T-Mobile is rolling out increased network capacity in the Washington, D.C. area in preparation for the presidential inauguration, and many of the improvements in speed and capacity that users will see in the coming days will actually be permanent. According to a press release from the Un-carrier, they have installed a number of new cell sites in the area that will impart permanent improvements to the network, upping both user capacity and network speed. Existing cell sites have gotten improvements in the form of new standards being deployed, as well as the addition of new spectrum. They have also rolled in cell sites on wheels, pictured below in the second photo. The curious devices are larger than a small cell or a node in a relay-based network, but still small enough to be mounted in a portable fashion.
T-Mobile will reportedly continue to roll in portable cell sites and ratchet up their network in the days leading up to inauguration, and they will stick around for a few days after the inauguration is over. Many of the cell sites that are already in the area have seen the rollout of new technologies like 4x4 MIMO, LTE-U, and 256 QAM, on top of the addition of more local spectrum. Three-channel carrier aggregation has also been deployed, meaning that DC residents in range of these towers could see speeds similar to those achieved in lab tests last year. New multi-beam antennas have been installed in the area, as well, which will allow LTE signal to reach further ad spread across a larger number of nodes. Last, but certainly not least, a number of cell sites have had their total backhaul doubled, if not more.
T-Mobile's network in the area had been bolstered shortly before, in preparation for both the Democratic and the Republican National Conventions. Preparations for such large events almost always involve some sort of permanent improvement in the network on top of temporarily bringing in new equipment to meet the surge in demand, so those who live and work in the D.C. area, much like how it was with the two Conventions, can expect a better T-Mobile network in their area from now on.