For the past few years, Qualcomm Technologies has worked with long-time partner MLB Advanced Media (MLBAM) to solve a frustration you may be familiar with: inconsistent connectivity for your mobile devices in a ballpark packed with, say, 30,000 people—all gathered to root for their favorite baseball teams. It’s not the network operators’ faults; it’s just that between all the fans trying to tweet about the incredible defensive play, looking up a rookie’s stats on MLB.com At Bat, or video chat a victory dance, a lot of bandwidth gets consumed.
We’re thrilled to play a role in a solution for your experience. Engineers from Qualcomm Technologies teamed up with MLBAM technologists to perform detailed RF surveys and user experience tests for both cellular and Wi-Fi to identify performance and capacity gaps in participating Major League Baseball ballparks.
This assessment supported MLBAM as it worked with its operator and technology partners to implement our recommended solutions, building a bridge over the gaps to ensure the participating ballparks provided the best fan experience with vast cellular and Wi-Fi capacities for the rising mobile demands of all fankind.
In order to achieve this goal, Qualcomm Technologies’ Engineering Services Group (ESG), made up of specialists in radio frequency optimization, visited 21 ballparks with special equipment, allowing us to help MLBAM assess the coverage and capacity at a ballpark.
Each ballpark was tested twice: once when there was no game being played and again during a game to analyze how fans use their devices in action. (What better excuse to catch a baseball game? Go, Padres!).
The ESG team arrived at the stadiums early in the morning. They were given VIP treatment as well as a personal escort right up to the executive conference room, where they took out their gear and set up the mission control center.
- 5 smartphones (various phones, various carriers)
- 1 Wi-Fi scanner
- 1 RF scanner
- 3 laptops
- Multiple chargers
- Multiple batteries
After running tests to make sure everything was working properly, the team walked down to the field and got to work. One member was wearing a backpack with a giant “omni scanner,” while the other engineer wore a laptop suspended from a shoulder mount. Throughout the day they walked throughout all levels of each participating ballpark and also visited predetermined areas to collect critical details about the radio frequency signal strength and coverage ability in different seating sections.
Next, another engineer used five smartphones to start the next step of the survey process. The engineer visited a minimum of seven different locations and ran some tests with TEMS Pocket on the smartphones with specialized scripts. At each location, it took just less than 10 minutes for the devices to capture readings and collect data.
The process was repeated during a game to get readings and data when the networks were being stressed. Of course, it took much longer because it was more difficult to move around and all those people using their mobile devices slowed down the capture process.
Once data was collected from the RF and Wi-Fi surveys, the engineers double-checked to make sure they got everything required and headed back to the lab for in-depth analysis.
After all was said and done, the Qualcomm Technologies engineers reviewed all of their findings and delivered recommendations to MLBAM about how to best improve the connectivity at each participating ballpark. Now, at several ballparks, despite the presence of 30,000+ other fans inhabiting the same networks, these improvements already allow fans to enjoy better connectivity during their in-venue experiences. And the rest will follow.