No lag, just jazz: Verizon’s tower power keeps fest-goers connected

No network Blues at Jazz Fest thanks to Verizon’s tower triumph

Verizon mmWave Tower at JazzFest
Verizon's mmWave Tower at JazzFest 2024 in New Orleans

You’re at a festival, and you try to share the experience on social media – but you can’t because the network is choking from the high concentration of users that the local cellular network can’t handle.

This is an all-too-common scenario for many cellular customers – but according to Guillermo Salinas, Sr. Director of Network Performance at Verizon, that’s not the case if you’re a Verizon customer.

Jazz Fest is a 10-day cultural event attended by 400,000 visitors in New Orleans. At Jazz Fest 2024 last week, Verizon anticipated the big crowds by rolling out towers around the festival grounds. The result was a festival experience not hampered by a congested cellular network.

Verizon took us on a tour of some of the mmWave equipment they’ve deployed around New Orleans. Ready for all kinds of harsh weather, these cell towers are built on steel platforms that can take water under them.

Specifically, the antenna equipment at the top of these deployable towers is elevated above 21 feet so that even a horrendous flood won’t disrupt cellular service. As a matter of fact, according to Salinas, these towers can withstand hurricane 5 winds.

Guillermo Salinas, Sr. Director of Network Performance at Verizon
Some of Verizon’s team members involved in deploying cells in emergencies or when big crowds are expected: Cuong Tran, Senior Engineer, Network Performance, Gerard Hudson Principal Network Performance Engineer and Guillermo Salinas, Sr. Director of Network Performance at Verizon.

At the top of the tower, the big “ball” antenna is equivalent to 4 macrocell antennas, offering up mmWave coverage that is 10x the speed of LTE.

This same antenna tower system will be deployed by Verizon at Super Bowl LIX in the Super Dome.

In addition to these deployable towers, Verizon explained that the French Quarter alone has over 100 small cells, and they’ve deployed additional smaller cell towers around the Jazz Fest area.

“The reason we know that we’re doing a good job is because we have very few complaints.” – Guillermo Salinas.

But it’s not all just about fun and games. It’s worth noting that Verizon also has a special ‘Frontline’ team dedicated to deploying smaller trucks with cellular towers to deploy in emergencies.

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