Inside AT&T’s 83GB/hour mobile cell tower …or why your iPhone no longer drops out at huge events

LA_Music_Festival_Photo_with_Captions (1).

AT&T shared a little bit of what goes into a portable network cells they put up at special events where bandwidth needs will be extraordinary. Remember, AT&T’s network is about 80% iPhones so this is important stuff. The setup above was what they used to cover a recent Los Angeles festival (read: Coachella).

This isn’t a test network; AT&T’s been honing their skills since they got caught with their pants down at SXSW in 2010 (back when AT&T was the only US iPhone carrier). Since then, with their mobile response team, they’ve been able to keep their network up and running at huge events with the addition of these ‘kits’ above.

The  network performance stats for this setup – some of which are staggering:

  • Carried approximately 83 GB of data traffic during the peak hour on our in-event network
  • Carried a combined 6,054 GB (or more than 6 terabytes) of data on our in-event network during the two weekends of the music festival (24-hour traffic totals, Friday-Sunday for two weekends).
  • About 50 engineers were involved in planning, construction or onsite 24/7 monitoring.

Both the super multi-beam antenna and five-beam antenna are AT&T innovations that were conceptualized by L.A.-based AT&T engineers Bob Mathews and Gary Chow who discuss their work in the videos below: Read more