By Mark Walker, Regional Vice President, Network
As our nation prepares to swear in the 45th President of the United States, Sprint customers in Washington, DC, can rest assured that our network is ready to help them stay connected and share this momentous occasion.
For nearly 12 months our team has been on the ground working hard to add additional network coverage and capacity. In preparation for January 20, we’ve doubled the capacity of our 1.9 GHz cell sites around the National Mall and DC Metro stations. We’re also using carrier aggregation on our 2.5 GHz cell sites for even faster data speeds on capable devices.
Carrier aggregation is a feature of LTE-Advanced that bonds together bands of spectrum to essentially create a wider lane that allows more data traffic to travel at higher rates. This is a tremendous technology that significantly increases capacity with just a simple software upgrade at the cell site. Today we’re using two- and three-channel carrier aggregation on 2.5 GHz cell sites in the area. And we’re bringing in Cells On Wheels (COWs) with three-channel carrier aggregation to provide additional temporary capacity at various high-traffic locations extending from Lincoln Memorial to the U.S. Capitol.
To prepare for this year’s inauguration we increased network capacity in the area three times. And since the previous inauguration in 2013, our improvements and investment in the area have increased network capacity 15 times.
In addition, for more than a year, our Emergency Response Team has been coordinating with local, state, and federal agencies to plan, coordinate, and deploy the dedicated resources necessary to insure connectivity for the 2017 Inauguration.
These efforts cap off two years of extensive work by our team in D.C. lighting up new cell sites, adding more capacity with additional spectrum and new technologies such as carrier aggregation and antenna beamforming, as well as optimizing the performance of each and every cell site along the way. In addition, our team invested heavily in D.C. ahead of Pope Francis’ visit 16 months ago, including upgrading the wireless systems within many high-traffic public venues across the area.
We look forward to the Presidential Inauguration on January 20, and we’re excited to play our part helping customers celebrate this great American tradition.