Qualcomm Transforms NASCAR Garage with First Hyper-Dense Small Cell Network and Sprint

In a venue that is all about speed, fans expect the fastest experience possible. That’s why Qualcomm Technologies, Inc., a subsidiary of Qualcomm Incorporated, spent this past weekend at Phoenix International Raceway demonstrating its second phase trial of a hyper-dense small cell network, cooperating with Sprint and NASCAR® to connect one of the toughest environments around.

NASCAR cars entering small cell garage

The NASCAR stock cars enter the garage connected with Qualcomm small cell technology.

The raceway (and, specifically, the garage area) is an ideal venue to conduct a small cell trial: 43 teams rely on real-time data relayed between the car, pit, garage and their home base – usually in North Carolina; these radio frequencies are hampered by an ever-changing environment packed with large vehicles that often reflect signals, as well as the crush of up to 5,000 mobile users in the garage area, with their own data demands. Staying connected – especially at the fast speeds that are demanded – is no easy task. 

NASCAR Cars in Qualcomm Small Cell Connected Garage at Phoenix Raceway

The stock cars get analyzed and the data uploaded from the garage at Phoenix International Raceway.

To address this challenge, Qualcomm Technologies installed 31 small cell base stations in the garage to test density limits, measure network performance improvements and quantify users’ mobile experiences. This hyper-dense network demonstration, built with Airspan’s AirSynergy 2000 LTE Advanced Pico Base Stations, is connected by Qualcomm Technologies’ small cell chipsets and UltraSON™ (Self Organizing Network) technology. The hyper-dense network has an equivalent density of 1000 cells per square kilometer operating on Sprint’s band 41 LTE-TDD spectrum.

Qualcomm small cell on garage

A Qualcomm-enabled small cell on top of the NASCAR garage near the race tower.

In preparation for the anticipated 1000x increase in mobile data traffic this decade, Qualcomm Technologies is leading the charge to maximize the efficiency of limited spectrum. In its Phase 1 trial at Phoenix International Raceway in November of 2013, Qualcomm Technologies showcased its UltraSON technology’s ability to improve wireless performance and quality of service in hyper-dense small cell networks, while significantly reducing network load. In phase 2, Qualcomm Technologies plans to demonstrate significant capacity gains resulting in  robust user experiences across the whole trial area. We are ready for the 1000x data challenge, and tackling the toughest places first.

A Small Cell on the NASCAR GarageWhile traditional macro cell towers are good at providing wide area coverage, small cell deployment is designed to offer a more cost-effective solution to deliver high levels of mobile data capacity in both indoor and outdoor venues, with the added benefit of enhanced performance in areas of dense usage –a busy NASCAR garage being the ultimate example.

It was a thrilling weekend for many speedy reasons, but we were most excited to see the next phase of small cells come together and deliver data quickly and reliably in such a demanding environment. After all, if small cells can address data demand in the bustling garage at NASCAR, they can help improve performance anywhere.

Sprint NASCAR Crowd in Phoenix

That’s a lot of mobile data demand! Thousands in the grandstands look on as the stock cars scream by.

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