NRG stadium gets major upgrade from Verizon
HOUSTON, TX – NRG stadium, home to football showdowns, basketball buzzer beaters and rodeo legends, recently received some major network enhancements from Verizon. Verizon engineers recently added 45 nodes (the equivalent of 15 full size cell sites) inside the stadium. These upgrades deliver 5G coverage using both Verizon’s newly acquired C-band spectrum and its premium high-band mmWave spectrum. Additionally, Verizon deployed advanced performance control features, and upgraded coverage and performance in the outdoor parking lot in anticipation of major events this year.
When the pro football’s biggest game came through Houston in 2017, Verizon’s engineers made major enhancements to the city, increasing data capacity more than 450% and adding permanent wireless solutions in key areas throughout Houston including NRG stadium. Verizon engineers have not slowed down since.
In recent months, Verizon engineers have added a combination of 4G LTE and 5G Ultra Wideband coverage throughout the stadium with a particular focus on providing 5G service to the lower bowl. Using Verizon’s C-band and its premium mmWave spectrum, the additional capacity will enable fans to connect to the events in the stadium in unprecedented ways.
“How, when and where customers use their devices is constantly changing, and we’re continually upgrading our network to stay ahead of their needs,” said Eric Lia, Vice President of Engineering and Access at Verizon. “Customers are clamoring for a more immersive wireless experience. Our team has been working for months to enhance the network and provide additional 5G coverage and capacity at NRG Stadium, especially on the floor where so much activity happens at these events.”
In addition to the extra coverage and capacity the 63 new sectors of cell sites provide, Verizon engineers added a performance enhancement technology that divides crowds into sectors like slices of a pie. Each slice or sector can be adjusted individually to handle wireless traffic. This technology gives Verizon engineers more leeway to adjust performance based on where customers move and how they use data inside the stadium.
The addition of C-band and mmWave spectrum allows far more data to travel on the wireless network, and that exponential increase in data is carried into and out of the stadium by two 100 Gbps fiber optic cable links. This huge pipeline will be able to accommodate the increase in usage Verizon engineers are seeing.
“We’ve exponentially increased the capacity on our cell sites with all the c-band and mmWave spectrum we’re using in the market, but we don’t want the fiber connections to our cell sites to be a bottleneck that could slow the pace of data traffic moving around our network. That’s why we have increased those pipes as well,” said Lia.
Additionally, Verizon has added the equivalent of four additional cell sites in the parking area outside of the stadium so guests can continue sharing their experience with friends and family as they come and go from the stadium.