Ballparks, stadiums make perfect test beds for the future of wireless

editor's corner

The past few months have seen a number of announcements from mobile operators and neutral-host providers that have deployed DAS and Wi-Fi networks in a variety of sports venues worldwide. Of course, the need for improved connectivity in such locations is no secret to any fan who has tried unsuccessfully to text or call someone or surf the Web from their mobile device while attending a live sporting event.

But one thing I hadn't considered is how the concentration of tens of thousands of mobile users into a restricted area such as a stadium reflects the conditions mobile operators increasingly face as wireless becomes an even more pervasive communications medium, not just for communications between people but also for the Internet of Things.

I recently interviewed Anand Chandrasekher, senior vice president and CMO of Qualcomm (NASDAQ:QCOM), who explained that in many ways ballparks and sports arenas are a "microcosm," providing a look into the challenges that will be faced by wireless operators over the next five to 10 years.

Network engineers from Qualcomm Technologies Inc. (QTI) have been working directly with Major League Baseball's MLB Advanced Media (MLBAM) unit to address connectivity challenges in U.S. ballparks, an effort that should provide a lot of lessons not just for the MLB but the wireless industry at large. You can learn more about Qualcomm's work with MLBAM in FierceBroadbandWireless' latest On the Hot Seat Q&A feature. --Tammy