This article was published 15 years ago

Inauguration will be a nightmare for wireless networks

AT&T cell tower on wheels
An AT&T temporary cell tower on wheels – Image credit: Flickr / Jeff Keyzer

History will made tomorrow as Barrack Obama will become the first black president.  It will also be a logistical nightmare as major roads and bridges into D.C. will be closed because of the millions of people that are expect expected to witness the inauguration.  And with two million people expected to be in the nation’s capital tomorrow, expect wireless networks to be jammed.

How bad will it be?  Wireless networks are pleading with customers to “limit their phone calls and to delay sending photos.”

“If some of these estimates come true, people should anticipate delays with regards to sending text messages or making phone calls or getting onto the Internet,” Joe Farren, spokesman for the Cellular Telecommunications and Internet Association told the International Herald-Tribune, “It has asked people to send texts rather than make phone calls (text uses less bandwidth than speech) and to send photos only after the event.”

AT&T and Sprint have spent millions of dollars in upgrading capacity to existing cell towers in the district, rolled out temporary cell towers around the national mall and the capital and upgrading service along major routes going into DC.

My advice for those that are going to the inauguration: take photos and send them later in the day or when your in the Maryland or Virginia suburbs.