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Inside Verizon's Super Bowl Control Center

Martyn Williams | Feb. 1, 2016
Engineers monitor realtime feeds from cell sites so fans can tweet, post and stream during the big game.

The game is important not just because of its high profile, but because it really does  test cellular networks like no other NFL game.

“The difference between a Super Bowl versus most other events is we’ll see probably 5- to 6-times the traffic in the stadium," said French. “Last year, we were really surprised by how much data grew.

At Super Bowl 49, Verizon saw fans in the stadium consume 4 terabytes of data on its network alone. This year, it's expecting that to rise to 6 terabytes.

0127 sf superbowl 8 
Phillip French, executive director of networks for Verizon’s Western Territory, speaks to reporters in Santa Clara on Jan. 28, 2016. Credit: Martyn Williams

And the big takeaway from Super Bowl 50 for those engineers from Houston? The importance of small cells, said French.

The micro cell sites can significantly help boost overall network capacity and keep fans happy, but there's lots of positioning and tuning needed to make sure they don't interfere with each other.

French, a football fan himself, said he's already working on that for next year's game. But one of his first jobs once things pack up in Santa Clara will be to watch the game.

"There’s no doubt in my mind that I will miss 98 percent of the game," he said. "I will record it."

 

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