Verizon gives the network at the Miami Grand Prix a major upgrade

This syndicated post originally appeared at Zeus Kerravala – SiliconANGLE.

For this year’s Formula 1 Miami Grand Prix, Verizon made a significant investment to boost connectivity speed and improve reliability.

The service provider deployed a dedicated private wireless network with high-speed, high-capacity and low-latency connections, as well as reduced interference and improved privacy and security.

The event occurred May 5-7 at the Miami International Autodrome (pictured), located at Hard Rock Stadium. To get the network ready, Verizon engineers added more 4G and 5G coverage in different areas of the Autodrome, including the bowl, the back office and the parking areas. The network was able to support various applications at the event, such as ticket scanning, digital sign management, multiple point-of-sale terminals used by merchants, and content upload.

For upgraded 5G services, Verizon used two types of radio waves: C-band (mid-band spectrum of cellular broadband network frequencies between 3.7 and 4 GHz) and mmWave (millimeter waves or frequencies starting at 24 GHz and above). C-band provided attendees with extensive wireless coverage, while mmWave handled large amounts of data simultaneously, ensuring that the network didn’t get too slow or crowded.

Verizon also worked to increase the capacity of the fiber connections in the area by adding more fiber strands in different parts of Hard Rock Stadium and the west lot. Additionally, Verizon expanded fiber connections outdoors for its distributed antenna system, equipment that provides cellular connectivity in large facilities and arenas. Finally, engineers added more fiber connections for cell sites along the track course to guarantee optimal connectivity for fans watching the race.

To handle wireless traffic in the parking area, Verizon introduced network slicing, which divides the crowd into separate sections, like pie slices. Each section can be adjusted individually to better manage wireless traffic by fine-tuning network performance based on where people are and how they use their devices. This approach has ensured a smoother and more reliable experience for race fans during the event.

Verizon recently made major upgrades to its network in Miami, which included the addition of new cell sites for better coverage, increased capacity of fiber optic cables, and more bandwidth for new services such as wireless internet. According to Verizon, 94% of its customers in Miami now have access to 5G Ultra Wideband, the operator’s highest-performing 5G.

Post-race, Verizon provided data on usage. The Miami Grand Prix brought a whopping 270,000 fans to the three-day event, with about one-third using the Verizon wireless network to share their experience. Verizon customers alone generated 42.9 terabytes of data over the three days, up 26% from a year ago. To gain some perspective, that is the equivalent of streaming a full-length movie over 12,000 times. The last Super Bowl generated in the range of 30 terabytes of traffic,. That was in a single day, but it’s a good indicator of the volume of traffic.

These enhancements are part of Verizon’s broader business strategy, dubbed Business Connected Venue, to invest in 5G at more than 95 large public places — such as sports stadiums and concert halls — across the U.S. With a combination of public/private networks and strong technology partnerships, Verizon wants to help venues enhance the overall experience for everyone attending events.

There has been tremendous hype around 5G over the past few years, but service providers have had difficulty finding those “killer” use cases. That has left many to question whether 5G really transformative or just another solution looking for a problem.

Although I don’t believe there is a single use case that will make 5G a must-have for all companies, I do think 5G, both public and private, enables companies to use a number of digital technologies that were not practical without high-speed wireless.

Wireless point-of-sale is an excellent example of this, as I’ve been to venues where the wireless mobile credit card reader was experiencing problems because of a slow network. That can cause a 15- to 30-second delay in purchasing an item. Extrapolate this over a three-hour football game, and it’s easy to understand how a slow network can cost the venue big money.

More examples like this are needed to show “what’s possible.” This helps other businesses visualize how they can transform their organizations using 5G.

Author: Zeus Kerravala

Zeus Kerravala is the founder and principal analyst with ZK Research. Kerravala provides a mix of tactical advice to help his clients in the current business climate and long term strategic advice.