New Orleans leverages Harris LTE pilot during Super Bowl
First-responder personnel used Band 14 LTE devices from Harris to stream video from the Super Bowl as part of a six-month pilot project that recently began in New Orleans, according to an official with Harris.
“The medical guys were taking real-time video with the tablet, transmitting it over the Band 14 LTE network to the city’s local area network to someone sitting at a desktop,” said Chuck Shaughnessy, vice president of the Harris LTE business, during an interview with Urgent Communications. “So, they were doing real-time video from the field using the private LTE network into a dispatch center of sorts, and that was very impressive.”
Previously, the medical personnel had experimented with video from personal smartphones over a commercial carrier network, but they were able to use a Harris LTE tablet and a private LTE network, Shaughnessy said.
“Because it was private and just dedicated to them, they were able to see a significant performance difference — as you might expect — just from a congestion standpoint,” he said.
The New Orleans pilot is a two-site network operating on all 20 MHz of Band 14 spectrum, whereas previous Harris LTE pilots in Miami and Las Vegas were single-site systems operating on 10 MHz of 700 MHz spectrum that previously was licensed to the Public Safety Spectrum Trust (PSST), Shaughnessy said.
“In New Orleans, they wanted to cover more of the city than one site would cover, and we wanted to try some things out throughout the course of the six months that would work on two sites, instead of one,” he said.
“The Super Bowl is a concentration of people in one small place, and they wanted to be able to use it there to test it. The real big event is Mardi Gras, which is coming up [next week],” he continued. “That will be a much bigger, more raucous crowd, and it will get a little bit different test then.”
As in previous pilots, Nokia Siemens Networks provided the LTE base-station and radio-access-network infrastructure. However, the New Orleans pilot is utilizing a “virtual core” solution from Cisco Systems, instead of backhauling signals back to a hosted LTE core in Chelmsford, Mass., Shaughnessy said
“In the other two pilots, we had long, high-bandwidth and backhaul from Miami and Las Vegas back to Chelmsford,” he said. “In this one, everything was local, so we didn’t have the need for long-haul backhaul, because we were able to implement the core [in New Orleans] using Cisco’s product in the city itself.”
With the two-site system in New Orleans, Harris will have its first opportunity to test internal LTE handoffs between sites, Shaughnessy said.
“We are looking forward to doing that,” he said. “We wanted to get through the Super Bowl first without that complication, but we certainly are going to do that. We’ve tested in Miami roaming from Band 14 to a commercial network, and we’ve done that successfully. This will be a handoff between sites within the Band 14 LTE network.”
Overall, Shaughnessy described the Super Bowl as “very successful,” noting that Harris hopes to learn more from the pilot system during the upcoming five months. He also was quick to note that the LTE pilot did not impact the Super Bowl game.
“Before you ask, we had nothing to do with the power outage,” Shaughnessy said, adding that the outage did not affect the performance of the LTE pilot network.