30 directional cross-polarized MIMO antennas with 60° and 30° 3dB radiation patterns, respectively. They combine a consistent narrow beamwidth with an ultra wide frequency range. They also feature smart mounting brackets with an audible click, enabling flexible orientation and simple adjustment of both azimuth and elevation angles.   

What other solutions help lessen the severe burden on wireless infrastructure in extremely high capacity venues like stadiums?

About the Author

Luigi Tarlazzi

Luigi Tarlazzi is director of product line management, Small Cells, for the Distributed Coverage and Capacity Solutions (DCCS) group of CommScope. In this role, Luigi manages the OneCell product line, especially in regards to integration with CommScope’s distributed antenna system (DAS) solutions.

Prior to this role, Luigi served as product line manager, ION-U DAS, Americas, and 4G networks engineer in the DCCS R&D department, where he oversaw all scientific aspects of next generation mobile communication networks. He previously worked on the DCCS Future Technologies team, providing LTE technical training to business operations teams globally, designing MIMO-based LTE DAS and supervising LTE MIMO DAS trials across the world.

Prior to CommScope, Luigi worked for Siemens COM S.p.A. in Milan, Italy as a UTRAN entity integration testing engineer. He received a master of science degree in telecommunications engineering from the University of Bologna.

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