There we go, it's the last day of MWC 2010 and time to give an update on how the 3G networks fare on the Fira in Barcelona. As reported at the beginning of the show throughput on the day before the exhibition started was around 450 kbyte/s with a Cat 8 stick (for details see the earlier report) and there was still respectable throughput once the networks started to see some load on the first day between 150 – 300 kbyte/s.
Throughout the week I used one of the 3G networks heavily on the Fira not only for testing but also to get background information and of course for e-mail and the experience was always excellent. The 150 – 300 kbyte/s I experienced the first day was pretty throughout the other days as well. In other words the networks were quite capable to absorb the voice and data traffic of the 35.000 simultaneous visitors.
Some more numbers: While I focused on hall 8 in the first report, let's look at the setup in hall 2: On the ground level, there are 5 UMTS cells each operator has deployed. Some operators have deployed 3x 5MHz carriers, some 'only' 2. In total there were 4 (operators) x 5 (cells, freq 1) + 4 x 5 (freq 2) + 2 x 5 (freq 3) = 50 carriers. In addition there are two cells per operator on the smaller first level of the hall. That's another 10 carriers. Separation between them is quite good so bandwidth per carrier should be around 4 MBit/s. 4 Mbit/s x 60 carriers = 240 MBit/s of potentially available bandwidth over the 3G networks in hall 2 alone. Subtract from that some bandwidth for voice calls from mobile devices not using the deployed GSM network there.
For the whole of the exhibition ground I counted + estimated around 30 independent cells per operator, each with 2 or 3 carriers each. That would be around 300 carriers in total used to cover the ground there. That's well over 1 Gbit/s of available bandwidth over the air, plus, of course, the capacity provided by the 2G layer. And even that's probably only little compared to the total available bandwidth when you count all the Ethernet based Internet access used on the stands to connect the exhibitor equipment there to the net. Breathtaking!