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5G STADIUM RADIO NETWORK ENRICHES FANS’ EXPERIENCE WITH ULTRA-FAST MOBILE BROADBAND ACCESS


For music or sports fans, nothing beats the feeling of being in the stadium when your favorite band walks out to play or your team nets the winning goal—and then posting your photos of the moment on social media. But even before the introduction of 5G stadium radio network technology, many mobile phone networks lacked the capacity to get tens of thousands of fans online in a stadium simultaneously.

JMA Wireless, a leading mobile network equipment manufacturer, offers a complete solution. Working with its technology partner Analog Devices, JMA has developed 5G mobile technology that provides zero-lag broadband internet access and mass connectivity to as many as 100,000 devices and nodes per base station, ensuring that fans in stadiums around the world can share their joy with friends and family online.

AT A GLANCE

COMPANY

JMA Wireless designs and builds next-generation communication systems, delivering the industry’s most powerful technologies that enable 4G LTE, 5G, CBRS, and LAA on networks worldwide.

APPLICATIONS

JMA’s products for mobile wireless connectivity solutions ensure infrastructure reliability, streamline service operations, and maximize wireless performance across a variety of industries such as real estate, sports and entertainment, hospitality, mobile network operators, and many more.

CHALLENGE

Develop a 5G-ready mobile network cell that maximizes capacity, coverage, and service differentiation while reducing power, footprint, and operating costs.

GOAL

Develop an advanced distributed antenna system (DAS) platform and cell hub to enable seamless, broadband wireless connectivity for all visitors, fans, and employees at public venues and enterprise buildings.

TEARING DOWN THE INVISIBLE WALL

It is no trivial task to provide reliable mobile phone connectivity to a packed stadium. Many sports fans will have walked through the “invisible wall” that appears to surround a stadium on matchday, limiting their phone’s access to signals from local base stations and triggering a “No Network Service” notification on the user’s phone.

This phenomenon occurs when tens of thousands of users simultaneously attempt to access a mobile phone network to make voice calls, send messages, or use internet services. Conventional cellular infrastructure, which provides excellent connectivity in a normal urban environment, can be overwhelmed when tens of thousands of users are packed inside a venue such as a stadium. JMA Wireless saw an opportunity to apply its technical expertise to develop equipment optimized for 5G stadium radio networks in large venues.

The success of JMA’s 5G-ready mobile network systems depended on its ability to meet its customers’ requirements. All suppliers of mobile network infrastructure compete to maximize capacity, coverage, and service differentiation while reducing the size and power consumption of their products. And of course, operators always prefer products that reduce the operating costs to run the network.

5G: STEP CHANGE IN PERFORMANCE—AND COMPLEXITY

The capabilities of the latest 5G mobile technology hold out the promise of meeting all these requirements. But the technical characteristics of cellular connectivity have become more complex and difficult to implement with each new generation of mobile network technology. 4G/LTE was itself notably more complex than 3G. With the introduction of 5G mobile, there is another step-change in difficulty for the equipment manufacturer’s design teams. For JMA Wireless, the key to a successful implementation was collaboration with a best-in-class provider of 5G radio technology.

ENGAGEMENT MATCHES PARTNERS WITH COMPLEMENTARY EXPERTISE

“By basing our implementation of the RF front end on Analog Devices’ technology, we have been able to concentrate our own technical firepower on the task of developing a new, virtualized platform for distributing 5G signals to tens of thousands of subscribers simultaneously.”

Massimo Notargiacomo

Technical Director, JMA Wireless

JMA’s history of successful projects with Analog Devices in wireless infrastructure solutions for public venues and enterprises made the partnership a simple choice. “Over the years, we have established an excellent relationship on a management and technical level with Analog Devices. We rely on its solutions and expertise to build our products. So when thinking about developing a new DAS and cell hub, ADI was top of mind for the RF front-end solution,” says Remo Ricci, General Manager at JMA Wireless.

JMA had a clear-sighted plan to work with Analog Devices to get to market quickly and successfully, based on the use of Open RAN software running on standard servers—a ‘virtualized’ architecture—with a complete RF front end supplied by Analog Devices. Throughout the development process, Analog Devices drew on its domain expertise in mobile telecommunications to help JMA integrate the RF system into its server-based architecture.

