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Thread: Cell phone tower capacity - sports stadiums, airports, conference centres etc

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    Junior Member Parkhere's Avatar
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    Cell phone tower capacity - sports stadiums, airports, conference centres etc

    Technical question:

    Can anyone tell me how a cell phone tower capacity is provisioned to serve very large numbers of mobile devices?

    Examples, sports stadiums, airports, conference centres etc.

    I was at the Durban ICC a few nights ago, at the Baptist World Congress, and several thousand smart phones were competing for access to the GSM network.

    The signal was there, but connectivity was non existent. Delegates used wifi and text messages to communicate.

    Preumably the network was swamped, and the capacity was exceeded, resulting in a GSM network 'meltdown'

    I have never experienced this before, can anyone in the industry enlighten me?

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    Diamond Member tec0's Avatar
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    The tower consist for the physical tower directional and omnidirectional antenna and plugged into a power source and a system called a RBS "Radio base Station" and depending of the system feed can be optic-fiber among other feed systems that include satellite feed and other older mediums. The RBS system can be set to feed voice and data but the newer generation is basically data and voice is converted to data. Again this is dependent on age make and model. Signal triangulation happens among other ways how far you are to one tower and how close you are to another. The signal "pinging your phone" is estimated hence some model RBS systems will drop you if you are to far and your phone will continue to communicate to a closer tower. Now lets say you are one of 1000 people all of them demanding data it comes down to the RBS normally they can handle 10000 devices just fine and larger newer systems can do much higher numbers some can do up to half a million "dependent" on the RBS location how many RBS systems are running and what hardware is plugged into them.

    Now this is layman's way of looking at it, how the signal talks and how your phone stay in communication is really intense and really writing a book here will not help you. The basics are simple distance, signal obstruction, secondary signal noise and feed capability can cause voice loss and data loss and a time out on the network. It also comes down to the building itself. Buildings with reinforcement "round bar in the walls" may create problems for signal making it weaker.

    But honestly there is a host of other problems that can cause you to have problems.
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    Junior Member Parkhere's Avatar
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    Thanks tec0, I would hope the ICC has a large capacity RBS

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    Site Caretaker Dave A's Avatar
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    I know one of the ways towers deal with capacity problems is via cell breathing. Quite a neat trick, as long as there are other towers available to pick up the slack.

    At first blush, I would have thought that the ICC area would have been adequately covered - but thinking about it, I suppose limits are being pushed out all the time.
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