Wireless delays likely at inauguration
Carriers are optimistic they can handle load, noting large capacity increases in recent months
Computerworld - Spectators attending the presidential inauguration of Barack Obama on Jan. 20 in Washington should expect some delays when making calls on their cell phones, according to the major industry group representing wireless network carriers.
The association, known simply as the CTIA, issued a statement yesterday noting that despite millions of dollars in spending by major carriers to increase wireless network capacity along the parade route and the National mall, Wireless voice calls and text messages might be blocked or dropped.
Despite the preparations, "there is only so much [carriers] can do with the [wireless] spectrum and sites available to prepare for what could be an unprecedented occasion," CTIA President Steve Largent warned in the statement. "There will likely be some delays."
Spokesmen for two of the major carriers gave a slightly more optimistic outlook, however, noting they have been making preparations to boost network capacity for many months.
"We're ready. We know how to do this. We know how to provide service for mega events," said Mark Siegel, a spokesman for AT&T Mobility, noting that AT&T Inc. successfully handled both of this year's national political conventions as well as the funeral of former President Ronald Reagan in June.
John Taylor, a spokesman for Sprint Nextel Corp., said the crowd size will be a major factor in the number of disruptions to wireless networks. Various government agencies and media reports have put the expected crowd at 2 million to 4 million people, he noted, based largely on the record-breaking voter turnout and interest in the election.
"If we see attendance at 2 million or below, people will have a great experience on our network, but if there are more than 2 million, then they may see delays in calls and delivery of [text messages] with dropped or blocked calls," Taylor said. "The general public should be prepared for some disruption."
However, Taylor said even if the crowds reach 4 million and an emergency occurs, first responders will get priority for their wireless communications over the general public. That policy is followed by all the major carriers, he said, although Sprint also operates a separate iDEN network with Nextel service, which is heavily used by first responders and bypasses the GSM network of AT&T and the CDMA services of Sprint and Verizon Wireless.
But Taylor said that physical space along the parade route and at the National Mall allow for only about 1.5 million people, which would push spectators into other neighborhoods and onto other cell sites to help increase network capacity. Another factor limiting the crowd size is that Washington only has 90,000 hotel rooms.
- Securing the enterprise workspace: protect your organization while supporting mobility and BYOD Read this white paper to learn ways to bolster security across enterprise networks while giving employees simple, authorized remote access to corporate applications...
- Transforming enterprise applications for mobile environments Read this white paper for tips on how to prepare critical applications to be securely accessed from an array of company-owned and personal...
- Future-proof your mobility strategy with Dell Enterprise Mobility Management Read this paper to discover best practices to future-proof your mobile strategy in the evolving world of devices, operating systems, work habits and...
- Enabling devices and device management for your mobility/BYOD program Read this white paper to learn how to support employees with the best devices to increase flexibility, productivity and job satisfaction.
- Don't Believe the Hype: Not All Containers are Created Equal Hear executives discuss the 3 C's of Secure Mobility-content, credentials, and configurations-and learn the inherent security risks to your organization of using MDM...
- Navigating the New Wireless Landscape Thriving in the new wireless landscape View Now>> All Mobile/Wireless White Papers | Webcasts