Verizon upgrades network for San Francisco customers

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Upgraded network creates platform for innovation for developers and enterprises

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SAN FRANCISCO, CA - Verizon has recently made major upgrades to the network serving customers in San Francisco, CA, providing the Bay area an advanced technological platform for major innovation. The upgrades are part of a multi-year redesign of its network architecture to stay ahead of exponential data usage increases, upgrade the technology in the network, pave the way for personalized customer experiences and provide a platform for enterprises and developers to drive innovation.

In the city of San Francisco, the Technology Hub of the World, 80% of the population is now covered with 5G Ultra Wideband service using C-band spectrum. However, connecting to the network is just the bare minimum of what customers need to drive innovation. Considering the variety of use cases that run on networks, it’s critical to acknowledge their varying network needs. Networks must serve IoT devices that do very little networking and stay in place, smartphones with infinite opportunities to use data in a highly mobile environment, and complex solutions like Augmented Reality that require massive computing capabilities on the edge of the network. Reaching new, advanced levels of innovation and digital transformation in our society requires a fundamental transformation of the networks our world runs on. New 5G solutions will all heavily rely on the scale, programmability, flexibility and scalability of upgraded networks, and the engineering team in San Francisco has been aggressively deploying upgrades to make the local network robust, secure and reliable for innovation development.

Network upgrades in San Francisco include deploying new cell sites to extend coverage and capacity in local communities and in venues where large gatherings take place, introducing new spectrum for wireless connectivity, adding more capacity on fiber optic cables to move more data through the network, incorporating advanced technologies to drive efficiency, and adding bandwidth to the cellular network to accommodate new services like wireless internet service for homes and businesses. Specifics on the upgrades include:

  • Mid-band spectrum: Until this year in San Francisco, Verizon has been restricted to using 60 MHz of the C-band spectrum they secured in the recent government auction, but by the end of this year, customers in San Francisco will be able to take advantage of 140 MHz of C-band, more than doubling the spectrum available for 5G Ultra Wideband. That additional spectrum will turbo charge the service, offering significantly higher speeds, much greater capacity to accommodate more customers and more robust services.

  • High-band spectrum: In addition to offering 5G service using C-band spectrum, Verizon has been aggressively deploying 5G service using Millimeter Wave (mmWave), its premium, high-band spectrum which allows for extremely fast speeds and massive capacity. Verizon engineers have deployed more than 400 small cells throughout the Bay area offering 5G service using mmWave spectrum.

  • Fiber upgrades: The addition of 5G service and the many additional wireless solutions allow far more data to travel on the wireless network in San Francisco. That exponential increase in data carried into and out of the cell sites serving the community requires upgraded fiber optic cable links. Fiber optic cables are used to move data between cell sites and connect those sites to the rest of the network. Verizon has increased the capacity on the fiber connections in many cell sites in the San Francisco area so they can carry 10 times the amount of data.

  • Advanced technologies: San Francisco was among the first communities in the US to take advantage of Edge Computing technology. Mobile Edge Compute (MEC) brings technology resources closer to the customer. Data is processed and stored at the network’s edge, not at some distant data center, significantly reducing latency. MEC provides both an IT service environment and cloud computing capabilities to help enable the real time enterprise. In addition to MEC, engineers in San Francisco have deployed M-MIMO (Massive Multi-in, multi-out) antenna configurations. Using multiple antennas on the cell site and in consumer devices, cuts down on interference for the signal traveling through the air and increases customer throughput for better performance. Lastly, engineers in the San Francisco area are using a technology called carrier aggregation. Using Verizon’s deep spectrum portfolio of low-band, mid-band, and high-band spectrum, engineers aggregate the spectrum together in various combinations to increase data speed, throughput and performance. In the Bay area, engineers have used various combinations of spectrum up to seven channels carrier aggregation to maximize performance.

Verizon in venues across the Bay area

Verizon has built their network to serve customers when service is critical. Verizon owns and operates an extensive DAS system in Chase Center covering all seating areas, court (for concerts), concourses, suites, below ground parking, 3rd & 16th street entrances, locker rooms, offices & outdoor retail area. Additionally, Verizon engineers have deployed 20 mmWave nodes to cover bowl seats with their premium 5G Ultra Wideband service.

During the Central Subway SFMTA debut in January 2023, Verizon was the only operator serving the tunnels and underground stations. Currently Verizon serves tunnels and these stations: Yerba Buena/Moscone, Union Square/Market Street, and Chinatown/Rose Pak. The DAS will expand to other tunnels and stations in the near future.

Verizon Innovation Lab open in San Francisco

As a result of the significant network upgrades in the Bay area, Verizon and key innovation partners have chosen the Bay area for Verizon’s newly opened Innovation Lab in order to drive the innovation ecosystem. This 27,000 square foot facility hosts customers with integrated spaces with products and solutions for collaboration as well as an active lab environment for development and testing. The space includes both commercial and private 5G networks, NSA and IMS cores, multiple RF shielded rooms and a full private MEC portfolio for developers. Verizon also has Innovation Labs located in Los Angeles and Boston.

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