Microwave Journal

Antenna Products Deployed to Handle SuperBowl Data Traffic

February 4, 2011
PCTEL, Inc. (NASDAQ: PCTI), a provider of antenna and scanning receiver solutions, unveiled its new high-performance, dual-band Multiple Input and Multiple Output (MIMO) panel antenna. This antenna is optimized for cellular data offloading applications. The antenna enables high speed video and data applications on mobile devices through the use of 802.11n based WiFi networks. Offloading data reduces the traffic load on cellular networks in areas with a high concentration of data users such as stadiums, other entertainment venues and transportation hubs. PCTEL’s MIMO antenna has recently been deployed by a major carrier at the Cowboys’ Stadium in Dallas, initially used for the Cotton Bowl.

Over the last two years, there has been a significant increase in the number of smart phones and real time video and data applications. This has strained the capacity of cellular networks, resulting in blocked or dropped calls. Cellular carriers are utilizing MIMO enabled WiFi networks to “offload” cellular data traffic so that when a smart phone user enters the coverage area of a MIMO WiFi hotspot, the cellular carrier diverts data traffic over to the WiFi network, keeping voice traffic over the cellular network. This shifts the data traffic to unlicensed spectrum, reserving licensed spectrum for a better quality voice call experience. MIMO antennas for these WiFi systems have multiple radiating elements covering multiple frequencies and need to be properly designed and optimized. PCTEL’s MIMO antennas will be one element of the data coverage system for this Sunday’s championship football game.

PCTEL's new MIMO panel antenna provides six RF ports, three each, covering 2.4 GHz and 5GHz frequencies. The antenna has been designed with beam width and gain characteristics to provide optimal coverage for areas with a large number of data users without overloading access point capacity and minimizing interference to adjacent sites. The antenna comes with a flexible mounting solution and can be customized by PCTEL to blend in with the aesthetics of the environment in which it is going to be deployed.

"PCTEL has invested significant resources in the development of high performance directional and omni-directional MIMO antenna solutions to enable cellular offloading applications," said Jeff Miller, Senior Vice President Sales and Marketing for PCTEL. "We will continue to work with leading carriers and WLAN radio OEMs to develop custom antenna solutions to enable offloading in more than five hundred entertainment venues nationwide," added Miller.