Small areas of the historical center of Moscow are charming with their antiquity and memorable places. And no matter how the city grows and develops, the center retains its original appearance, which cannot be disturbed by any technological innovations. We talk about how telecom operators at Patriarch’s Ponds cope with the challenges of the historical center in the project “Communication Magic”.
Only four streets, several lanes, a pond and a cozy square. A tiny district in the center of Moscow, which miraculously contained the entire essence of the capital. On the one hand, its originality and history, and on the other hand, modernity, fashion and secularity. In this duality of place, miracles and inconsistencies are inevitable. They start right away with the name. Why ponds, because he is here alone? The explanation is simple. Once there were three, they were dug on the site of the Goat’s swamp at the end of the 17th century on behalf of Patriarch Joachim. He ordered to dry up the swamp and dig small reservoirs in order to breed fish for his residence, which was located nearby. Hence the name Patriarch’s Ponds. True, this story did not last long. After the abolition of the patriarchate, the area fell into decay, and the ponds became swampy. After almost a hundred years, the swamp was drained a second time, making one pond in its place. It is already more than two hundred years old, but the name of the place has remained the same and even migrated to Moscow Newspeak. Capital pragmatism could not do anything with the plural, leaving it even in an abbreviated version – Patricks.
By the way, about the Goat swamp. According to one version, he was so called because of rumors about all sorts of evil spirits that was found on him in a goat guise. Allegedly, Bulgakov’s Woland didn’t show up here just like that – he returned to the old address. He returned and let in smoke and fog, which still fascinates Muscovites and guests of the capital.
For many, Patricky is a favorite place for evening festivities and meetings in cafes and restaurants. There are plenty of them here, and new ones are constantly being opened, although sometimes it seems that there are much more.
Here, the fashionable youth of Moscow broadcasts live on social networks, shoots videos. Meet the right people, talk with clients and partners, meet friends, catch an important event. Energetic, quickly moving around the perimeter of the area. Do not follow them.
Another thing is older residents. They are often relaxed, not in a hurry. They walk with dogs around the pond, stop to say hello to neighbors, go to a cafe to sit with a cup of coffee. They write in regional publics, discuss new establishments, complain about restless youth.
And it’s important for everyone to stay connected. It does not fail at the Patriarchs, although, as telecom people admit, the historical center of Moscow is a difficult task for operators.
Firstly, here, when installing equipment, it is necessary to preserve the architectural ensemble. According to the Urban Aesthetics of Communications program developed by the Moscow authorities in 2016, operators must follow strict rules in this matter. The dimensions of the equipment should be as compact as possible, the color should be inconspicuous, the antennas should be camouflaged, cables and overhead lines should be hidden so as not to spoil the appearance of ancient buildings.
Oleg Tomnikovsky, an expert from MTS, spoke about the non-trivial solutions that the company applied in this area:
— On Patricki, we have had a stable level of communication for a long time — there was an antenna on the roof of one of the restaurants and coped well with its tasks. But a major renovation began in the restaurant, the equipment had to be removed, but it was not possible to return it to its place: the installation of the usual base station already violated the requirements of the city, and the owner of the establishment did not want to spoil the updated look of the building. At the same time, communication, of course, was needed – both in the restaurant itself and all residents of the area.
After discussions, we came to the decision to install the equipment on a lamppost. By the way, he ended up next to the place where Annushka once spilled oil. This installation was allowed to us, but with the condition to place the equipment neatly with small antennas. We ordered a non-standard modern model of the base station, which would fit in size and at the same time transmit both voice and good Internet, and cover a large area. However, even this model also has enough antennas, and I had to think further – how to “hide” them. We analyzed the traffic of subscribers in Patricki and saw that in this area it is possible to easily reduce the number of radio bands and, accordingly, the size of the antennas. We left the 2G voice band for calls – there are many residents who only call. And, of course, 4G, because today you can’t live without the Internet. The cables themselves were laid by hand after several attempts in a special way so that they resembled the patterns on lampposts.
According to Oleg, in the city center there is another headache for signalmen. These are old houses, the thickness of the walls of which reaches a meter, and small windows. In order for the radio signal to pass inside such a room, you need to tune the antenna as accurately as possible. This work is done by network planners, who literally fight for every centimeter of the mobile network and the degree of inclination of the base station antennas.
We walked around the Patricks.
Impressed. Woland tricks? Or maybe a high-tech solution plus the magical power of creative engineering?