A sought-after destination for more than 2.5 million tourists in Rio de Janeiro, Christ the Redeemer stands at 124 feet high, weighing 1,145 tons. The monument is the city’s postcard and is considered one of the seven new wonders of the world. Located atop Corcovado Hill in Tijuca National Park, the area is covered by forest, which leads to poor cell phone coverage.
Before arriving at Christ the Redeemer, tourists pass by the Paineiras Visitor Center in Corcovado, formerly known as the Hotel das Paineiras. Constructed in 1884, the Center serves as the waiting area for the train or van that ascends to the monument. The site also offers dining and shopping options.
Imagine being only 10 minutes away from Christ the Redeemer and losing access to the internet or phone service? In a tourist hotspot with over 2 million visitors every year, seamless communication is an important part of the experience — yet at Paineiras Visitor Center, such coverage was not available.
To solve this problem, the Center needed dedicated wireless connectivity that would handle the busy location. In addition, the team required a solution that had a low visual and environmental impact. As a result, the Center partnered with QMC Telecom, who are experts in indoor telecommunications infrastructure. The resulting solution included a Distributed Antenna System (DAS), resulting in a 100% increase in connectivity of the Center’s space in fewer than two months.
The visitors’ complex is in an environmental preservation area. To ensure minimal harm to the local plant and wildlife, the QMC team carried out a feasibility study as the first step of the engagement. In addition, the team presented a 30-plus page document to the Chico Mendes Institute of Biodiversity Conservation (ICMBIO), confirming that the project adhered to all applicable legislation.
Before the project’s construction, the QMC team analyzed the existing connectivity resources, which included a data collection of 4G signals in the Visitor Center area. The results showed that on-site Wi-Fi failed to support the large influx of visitors per day. Along with the Center’s nearby restaurants and stores, visitors also needed wireless connectivity in the Tijuca National Park display area — which included digital panels, interactive projections, and ecosystem simulations of the National Park.
DAS, a distributed antenna system, is a telecom infrastructure solution for indoor environments that delivers signal from a carrier’s network via small antennas. In the case of Paineiras Corcovado Visitor Center, 44 antennas were installed at different points of development, which represented a total cell coverage area of more than 65,000 ft².
As part of the installation, the QMC team had to identify a concealed area of around 430 ft² to house its equipment. However, the equipment could not hinder the movements of tourists or staff. This was a great challenge in Corcovado, as space was relatively scarce, with about 80% of the area occupied by the visitor complex and vans / snack bars occupying the rest. The team ultimately selected a corridor behind the Visitor’s Center, which stored all company and carrier equipment.
With the tourist location open to the public from 8:00 am to 6:00 pm, the DAS installation process also had to adapt to limited and fluctuating schedules. The architecture and space harmonization standards added more complexities to the project. For example, the team had to insert antennas in locations camouflaged by the roof of the on-site restaurant.
Results: 100% Increase in Connectivity
Before the DAS implementation, the site had virtually no cell service. As a result, tourists had difficulties publishing photos and videos and experienced communication problems; for instance, they weren’t able to ask for information or request services from ride-sharing apps.
As a result of the project implementation, the site saw significant benefits. The center experienced a 100% increase in signal connectivity, which allowed the visitors to make family calls and record special moments mere meters from Christ the Redeemer.
In the background, QMC monitored and controlled the installed antennas with its proprietary NOC (Network Operation Center), ensuring that the infrastructure always operated at the highest possible uptime and capacity. To maintain quality control, the team leveraged thorough reports and dashboards, updated 24 hours a day, seven days per week.
“QMC’s system increased connectivity for our visitors without causing any inconvenience to our Operation. The equipment doesn’t have any visual impact and is practically invisible to the visitors. QMC’s work was very good. We currently have a wireless carrier in our system, and we are moving towards having one more, which will further improve our Center’s connectivity experience,” said Kalil Saad, Operations Manager at Paineiras Corcovado.