The 2013 Presidential Inauguration is just 11 days away and everyone is getting prepared. The Secret Service will be preparing security, food and drink vendors will be picking strategic spots, and Sprint will be trying to make sure everyone gets cell service. It may not seem like an issue, but a million people taking pictures of Barack Obama with a burrito and posting it to Instagram is going to cause some network strain.
It has been estimated that around 700k people will be showing up to Washington DC for the Inauguration and that’s not including the people who already live there. That means that cell towers are going to be working overtime to make sure everyone gets a signal. Since everyone will be at the National Mall watching the president speak, those towers are going to be hit the hardest.
Sprint’s plan is to increase the signal strength in that area. They will be using COWs, or Cell sites On Wheels, in the Air and Space Museum and other areas along with in-house repeaters at the Capital Hilton, Washington Marriott Wardman Park, and The Mayflower Renaissance. Together, these should help increase data and voice signals pretty dramatically.
It should help quite a bit, but customers in the area shouldn’t expect too much. According to Android Central, voice capacity has been boosted 25% and data by 37%. However, we are talking nearly three quarters of a million people all piling into one area. Voice calls and data will probably get through, but speeds probably won’t amaze anyone.
One has to give Sprint some credit, though. They have been working on this since April of 2012. Since most of their workers are trying to get their LTE network live all over the country, we imagine Sprint didn’t have a lot of people left over to work on this. It’s probably why they started so soon. Will Sprint’s hardware help or will there still be a pretty bad cell problem come January 21?