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Bob Mathews    

Senior Radio Frequency Engineer, AT&T

Large groups mean lots of cell phones, which can overwhelm cellular data networks. Bob Mathews and partner Gary Chow, AT&T engineers, came up with a fix that's thrilled festival- and sports-goers. "We thought, 'What if we subdivide the area into smaller pieces so we are processing in parallel?'" says Gary Chow. What that meant here was installing a five-beam antenna where there was once a single antenna, splitting the area into five manageable zones. This method can also be especially useful during times of emergency, like the Boston attack, where most networks fail due to high capacity. The array debuted at the Coachella festival in 2011 and increased peak capacity from 1 gigabyte per hour to 22. This year, they debuted an 18-beam antenna. Now everyone at Coachella can tweet instead of watching the bands.

Mathews and Chow work on the AT&T Network Special Events Team, which is tasked with the challenge of finding solutions for providing capacity when a large number of customers are using mobile devices in a relatively small area.

Mathews, who has been with AT&T for nearly two decades, has a PhD in physics from the University of California at Berkeley and served aboard an aircraft carrier as part of the U.S. Navy.

News


30. Bob Mathews and Gary Chow | Fast Company | Business + ...

The Connectivity Wizards. Large groups mean lots of cell phones, which can overwhelm cellular data networks. These two AT&T engineers came up with a fix  ...

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