Wireless Plays Vital Role for World Cup Public Safety, Fan Connections
Monday, June 30, 2014 | Comments

Wireless technology is playing an essential role in the 2014 FIFA World Cup in Brazil, both to ensure reliable public-safety communications networks and to meet consumers’ demand for mobile data connections. As the round of 16 matches end today and the tournament continues through the final match 13 July, mobile demand will only heighten.

Brazil’s Communications Minister Paulo Bernardo said before the World Cup matches began that fans inside the stadiums might have mobile phone connectivity problems in some of the 12 stadiums where matches will be played. He blamed the stadium owners and telecommunications carriers for some of the problems.

However, about US$88.3 million was invested into strengthening the area’s wireless infrastructure. Antennas were added at popular hotels, training centers and public venues. Telefonica Brazil installed 65 new cell towers at central World Cup sites.

Specifically, Maracana Stadium in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, had several communications upgrades before the matches began to boost its networks. Teltronic recently installed indoor radio coverage in Maracana to enhance public-safety protocols within the stadium. Maracana is hosting a total of seven matches during the 2014 World Cup, including one quarter final and the final.

The system installed in the stadium forms part of the overall TETRA network for secure communications of the Public Safety Secretariat of Rio de Janeiro State. Emergency situations and incidents within Maracana can be monitored in the Integrated Emergency Management Center in Rio, and consequently be effectively handled by the police or any other emergency service agency as required.

Beginning in 2011, Teltronic engineers collaborated with the State Telecommunications Department (DETEL-RJ) in Rio de Janeiro to enhance its TETRA network and provide vital support for police officers carrying out operations in the city. A 31-site TETRA network now provides 1-watt hand-portable coverage across the city.

Earlier this year, the Brazilian Army extended its Long Term Evolution (LTE) public-safety communications trial at 700 MHz to Rio de Janeiro. The trial, which began in May 2012 in Brasilia with a US$2 million investment from Motorola Solutions, was expanded to include a new site installed at the Duque de Caxias Palace to cover the Maracana Stadium area.

"Rio de Janeiro was chosen for its relevance to major events, especially the World Cup and the 2016 Olympics,” said Santos Guerra, TIC deputy head of the Department of Science and Technology (DST) of the Brazilian Army. “To continue to test the scope and size of LTE technology in real situations is a great opportunity for the country.”

The technology expands the possibilities of voice communications, provides interoperability with commercial networks and Project 25 (P25) standard radios, and improves the quality of the Army Operations Center (AOC), which will be able to access a greater amount of information. The Army will also be able to access command-and-control information in any Brazilian region using its own network (EBNet).

The trial already features four sites that have been installed in Brasilia covering the entire Esplanade of the Ministries and the areas of interest of the Army, such as the airport, the Mane Garrincha Stadium and critical infrastructure. The sites can be used by other security agencies of the federal capital as well. The trial remains under the command of the Army center in Brasilia. A secure link will connect the two cities. The Army requested telecom regulator Anatel's approval to perform the trial on the 700 MHz band, currently not used in Rio de Janeiro.

Mutualink said its public-safety interoperability system was installed in 17 locations throughout Brazil. Mutualink partnered with COMTEX, a Brazil-based company specializing in solutions for public safety, to deliver the technology.  Global Secure Emergency Collaboration Network (GSEC Net) is being used in coordination with the Rio de Janeiro Integrated Command and Control Center in Brazil.

“With more than 50,000 state civilian and military police and thousands of other public-safety agencies and municipal organizations, serving nearly 12 million citizens and more than 2 million spectators at these large-scale events, the Mutualink solution fits us like a glove,” said Col. Alexandre Corval, deputy secretary for public safety for technology and integration, state of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. “For the first time, we were able to connect TETRA radios with Tetrapol communicating between completely different networks, private networks, telephones and videos in real-time in an encrypted and secure manner, adding effectiveness to our ability to respond to these events, and eliminating duplication of efforts and resources."

Axell Wireless and partner Radio Frequency Systems (RFS) supplied distributed antenna systems (DAS) for multiple stadiums in Brazil including Maracana and Mineirao stadiums. The in-building coverage solution was expected to ensure the thousands of spectators can share the experience via their mobile devices without any service degradation.

Large volumes of uplink traffic, as well as huge peaks and troughs, are created as spectators share pictures and videos on social networking sites during major events inside a stadium. Also, spectators inside a venue are static, meaning coverage has to be delivered across all seating areas at all times. Wireless coverage systems for stadiums are designed with multiple base station sectors to ensure sufficient capacity to support all the spectators. Handling the overlap with the external macro network also requires careful planning and implementation. The venues now feature optical DAS simultaneously supporting five different mobile operators and providing 2G, 3G and 4G coverage.

RISCO Group was selected to provide security management and additional security solutions for the new Arena Pantanal in Cuiaba for the matches. The system will ensure the tightest security and safety measures for the 44,000-spectator arena, managed and controlled from a unified control room.

The company will provide its command-and-control solution in addition to access control and a customized ticketing and validation system. The system will enable control of other systems, such as hundreds of security IP cameras deployed in the stadium and its surroundings, lighting systems, gates and the public address system. The Arena Pantanal was constructed with a total investment of US$537.7 million.

NEC partnered with OAS, one of Brazil’s leading construction companies, to provide information and communications technologies (ICT) infrastructure solutions for Arena das Dunas, a newly completed stadium in the city of Natal, Brazil. The company is also providing solutions to Arena da Baixada in Curitiba, Parana.

The stadiums’ infrastructure includes systems that help ensure security, such as networked cameras that monitor the total area of the arena and advanced fire detection systems. Moreover, the camera systems can perform facial recognition functions that analyze the characteristics of people in a particular location, including age, gender and behavior.

The project also includes IP and wireless network infrastructure for telephony, data and images, including the implementation of sophisticated sound systems and screens.

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