Sitting at the football game in the last row in the corner of the stadium is not lots of fun. Sure, you are there, crowds around you, but it is not easy to see what happens at the other end of the play field. And you may get angry if you miss some exciting situation while struggling to send a picture from your smartphone which repeatedly says ‘Failure, poor network connection, tap to retry’. Similar story with a big music concert on a stadium or large arena.
There are other guys, not necessarily watching the game or the concert, but also frustrated: mobile network operator engineers. Providing enough capacity for mass events is a never-ending challenge. Tens of thousands of people in the location which is usually empty and half of them trying to send a picture at the same time because some guy scored a goal or a bass player put a funny hat on his head.
5G will help
Once deployed, the small micro-, nano-, and pico-cells using millimetre waves to provide 5G connectivity, will offer an opportunity to greatly increase mobile networks capacity during some mass events. This extra 5G capacity and higher connection speeds will of course come as addition to existing 4G, 3G and 2G coverage, so even if you do not buy the latest phone, your picture may get through faster as other users will be using 5G cells.
Nice. That helps with sending a picture, make fewer people frustrated, but if you are in the same corner of the stadium, then you still do not see the other end of the game. But maybe 5G can help you here as well.
AR, VR, and MEC in 5G
Low-latency and high-bitrate communication offered by 5G opens a number of new possibilities. Among them Virtual Reality (VR) and Augumented Reality (AR) are often mentioned. Another interesting network feature is Multi-access Edge Computing (MEC) which places the content close to the user, i.e. the Application Server is not far from the base station(s) serving the user. This makes it possible to offer some heavy-bandwidth applications with short delays to the users without putting a heavy burden on the transport network.
AR, VR, and MEC on the stadium
In a recent research over 60% of mobile network operators delared that they plan to offer AR and VR services over 5G in support of sports events to bring fans closer to the action. You will be able to watch an instant replay of some action, take a look at game from various angles, see some statistics about the players while seeing them live and on your smartphone screen, and also zoom in and take a good picture of the bass player with a funny hat.
And sooner or later you will able to do the same at home. Over the 5G air interface or wireline access to 5G core network (this type of access is planned for Release 16 of the 3GPP system), with some helmet or goggles offering 360-degree live video feed and good quality sound — you may feel like being there while sipping wine on your sofa back at home.