Parallel Wireless and partners put public safety LTE network to the test during Super Bowl 50

Thanks to a Special Temporary Authorization (STA) from the FCC and support from FirstNet, HetNet provider Parallel Wireless and its partners set up an LTE network for public safety to use during yesterday's Super Bowl. And it was all arranged with only about 20 days notice.

mit rfid

Parallel Wireless and partners staged a 
public safety Band 14 exercise for the
Super Bowl.


Operating off details provided by the NFL, Parallel Wireless received notice that it would get a spot at each of the north and south scoreboards in Levi's Stadium in order to mount its Band 14 eNodeB radios. That would cover the entire stadium in Santa Clara, Calif., and provide law enforcement with their own frequencies for broadband voice, data and video.

However, in the end, the team was asked to just focus on the Super Bowl City. "This is exactly why we do these exercises since the NFL and many others are not aware that FirstNet has been allocated 20 MHz of dedicated spectrum in the 700 MHz band," according to Steve Kropper, VP, Parallel Wireless, who provided support on site.

The FBI coordinated with the City of San Francisco to install Internet access at the corner of Washington and Embarcadero using their municipal fiber network. PG&E pulled Internet service to a garage, and from the two mount and backhaul points, Parallel Wireless was able to cover the entire Super Bowl City site.

To demonstrate redundancy, Harris County, Texas, offered to support the exercise with its Ericsson (NASDAQ: ERIC) EPC located outside the flood zone on the campus of Texas A&M University. The Ericsson EPC was "fronted" with Parallel's HetNet gateway, which allows hundreds of RAN to join the network without more ports being configured, according to Kropper. So, in what sounds like an unusual situation, Houston supported the Super Bowl network from Texas. "We had some advance planning here as Parallel's gear was in place to extend Harris County's network into the meeting venue for last month's FirstNet board meeting in Houston," he said.

Sonim provided the XP-7 handsets, and Mutualink provided its interop system for land mobile radio (LMR) to communicate with LTE. On the first night of the deployment, a Sonim handset was broadcasting the street scene from a FBI light tower Band 14. Bay Area Regional Interoperable Communications (BayRICS), the Department of Homeland Security and FirstNet all supported the effort.

FCC records show Parallel was granted an STA for the Band 14 public safety LTE network for SuperBowl 50 effective Feb. 5; it expires at 3 a.m. Eastern time on Feb. 9.

Gigantic events like the Super Bowl are providing opportunities for FirstNet partners to demonstrate their technology. During the New Year's Day Rose Parade, the Los Angeles Regional Interoperable Communication System Authority (LA-RICS) said its emergency data communications system performed flawlessly, transmitting the equivalent of 20,000 YouTube videos between 4 p.m. Dec. 31 and noon on New Year's Day.

Other companies also were involved in providing connectivity outside Levi's stadium for Sunday's big game. Gimbal beacons, for example, were deployed throughout the city, notifying fans of events, points of interest and checking them into locations to win prizes through a special Super Bowl 50 app.

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