Visitors to Volvo Ocean Race stopovers are enjoying high-speed mobile internet thanks to a next-generation IP network solution from Ericsson.

The world’s premier offshore race, now at the third of ten stopovers, generates great amounts of multimedia content, including still pictures and videos, which can now be streamed from boats in-port to the race villages with the microwave solution MINI-LINK PT.

In addition, the high-capacity network is enabling journalists on-site to deliver their stories more quickly, allow shore teams to work online more efficiently as well as let fans access their favorite applications online as they are used to doing in an everyday situation.

"We are in the middle of executing the most exciting Volvo Ocean Race ever, from so many different perspectives, one of which is massively increasing audience media expectations. The race has traditionally been difficult to follow since it happens on the ocean, but recent advances in technology have allowed the public to watch the boats while they are thousands of miles away on any device, internet, phones, TV and at any time," says Knut Frostad, CEO of the Volvo Ocean Race. When we arrive to a port, the public on site has the same high expectations. They want to see the race up-close even if the race is happening twenty miles out. We are working with Ericsson to make sure the network in the village is fast and efficient, so we can spread information from race to shore, to big screens, to mobile handsets, and online to those who are not in the village."

900-thousand people walked through the gates of Alicante during the last edition of the Volvo Ocean Race (2008-2009). That kind of crowd will stress a network, but two weeks later that crowd will leave. This is why Ericsson suggested the MINI-LINK PT microwave solution for Volvo Ocean Race.So far in this race close to one million visitors came to Alicante and Cape Town. The boats are due to leave Abu Dhabi on January 14.

Joakim Nilsson, product manager for MINI-LINK, says: "It provides flexibility in installation, high capacity during the event, and it’s easy to move to the next stopover. And the big advantage is that MINI-LINK has zero footprint. All the stuff is in the mast. You can deploy a gigabit-throughput network in a couple of hours."

Nilsson adds: "Many of these stopovers are in places without an established infrastructure. And unlike fiber, you can provide microwave over water. Then, you can dismantle this network in a short time." Nilsson says such a technology solution is appropriate for other short-term, intensive events like a marathon, an Olympic Games, or for a World Expo.

Ericsson has participated in two previous editions of the Volvo Ocean Race but has transitioned into a technology partner only. Frostad says Ericsson is the right innovation partner for the racing organization. He says: "No other sport had a mobile channel when we launched with Ericsson. Now everybody has a mobile channel. In this race, we are doing something spectacular with microwave transmission inside the race villages. We and Ericsson know each other’s business and they know our sport."

In addition, Ericsson acknowledges the importance of innovative technology and has established the Ericsson Trophy for best yacht design. The winner of that award will be announced at the race finish in Galway, Ireland, in June 2012.

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