Friday 24 July 2020

FC Bayern and Deutsche Telekom bring 5G to the Allianz Arena in Munich, Germany

Allianz Arena is a football stadium in Munich, Bavaria, Germany with a 70,000 seating capacity for international matches and 75,000 for domestic matches. Widely known for its exterior of inflated ETFE plastic panels, it is the first stadium in the world with a full colour changing exterior.

The official website, not too long ago, announced that 5G mobile connection is now available in the stadium and complements the previous LTE network.

A total of eleven 5G antennas in and around the stadium ensure the best network quality in the Allianz Arena. This new mobile connection makes it possible to transmit larger amounts of data more quickly - almost in real time. As soon as the stadium reopens, every visitor will now have the capacity to upload multiple pictures or videos.

Telekom Blog had more details (Google translated from German):

When the Allianz Arena was opened in 2005, mobile communications were still in the middle of the GSM era. And the cell phones were from Nokia. Since then, UMTS ( 3G ) and LTE ( 4G ) have also moved into the FC Bayern stadium . Now 5G is added. To this end, Telekom has set up antennas in three places. Where exactly, knows Frank Buchholz, the radio network planner for the arena. First of all, there is "an antenna behind the facade that is not visible from the outside. It supplies the motorway, the driveway and the esplanade" - in other words, the large square in front of the stadium where fans meet.

It continues on the other side of the Esplanade: "There we have a location in the Park and Ride building. It also supplies the Esplanade and the ways to the subway." And besides, "of course we have the antennas that are in the stadium. They supply the bowl inside and provide a 5G basic service".

A lot of bandwidth is required for 75,000 spectators who come to the Allianz Arena for every home game - if there is no Corona . Because 75,000 people, that corresponds to the population of a larger city. And almost everyone wants to send their selfies, photos and videos of the games directly from the arena to their homes, or post them on Instagram, TikTok and YouTube.

In the Allianz Arena, Telekom installed so-called "massive MIMO " antennas for 5G. With this state-of-the-art technology currently available, a large number of antennas in a single housing ensure particularly high bandwidths. In addition, radio technology, power supply and cooling are housed together.

All this makes the 5G antennas not only particularly powerful, but also particularly heavy. An antenna weighs up to 45 kg. With three units, in order to be able to emit the signal in all directions, this can amount to around 135 kg, which were hoisted under the roof of the Allianz Arena and assembled there. "This high weight must be taken into account for roof loads, statics and wind loads. That is a massive intervention in the infrastructure of such an object," says Telekom radio network planner Frank Buchholz.

He also had to take into account and calculate that the antennas for GSM, UMTS and LTE also remained in operation in order to really be able to provide all visitors to the stadium with mobile communications. In the end, the 5G assembly in Fröttmaning worked perfectly - because the planning was as clever as an action by Thomas Müller.

Although 5G smartphones are only gradually coming onto the market, the new antennas should already offer 5G coverage with high quality and high area coverage. To do this, they use the 3.6 GHz spectrum for which Deutsche Telekom bought the frequencies in 2019. "This has the advantage that we can offer there in the gigabit range and that we have an undisturbed spectrum that is not yet fully utilized," explains radio network planner Buchholz.

The extremely fast 3.6 GHz spectrum already enables downloads at 1,000 megabits per second. For football fans for comparison: This is at least as fast as left-back Alphonso "Phonzie" Davies, the new Bayern rocket from Canada.

Shortly after the installation, a test with the 5G smartphone on the esplanade in front of the stadium showed a speed of 889 megabits / second. And that is by no means the end of the story, as the UMTS example shows. There, the downloads increased from an initial 384 kilobits / second to a maximum of 42 megabits / second within a few years. This shows the enormous potential of successor 5G.

And in the future, the new mobile radio in the Allianz Arena will also enable completely new applications - such as graphics that are placed directly over the smartphone's camera image using augmented reality (AR). Then everyone can see the calibrated offside line on their cell phone , or cheer a goal from all perspectives.

Here is the video, in German with no English subtitles. It still gives an idea on how the installation was done.

If you know more details, feel free to add in comments below.

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