20,000 Wireless Frequencies Will Set Olympic Record In London This Summer
January 24, 2012

20,000 Wireless Frequencies Will Set Olympic Record In London This Summer

The upcoming 2012 London Olympic and Paralympic Games are expected to require up to 20,000 separate wireless frequency assignments, nearly doubling the number assigned the previous year, according to various media reports.

Ofcom, an independent regulator and competition authority for the UK communications industry says that the unprecedented demand (http://media.ofcom.org.uk/2012/01/23/ofcom-prepares-for-record-spectrum-demand-at-london-2012-games/) is being driven by the numbers of wireless devices and communication equipment needed to smoothly operate an event of such magnitude.

Some of the needs will come from television cameras used to follow cycle races, wireless timing devices on the finish line along with more mundane but equally important walkie-talkies for emergency personnel and parking lot attendants.

Jill Ainscough, Ofcom´s chief operating officer tells CNN´s Jim Boulden, “The UK´s airwaves are already among the most intensively used in the world. The London 2012 Games will significantly increase demand.”

Ofcom will borrow spectrum from public-sector bodies including the Ministry of Defense to meet the demand and will also make use of mobile 4G networks before they are auctioned off to mobile device operators.

Analog television channels in Britain are being unplugged in April, giving Ofcom access to the decades-old lower bandwidth. “The airwaves that are being freed up as we move from analogue to digital TV will provide useful capacity for wireless demand at the Games,” an Ofcom spokesman told the BBC.

“However, this is just one area where we will be securing additional capacity. Other areas include borrowing spectrum from public sector bodies and ensuring that capacity is used as efficiently as possible. Combined, these initiatives will provide the extra capacity that is needed - however we are not dependent on any one area.”

Six years worth of planning by Ofcom for the planned Olympic network overload will come to fruition with the hopefully trouble-free event. Ofcom tested out its network during last year´s royal wedding and plans to do so again for the Queen´s Diamond Jubilee celebrations in June, seven weeks before the Olympics´ opening ceremony.

Ofcom adds that it deploying 90 radio engineers to deal with any issues that might occur.


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