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THE CRAVEN COTTAGE PROJECT

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Tailoring the bespoke capacity solution

Thanks to Vilicom’s excellent work in designing and deploying the stadium solution, we now have great coverage.

Sean O Loughlin, Fulham FC Financial Director

Background

Home to Fulham Football Club since 1896, Craven Cottage is a much-treasured and cherished historic local landmark, enjoying a stunning urban location, bordered to the east by the Thames, and to the west by some of London’s most upscale and densely populated residential areas, including Fulham itself and Hurlingham. The ground recently underwent major refurbishment to increase spectator capacity from 22,000 to nearly 26,000. Vilicom was chosen to re-design, re-configure and install the stadium’s next generation of mobile coverage infrastructure.

Challenges and considerations

However, the Craven Cottage project posed a ‘perfect storm’ of unique challenges regarding its mobile coverage:

  • neighbouring residents suffered existing significant mobile coverage and capacity issues
  • additional pressure was then placed on the local cell sites by visiting fans on match days, a major negative PR issue for Fulham FC
  • any new infrastructure installations to meet that specific extra demand – particularly any visible and unsightly additions to the stadium’s roof – would also impact upon the local skyline
  • the aesthetic impact of this would inevitably stir up local opposition and trigger local planning nightmares
  • furthermore, the ground’s Johnny Haynes Stand enjoys Grade 2-listed protected status

So in short, Vilicom was tasked not only to deliver an aesthetically appropriate solution for the stadium that would:

  • absorb the traffic for all Mobile Operators
  • help relieve the external network
  • provide improved service to spectators and staff on match days
  • be flexible enough to be upgraded for the anticipated future expansion of the ground’s River Stand in a couple of years’ time

View larger image here.

Solutions and delivery

The architecture is divided into two parts:

The Stadium Bowl: with restricted availability of antenna locations (just 4 locations for the 3 main stands and a further 8 locations for the protected Johnny Haynes Stand), Vilicom’s solution nevertheless delivers optimal dedicated coverage to all the exterior of Craven Cottage.

Internal Stadium Areas: our solution also provides enhanced, seamless, dedicated coverage to the two stands that contain internal areas and suites, as well as to the areas housing the staff and players’ rooms and lounges. There is also a dedicated BTS space to house a minimum of two operators’ equipment and connectivity to the optical master system.

And this is how the design works:

  • The BTS operator feeds a reduced RF signal power to an optical master unit
  • This converts the signal to be distributed over several optical fibres to remote repeater units (amplifiers)
  • At the remote unit, the optical signal is converted and amplified back as an RF signal for conventional distribution of coax cable to the antennae
  • Optical systems compensate for RF losses associated with long RF Cable lengths, and simplify installation work
  • They also have the benefit of remotely locating a BTS room from the coverage area (for up to 10 kilometers)

Contact

For further information or to discuss further technical specs, please contact Gearoid Collins at gearoid.collins@vilicom.com

About Vilicom

Vilicom is an expert provider of wireless services with over seventeen years of experience in the analysis, design, test and implementation of wireless networks. Vilicom’s strengths lie in technology strategy consulting, the design of wireless networks, transmission network design, implementation of specialised coverage solutions and network benchmarking and testing. Vilicom has delivered its trademark end-to-end services in over 20 countries for network operators, network equipment vendors, industry regulators and investors. It delivers value for its customers by adopting a flexible, customer-focused approach, retaining cutting-edge expertise and maintaining its independence.