How do you inspire the next generation of technical experts?
Give them inspiring projects, let them innovate with hands-on learning, throw in free data, sport, and make it fun!
In May, Telstra’s young engineers and graduates had an incredible opportunity downunder to immerse themselves in everything 5G around a 5G Supercell on the Gold Coast in Australia and play in the inaugural 5G Soccer Cup!
The grads and engineers met with Telstra’s design experts, and were able to experience the power of millimetre-wave technology and advanced 5G beamforming. Over a dedicated standalone 5G network slice, they not only live streamed a soccer game with an ‘on field 360 HD camera’, but also conducted live EME testing of the site.
The event showcased the immense potential for local sport applications.
Working alongside our team at the 5G Innovation Centre to build a slice on the new Telstra 5G standalone network, the team was able to use that slice to reserve a small portion of the network. This then provided an uninterrupted live stream of the graduate soccer game to spectators and viewers around the country.
Demster Dacuro, one of Telstra’s young engineers was involved in set up for the event which included:
- A 5G Device – the Enterprise 5G Wireless Device used on the day included an in-built high gain antenna to provide superior connectivity and assure the best connection possible.
- 360 Degree HD Camera – to achieve the best quality and live action for our viewers while also showcasing what mmWave 5G can do, the team configured a HD360 degree camera on the soccer pitch, and connected this to the 5G device so it was ready to stream live.
- Radio Access Network Slicing – a 5G network slice allows multiple ‘logical networks’ (or virtual networks) to exist on top of the existing public network. A slice allows for the network to be tweaked and for different configurations to be enhanced in our radios without impacting the experience of the public network.
A network slice can have many applications such as use by emergency services, government communications and in outdoor broadcasts, including the Telstra 5G Soccer Cup.
Setting up the network slice involved configuring the ‘core network parameters’ associated with the 5G site to enable a portion of the data layer to be dedicated to the live stream. As with any specialised network configuration, testing the parameters was required to ensure all was correct and not impacting local users, and to ensure a roll back in case of errors.
Results: The network slice ultimately provided an uninterrupted live stream to the many mobile devices at the ground, even when the network was heavily loaded. Users could watch the game in 360degrees in whichever view they chose.
During the second half of the soccer cup, the group ran a network ‘max load challenge’ with all spectators asked to jump on their devices and use as much data as possible. Results showed a significant increase in traffic. See radio frequency network activity chart below.
The chart below shows the Cell UL Utilization. We can see that around 2pm onwards the public and private partitions were heavily competing for resources. Despite this, we managed to provide a higher Quality of Service (QoS) with reserved dedicated radio resource for the 360-degree camera ensuring the live action was uninterrupted!
Detailed Network Data – measuring the network performance.
Mobile networks are specifically designed to minimise interference especially with many users in close proximity. Therefore, it’s important to measure interference to see the effectiveness of these features.
The nerdy tech details – most of us just pick up our devices and away we go live streaming a game, chatting on social media and streaming the latest movies without any thought on how it works. That’s where network engineers come in – to make sure that experience is seamless. This involves detailed configurations and monitoring various network parameters as you can see in the charts below.
The data from these three charts below are great for us engineers so we can really make sure the network slice is performing well.
Left Chart – The left Cumulative Distribution Function (CDF) chart shows the Signal to Interference plus Noise Ratio (SINR) of the enterprise modem we’ve used for the network slicing demo. It could be seen that this has significantly dropped from an average of 22 dB down to 8 dB or less during the event. This was mainly due to our young and 5G-hungry graduates competing for radio resources, thus keeping the cell very busy.
Middle Chart – The Uplink (UL) throughput of the modem is displayed in the middle chart. Lower SINR usually correlates to lower throughput, however we can see that even with the SINR degradation, the Uplink throughput pretty much remained the same, meaning the live stream was uninterrupted!
Right chart – shows the Uplink (UL) power headroom, and you can see there is still some room left if more power was needed.
5G Network Slice Summary – The outcome was spectacular with a high-quality stream of the live soccer game in 360-degree view enabling spectators to see the action from on the field and the view they wanted. A success for the young engineers and grads setting this up!
Watch the live stream recording – we captured the event on our 5G Innovation Centre YouTube channel.
Tips for viewing
- select 1440 HD for the best resolution.
- Rotate your device or use the mouse to select the view angle.
- Be sure to try the 360 view angles.
- There are plenty of highlights with a few listed below
– pitch invasion by 360 camera team at 42:00
– 2nd half 37:00
– team photo at 1:03:00
Putting 5G mmWave to the test – this was the next exciting challenge for our graduates and with the power of mmWave. We decided to demonstrate the beamforming feature which sends a narrow beam (radio signal) to each device rather than a broad signal over a wide area. The advantage of beam forming is that you are only sending a signal to where it is needed, reducing radio interference to other mobiles which increases efficiency while also minimising EME levels.
Graduates Meghana Panthangi and Vinya Wate explain ‘we set up three spectrum analysers and three receive probes spaced apart in a straight line and used a mmWave enabled Google Pixel 7 Pro connected to our 5G network. Connecting up to the Ookla speedtest application which ensure a high-speed download rate from the base station, we walked in a straight line in front of the test probes, and the spectrum analysers detected the beam as we walked in front of the 3 probes’.
‘It was amazing, you could see the beam from the base station connected to the Pixel 7 Pro on the spectrum analysers move from the left spectrum analyser to the middle spectrum analyser, and then to the right spectrum analyser showing the beam tracking the mobile as we walked’.
Graduate Charlotte Lyons who was also instrumental in setting this up commented ‘This highly visual demonstration illustrates how a base station connects to a mmWave device with a narrow beam, something that is normally impossible to see! It’s great to be able to show all my friends and colleagues as the demo really explains the efficiency of 5G’.
EME testing – Our EME test team measured the Electromagnetic Energy levels and demonstrated the test procedures, reaffirming our commitment to a long-term monitoring program and we were joined by students from the Queensland University of Technology, and experts from the ACMA and ARPANSA.
For the graduates and young engineers, having the ability to set these demonstrations up, and showcase their work meant they were at the heart of the activities and learning. There is no better place to learn than hands on experimenting – this drives enthusiasm, inspiration, and innovation.
Congratulations to our victorious blue team with a thrilling three goals to two win.
It was a day of innovation, collaboration, and learning, culminating in an unforgettable 5G Soccer Cup.
Thank you to everyone involved in the 2023 Telstra 5G Soccer Cup and inspiring the next generation of graduates and engineers. They have really set a new benchmark in experimenting with the latest 5G tech, all collaborating and delivering an awesome result.