01.25.2017Network

Verizon significantly enhances its Houston network, increases wireless data capacity 450% for fans attending Super Bowl LI

Media contact(s) 
Karen Schulz
T. 864.987.2006
Enhancements include 220+ permanent small cells, 24 Nodes on Wheels (NOWs), 23 new permanent cell sites, LTE Advanced technology

New Matsing Ball technology deployed by Verizon in preparation for the Super Bowl.

HOUSTON, TX – Verizon customers attending the biggest sporting event of the year can count on high quality connectivity while at NRG stadium and the series of events surrounding Super Bowl LI. Enhancements to Verizon’s industry-leading network at and around the stadium, Super Bowl Live area, transportation hubs, hotels and popular tourist areas will provide a 450% increase in capacity and increase in coverage for event attendees and for area customers after the festivities.

Hundreds of Verizon employees have worked for nearly two years to prepare for Super Bowl LI, boosting network performance in major gathering locations throughout Houston, popular traffic routes in the city, major area airports and several hotels. Here are some of the enhancements visitors and residents will benefit from:

  • Built 23 new permanent cell sites
  • Installed 220+ permanent small cells installed
  • Doubled capacity through major routes in and out of downtown
  • Deployed 24 Nodes on Wheels (NOWs) to increase capacity and coverage
  • Deployed three channel carrier aggregation leading to greater network peak speeds
  • Positioned Mobile cell sites throughout the city
  • Installed an antenna system  to reach the lower stadium seats

220+ small cells “densify the network”

The deployment of 220+ small cells is a significant permanent investment in Houston and will service the city for years to come. These small cells are short range cell sites that consist of a radio, antenna, power and a fiber connection. They are strategically positioned within Verizon’s existing network coverage area to add additional 4G LTE capacity where it’s needed – in heavy traffic areas. The coverage area can range from a few hundred feet to upwards of 1,000 ft. This small focused footprint allows more consumers to stream video or share memories during events.

LTE Advanced enhancement: 50% greater peak data speeds

Verizon has also deployed three-channel carrier aggregation (LTE Advanced) in the Houston area to enhance peak data speeds. This is a further enhancement to the nationwide August rollout of two-channel aggregation, providing 50% greater peak speeds in Houston and in cities nationwide.

Coverage in underground tunnels

Residents and visitors to Houston can utilize their wireless devices on a state-of-the-art distributed antenna system (DAS) installed in the underground tunnels. The DAS drastically improves wireless service along the more than six mile tunnel route, which boasts 43 buildings including office towers, restaurants and retail stores. The thousands of pedestrians who travel through the tunnels daily can expect to make and receive calls and text messages and surf the web with more consistency.

“We know people attending the Super Bowl and the incredible events surrounding the game will want to share their experiences with friends and loved ones around the nation, and will use their wireless devices to gather information and navigate throughout Houston and will use their devices to capture every exciting moment of their experience,” said Nicola Palmer, Chief Network Officer for Verizon. Our engineers have been working tirelessly to ensure our customers have a great wireless experience with Verizon.”

Specific network solutions deployed

At last year’s Super Bowl, attendees at Levi stadium used seven TB of data during the game and over 68 TB of data throughout the nine-day event. With the continued evolution of wireless technology and the increase in data usage trends, we anticipate even greater reliance on wireless technology during this year’s game and events. To meet the needs of our customers, Verizon has made the following enhancements:

NRG Stadium, home of the Super Bowl

To improve capacity in the stadium, Verizon is providing service through:

  • one of the largest Distributed Antenna Systems  (DAS) in the US  
  • an Outdoor DAS,
  • a DAS in the NRG Center
  • a DAS in the arena
  • a Cell on Wheels (COW)
  • Five Nodes on Wheels (NOW - lighter and more mobile versions of Cells on Wheels)

Super Bowl Live

In and around the area of Discovery Green, Verizon has deployed:

  • 79 small cells
  • Three COWs, two of which have Masting Ball technology, which divides crowds into sectors like slices of a pie.  Each slice or sector can be adjusted individually to handle wireless traffic.
  • 18 NOWs
  • 10 macro cell sites

The NFL Experience at George R. Brown Convention Center

  • Verizon is providing service through a DAS connected directly to a dedicated base station providing high speeds and additional capacity.

Major Traffic Areas

  • In major traffic routes in and out of downtown Houston, Verizon has supplemented capacity and coverage by deploying Nodes on Wheels (NOW), lighter and more mobile versions of Cells on Wheels (COW). Deployed on street corners, throughout the Super Bowl Live event area and at Galleria, these NOWs stand approximately 25 feet tall and take up a space the size of a single parking space, but provide the same capacity as a standard COW.

Event Venues, hotels and transportation hubs throughout Houston

  • Providing service through a DAS systems and small cells in Minute Maid Park, the Toyota Center, the Museum of Fine Arts, the Museum of Natural Science, the Galleria Mall, NASA Visitors Center and Museum, Hobby airport, IAH and various hotels which will host the teams, visitors, security teams, NFL employees and other visitors.

These investments will benefit customers living in and traveling to Houston, in addition to public safety, well into the future too, adding capacity for web browsing, video streaming, social media posting, and more.

“When a city hosts an event like the Super Bowl, they are able to benefit from investments we make to manage the influx of crowds long into the future. The permanent enhancements we have made throughout Houston are infrastructure improvements that will benefit businesses, visitors, law enforcement officials and residents for years to come,” said Palmer.

Real-Time network monitoring

Verizon will field its own team for the Super Bowl, too. Before and during Super Bowl LI, a special team of technicians and engineers will monitor and manage the network in real-time both from a command center and in NRG stadium. Engineers equipped with special testing equipment will be walking the event throughout the week providing real-time data on network performance and coordinating optimization efforts with the command center team.

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