Qualcomm conducted a hyper-dense small-cell trial deployment at the NASCAR Sprint Cup race this past weekend, delivering 43 times more capacity than what Sprint currently deploys at events.
Qualcomm said it chose the Sprint Cup event at Phoenix International Raceway because it's such a challenging RF environment with high demands on capacity from the nearly 70,000 fans as well as racing teams and PIR personnel. Hurdles such as battling reflection from the bevy of hauler trucks added to the typical challenges of providing coverage to a highly attended outdoor event.
Sprint typically supports wireless data capacity needs at NASCAR events with Cell on Wheel units, or COWs. For this event, Qualcomm deployed 31 small-cell base stations. In addition to dramatic capacity improvements, there could be cost advantages to Sprint in deploying compact small cells rather than COWs as well.
Many believe that small cells will play a critical role in solving the impending data capacity crunch, as demand for wireless data continues to grow many times faster than 4G alone will be able to provide. Qualcomm calls this the "1000x Challenge," as it forecasts that data demand will multiply 1000-fold by the end of the decade. You can find my white paper on topic HERE.