São Paulo Expo is located right off the Imigrantes Highway in the southern region of the capital of São Paulo state. The location, which offers great advantages in terms of meeting logistics, presents a challenge when it comes to telecommunications infrastructure. The region is mainly residential and thus does not require a lot of wireless infrastructure to provide good cellular coverage, unlike what you’d typically find in a city center.
With the aim of making this the leading events facility in the city, GL events managed to extend the lease on the event space to 30 years, thereby allowing the company to expand the facility from 430,000 sq ft to nearly 1.1 million sq ft. However, these ambitions also entailed an exponential increase in the number of people moving within the complex. This increase stretched users who already experienced problems when making calls and using the Internet at peak times, when the telephone network would become overloaded.
After the inauguration of São Paulo Expo in 2016 and commencement of large-scale events, the existing telephony infrastructure struggled to cope with the increase in the number of visitors, exhibitors and promoters. One of the chief frustrations was the functioning of the credit card points of sale, as they depend on mobile signal.
As with the supply of electricity and water, São Paulo Expo needed mobile coverage within its pavilion to work perfectly. Looking to maintain its reputation of delivering high standard service, the center established a partnership with QMC Telecom to install a multi-operator DAS system.
The first step was to design the best possible solution for the most pressing need of São Paulo Expo: improving mobile coverage within the pavilion. This solution design was only possible thanks to the expertise of the QMC Engineering team, which, using iBwave software, was able to plan and estimate in detail the areas of coverage, signal quality and levels of interference due to indoor propagation.
IBwave Solutions provides powerful software for designing indoor networks and has been used to design some of the largest indoor wireless networks in the world.
During the design phase, the team’s main focus was related to the isolation between sectors within the pavilion, which represented a major engineering challenge. To address this, QMC relied on suppliers such as CommScope with their special antennas to cover stadiums with reduced spread and absence of propagation lobes.
Another significant challenge of the project was to secure the loss balance between the different branches of each antenna so as to meet the requirements necessary for the correct implementation of 4X4 MIMO. To execute this, QMC relied on its team and specialized equipment to perform specific tests, with the TAE (Time Alignment Errors) and EVM (Errors Vectors Magnitude) being the principal and most important assessments. Both of these tests allowed QMC to evaluate and guarantee the quality and performance of the MIMO system.
In addition to the tests performed during implementation, QMC relied on the expertise of the engineering team during the Project phase to carry out all the necessary simulations and to meet the level of service required.
The project at São Paulo Expo was pioneering: it was one of the first Brazilian cases in which a LTE-A 4x4 MIMO system was installed for mass use in indoor environments.
The LTE-A 4x4 MIMO system is popularly known as 4.5G, where the end user utilizes a sum of frequency bands for data transmission. This allows for higher download speeds, thus providing an unparalleled experience for the operator’s end users.
To deliver the level of quality that was expected for this project, high-performance antennas from CommScope had to be imported from Germany due to their unique propagation and irradiation characteristics necessary for the quality performance of the system. These antennas would ensure the absence of side signals that could cause interference between sectors.
Given all of the design and equipment characteristics, it was possible to maintain the signal quality at levels that would provide an excellent user experience. Throughput speeds achieved close to their theoretical values even while the largest telecommunications fair in Latin America took place, representing high performance at a time of peak usage.
As soon as the system was implemented, users noticed the improvement: the system worked so well that demand for Wi-Fi inside the complex decreased substantially. Over the course of 120 events in 2019, São Paulo Expo experienced very high speeds and a reliable connection.
In addition, whenever necessary - in cases where any type of problem has occurred, QMC has bridged the gap between Management and the carriers, acting as a facilitator in solving problems for both parties involved. In this role, QMC serves as a proactive single point of contact.
Some figures on São Paulo Expo’s cellular coverage stand out: