Engineer mobile connectivity

How to manage mobile network capacity for a very large crowd.

crowds at the Lincoln Christmas Market 2011Last weekend we went to the Lincoln Christmas Market.crowds walking past the cathedral entering the Lincoln Christmas Market 2011 We go every year 1 – we live just on the edge of where the market is located and can walk there easily. It’s an institution in Lincoln.

You either love the Christmas Market or you hate it. Those that like it love the atmosphere, the gluhwein, the noises and the smells. They love the variety of stalls where they can pick up Christmas presents. The location is top notch – around Lincoln Cathedral and Castle. Takecrowds in Castle Hill at the Lincoln Christmas Market 2011 a break from the walking and stop off for a beer or a coffee or two. It’s great, especially by night when the neon lights add to the effect.

Those that hate it do so for the very simple reason that it is very crowded. The market attracts north of 160,000 visitors in one long weekend. That’s great for local trade but as I said very crowded. This year I noticed something for the first time. I was able to get a mobile phone line every time I tried. No “the network is busy” notifications and frustrated repeat attempts to make contact with lost friends andcrowds on Steep Hill during Lincoln Christmas Market 2011 relatives.

On my way home I think I spotted the reason – a temporary tower with mobile transponders. The networks, at least O2 who I use, must have boosted their capacity just for the weekend. It was great and whilst I realise that all they probably want is for nobody to notice and for people to just carry on using their phones this does warrant a pat on the backcrowds coming out of Lincoln Castle Westgate during the Lincoln Christmas Market 2011 – for Lincoln City Council too.

If I can I’ll find out what kind of boost there was to mobile capacity. Everyone at the council who has anything to do with the market is busy right now.

rings over bottles - the finest sport in town at the Lincoln Christmas Market 2011And finally a photo of my favourite stall. You hand over a fiver for a small bucket full of red plastic rings and spend a minute or so throwing them in the vain hope that one will land squarely around the neck of one of the bottles and you win a giant stuffed animal. Almost an impossible feat but it is doable as the stuffed gorilla we have languishing in our attic proves. Just the one word of advice. If you do win give the prize away as quickly as you can. It will make a kid happy for at least as long as its take to parents realise they are going to have to squeeze it in the car and then when they get home find somewhere to put it!

I do have a video of the action at this stall.  The picture quality ain’t great but the sound effects are spectacular. Sounds just like the cash rolling into the tills of the guy who owns the stall!!!

1 except for last year when it was snowed off.