Optus has announced that it will improve its network in major stadiums in Australia, so customers attending major sporting and music events can stay connected and upload or access digital content faster.
With Optus having a range of premium partnerships and sponsorship deals with sporting organisations in Australia such as Cricket Australia, the Big Bash league’s Melbourne Stars and the Australian Open, the company is prioritising efforts to provide customers an enhanced live spectator experience. In a trial being conducted with Nokia at Sydney’s ANZ Stadium the company hopes that the investment in additional reception technology will improve network performance overall at these venues.
Optus Networks acting Managing Director, Dennis Wong, has said that
Customers want to stay connected and get content fast whether they are enjoying the Big Bash League in a stadium or capturing special moments at a major concert. For Optus, we need to trial and explore the technology that will continue to enhance our customers’ experience. Sports fans and concertgoers love to share experiences immediately on social media platforms whether it’s a short video, selfies or photos. When there is a high concentration of people and devices on a network, balancing the network’s capacity is key.
Ray Owen, Head of Oceania, Nokia, has stated that one of the key issues is interference from competing devices trying to access the mobile network all at once at the same time.
This results in devices increasing the power levels they use to communicate with the network, drowning each other out, increasing battery drain, and shrinking network capacity. We are working with Optus to trial Centralised RAN to manage this. We are significantly increasing uplink capacity on the Optus 4G Plus network in and around ANZ Stadium, boosting upload speeds while improving download speeds and reducing battery drain.
The trial of these base stations will utilise uplink signals from multiple cells’ base stations to cancel the interference and select the best signals from 12 receivers which will hopefully provide a network configuration that will optimise every millisecond for each mobile device according to the actual interference situation, which enhances LTE upload speeds.
This new infrastructure, which is based on Nokia Centralised RAN, builds on 3GPP (3G Partnership Project) standardisation which in turn will bring performance improvements tat are compatible with pretty much any new and existing LTE (4G/4G Plus) devices. By having this new technology in place ensures that these benefits are achieved without new network elements or modification to existing LTE base station hardware.
The trials are underway and will continue in the lead up to the first State of Origin series, with Optus saying that it will continue to create new experiences for fans beyond improving how they connect with each other but also how they interact with the events and content. Though Optus has said that it will continue explore LTE Broadcast solutions to help deliver live video to many users at the same time which it currently isn’t able to do.
Mr Wong did say that “We are keen to identify ways to deliver streaming to a mass audience without impacting the capacity of the network. We are also continually evolving our innovation strategy across all parts of our business and continue to look for opportunities to work with other third parties to deliver excellence and new ideas that benefit Australia,”
Nokia’s Liquid Applications are being utilised for this trial, which further expands on the collaboration in 2015 between the 2 company’s which was on the Edge Video Orchestration. Liquid Applications reduce latency on the edge of the network making for faster overall response and making the network seem faster overall.
Improvements made here should benefit the entire Optus network over the long run, Optus will just have to extend the technology once trials are completed.