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Racing Toward 1000x with Sprint and NASCAR

Marching toward your goal is a normal course of business. But racing toward it in the company of superfast NASCAR vehicles is a completely different story!  As exciting as a NASCAR event is, our race took place just off track, in the garage area of Phoenix International Raceway in Arizona where Sprint, NASCAR and Qualcomm Technologies (QTI) performed a joint trial, stress-testing and validating the “hyper-dense small cells” concept and QTI’s UltraSONTM suite of features. When the results were in, we were as ecstatic—perhaps more so than the fans of the winning car and driver.

Our vision of solving 1000x mobile data challenge is built on the idea of hyper-dense deployment of small cells. The most cost-effective way to achieve such densification is to adopt more of an unplanned, ad-hoc approach, without any detailed RF planning. Obviously, this approach has inherent challenges such as interference, reliable mobility, etc.

QTI’s UltraSON solves many of these challenges. For example, its mobility management feature reduces “ping-pong” between cells and increases reliability; and its interference management techniques add robustness to the system, thereby delivering a better user experience. Those are just two key features that come to mind—UltraSON employs many more that are beyond what the standards recommend. 

After testing UltraSON extensively in the labs and our over-the-air test network in San Diego, QTI joined hands with Sprint and NASCAR to test in a real-life scenario.  The scenario might have been more than “real life”—more like the harshest RF conditions possible. There were large trucks acting as reflectors and obstacles, and the constantly moving vehicles and people made the scenario very dynamic. We ultimately deployed what may have been the densest small cell network in the world, with an equivalent density of 1000 cells/km2, built with Airspan’s LTE-Advanced picos, powered by QTI’s small cell chipsets and UltraSON. Additionally, the network had to be deployed in a very short time (1-2 days), which meant no prior planning, and thus allowing us to demonstrate how UltraSON adapts to unplanned deployments.

The performance results of the trail would make even a NASCAR race winner proud—a telltale sign of how hyper-dense networks are a solution to the 1000x challenge. The test network hauled more than 40times the traffic carried by the traditional means (cell-on-wheels), offering an unheard area spectral efficiency of over 650 bps/Hz/km2, while significantly reducing handovers and radio link failures. I could write on and on, praising the performance but instead, I’ll let the numbers do the talking. Tune in to our webinar on April 22nd to hear more details. To see images from the event, click here.

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