Wednesday Wi-Fi Whispers: Cal’s Memorial Stadium Gets Multi-Beamed

It’s not necessarily Wi-Fi but when it comes to bringing more wireless capacity to stadiums who are we to quibble? While at an event at the AT&T Foundry in Palo Alto last week where Ma Bell was showing off a bunch of innovative wireless stuff we saw in the flesh (well in the silicon and plastic, I guess) some of the new multi-beam antennas AT&T developed earlier this year.

Turns out those suckers are pretty big. See this picture with the helpful person standing next to it for perspective.

An AT&T multibeam cellular antenna. Shown next to real-life person. Credit: MSR.

In case you didn’t read through our earlier story the multi-beam antennas are great for stadium situations because they shoot their signals out on a very narrow beam, allowing for greater density in capacity. Basically what that means is with a multibeam antenna operators can direct the signals better, instead of just broadcasting out in a circle and hoping for the best. These whiteboard drawings below might help you understand how this all works.

We missed the presentation but I think you can figure out what this means.

Not as clear but the idea is, multibeam antennas serve a slice of the crowd.

If you are attending any football games at the University of California’s refurbished Memorial Stadium in Berkeley this fall you might be able to spot a few of these bad boys, since AT&T has installed them there to improve cell coverage, according to an AT&T rep we met at the event.

Best Wi-Fi at AT&T Park? Try Section 336

With his team having clinched the National League West, it made sense that San Francisco Giants CIO Bill Schlough was in a good mood at the AT&T event last week (where he was telling folks all about the wireless wonderland inside the stadium walls). We got a chance to ask Bill where the best reception was in the park, and he gave a surprising answer — Section 336, way up in the upper deck at the corner of the left-field line.

According to Schlough that part of the park is absolutely blanketed with Wi-Fi antennas because it is the area where the team puts overflow media members during the playoffs. To make sure the sportswriters have a great signal the team saturates the section, making it also a good place for fans with tablets and smartphones.

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