“We arranged a series of meetings between JMA’s engineering team and the relevant Analog Devices business units. These were backed up by regular conference calls for technical discussions,” explains Gaetano Piarino, Key Account Manager at Analog Devices. “ADI also engaged its transceiver team in India to perform customer-specific design tasks, which speeded up the design process and helped JMA to meet its aggressive time to market goal.”

Massimo Notargiacomo, Technical Director at JMA, attests to the impact of the system-level support provided by Analog Devices. He says, “By basing our implementation of the RF front end on Analog Devices’ technology, we have been able to concentrate our own technical firepower on the task of developing a new, virtualized platform for distributing 5G signals to tens of thousands of subscribers simultaneously.”

A NEW KIND OF MOBILE NETWORK CELL

The highly integrated and power-efficient RF solutions provided by Analog Devices helped JMA Wireless develop designs optimized for its market of public venues and corporate buildings. For instance, JMA’s distributed antenna system (DAS) remote unit has the smallest footprint in the industry. And its Cell Hub, a small fiber-connected radio node, uses Analog Devices’ multichannel RF transceivers, which are highly integrated so require fewer parts per node, to create a space-saving solution.

“Our transceiver integrates a digital predistortion (DPD) function, which reduces system power consumption,” says Piarino. “DPD integration eliminated the need for JMA to implement the function in a discrete FPGA. By choosing ADI technology, JMA reduced its component count, lowered power consumption, and ended up with a lower bill-of-materials cost.”

KEY REQUIREMENTS FOR NEW 5G RADIO NETWORK EQUIPMENT

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MINIMIZED FOOTPRINT AND POWER CONSUMPTION

A highly integrated and power-efficient RF solution enabled distributed antenna system (DAS) remote unit with the smallest footprint in the industry.

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REDUCED OPEX AND TIME TO MARKET

Reduced component count and low power consumption resulted in a smaller bill-of-materials cost. Mobile telecom experts accelerated the design process and helped JMA to meet its aggressive time to market goal.

When deployed in large commercial buildings, stadiums, and other venues, JMA Wireless’ U.S.-made 5G stadium radio network equipment supports the provision of LTE and 5G services by mobile operators in all regions of the world, as well as the CBRS citizens band service in the U.S.

JMA is now emerging as the preferred choice of building and venue operators because its modular, scalable network equipment, based on a virtualized software architecture, is easier and quicker to install than a conventional cellular base station. It can also be updated remotely to maintain communications performance and system security without the support of a dedicated on-site team of technicians, helping to reduce operating expenses.

KEY MOBILE OPERATOR REQUIREMENTS

FOR PROVIDERS OF 5G RADIO NETWORK INFRASTRUCTURE PRODUCTS
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COVERAGE AND CAPACITY

Delivery of flexible and scalable infrastructure products supporting the provision of seamless, broadband wireless connectivity.

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SERVICE DIFFERENTIATION

Provision of new augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) capabilities.

Its technology also promises to help professional sports leagues and team franchises to explore the potential for 5G to support new augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) capabilities—features such as real-time match or season statistics overlaid on the phone camera’s view of the pitch, or an AR game in which the player’s location in gameplay mirrors their actual location in the stadium. These AR/VR features are enabled for the first time by the ultralow latency and high bandwidth of 5G stadium radio networks running on JMA equipment.

Smartphone being used for augmented reality at a soccer game
New AR features enabled by 5G stadium radio network equipment

FILLING VENUES WORLDWIDE WITH 5G MOBILE BROADBAND CONNECTIVITY

As a result of JMA’s alliance with Analog Devices in 5G, it has brought to market a suite of infrastructure products that provide the flexibility and scalability required for mobile network service provision in public venues and buildings. Mobile broadband access is a key differentiator for stadium and commercial building operators: by deploying JMA equipment, they can deliver seamless, broadband wireless connectivity, no matter how many spectators fill a stadium or visit an office building.

“With its integrated and power-efficient RF solutions, Analog Devices was a key contributor to the design of a highly competitive solution—our power-scalable 5G radio unit has a smaller footprint than any competing product in our target market. Crucially, ADI’s system-level expertise and dedicated technical support enabled us to substantially advance the completion of our DAS and Cell Hub development projects and accelerate the solution’s release to the market,” says Remo Ricci, General Manager, JMA Wireless.

So as new deployments of JMA’s 5G stadium radio network equipment fill more stadiums, buildings, and neighborhoods with 5G capacity, more fans can share life’s most exciting experiences—confident that their friends and loved ones can take in the fun with them, if only remotely.