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AT&T sets record for data usage at SXSW

AT&T sets record for data usage at SXSW

AT&T set a record for data usage on their network at this year’s South by Southwest music, film and interactive festival in Austin, Texas.

The carrier giant reports more than 37 Terabytes of data traffic on their network during the event. That is a 95% increase over the 2014 festival and the equivalent of streaming music for more than 147 consecutive years.

AT&T credits the use of its Luneburg Lens Antenna, also know as a SuperCOW, for allowing the network to handle the record traffic.

“By deploying a 12-beam Luneburg Lens attached to a SuperCOW along with two additional COWs,” AT&T said on their Innovation Space Blog, “we were able to double the capacity compared to last year which resulted in nearly double the traffic.”

RCR Wireless News got an overview of the technology from Clark Bird, an Austin-based senior network process and quality manager for AT&T, before the festival began.

“The Luneburg Lens theory has been around since the 1940s,” Bird said. “We are just now starting to use this in the cellular space. The shape and size help us to ease the deployment. One of the main advantages it has is it can provide up to 10 times the capacity of a single beam antenna. That allows us to reuse our spectrum over and over and provide more capacity to our customers.”

In addition to the Luneburg Lens Antenna, AT&T also used cells on wheels (COWs), rooftop antennas and a giant eyeball antenna to provide amped up coverage during the annual festival.

This is the third time AT&T has used the powerful antenna system. They deployed more than a dozen of the COWs for this year’s Super Bowl in Glendale, Ariz.

AT&T says they have plans to use the solution at several other large events this year. The company has seen a 100,000% data increase across their network over the past eight years.

For more information about the technology, check out episode six of “HetNet Happenings with Sean Kinney.”


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