How Airvana’s Cloud RAN Small Cells Conquered a Stadium and Replaced DAS


Replacing the legacy DAS systems, Airvana, a global provider of small cell solutions, has announced that Nex-Tech Wireless has deployed its OneCell Cloud RAN (C-RAN) small cell system in the 7,600-seat Gross Coliseum at Fort Hays State University (FHSU) in Hays, Kansas.

During the university graduation ceremonies on May 15, 2015 the OneCell system delivered exceptional LTE performance throughout the entire coliseum. OneCell’s ground-breaking C-RAN architecture eliminates cell border interference and handovers to ensure the best possible wireless experience.

OneCell C-RAN operates over standard Ethernet switches and cabling to deliver LTE in large venues at substantially lower cost than traditional distributed antenna systems (DAS). Nex-Tech Wireless, a mobile network operator in the west-central U.S., selected OneCell to meet the growing wireless needs of FHSU, which has an enrollment of 13,825 students.

Graduation ceremonies at FHSU’s Gross Coliseum presented a demanding environment for a wireless system. Such events are characterized by heavy use of mobile devices for messaging, photo and video sharing. The OneCell system proved itself equal to the task, delivering impressive performance statistics:
•Peak 66 Mbps download speeds achieved consistently throughout the coliseum (in a 10 MHz LTE channel)
•99.7% connection setup success rate
•0.5% connection drop rate
•100% macro handover success rate

“As a small operator, we compete by using technology to provide superior service at competitive prices,” said Nathan Sutter, director of network operations and engineering, Nex-Tech Wireless. “Gross Coliseum’s installed DAS no longer met our capacity and performance requirements. OneCell provided superior performance at a much more attractive cost than upgrading the DAS. The entire qualification process, from first lab tests to live commercial use took just nine weeks. As a demanding use case, the graduation event exceeded our expectations and validated for us the advantages of this technology.”

Since it was first announced in June 2014, OneCell has received wide industry recognition including being selected by mobile operator CTOs worldwide for the Outstanding Overall Mobile Technology CTO’s Choice award at the 2015 Mobile World Congress. In a recent study, independent analyst firm Real Wireless concluded that OneCell can provide the same or better service as DAS for up to 71% lower cost.

“Nex-Tech Wireless’s practice of leveraging technology innovation is a perfect match for proving the value of OneCell,” said Rod Gatehouse, vice president of marketing and product management, Airvana. “This deployment validates our C-RAN approach and OneCell’s commercial readiness, even in the most demanding of environments.”