Cellular Infrastructure to-do list for IT Managers
- 30 Aug, 2019
Very few companies tie staff to their desks these days. Between employees working remotely and execs on the go, connectivity is more fluid than ever before. Some companies are even getting rid of their landline phones, meaning employees are more reliant on their cellular devices.
And as buildings become taller and more concentrated in urban South African areas, more and more people are struggling with poor cell phone signal in their office buildings. The most common types of building material used - concrete, bricks and metal, and also the rise of modern "green" buildings that utilise low E-glass windows and modern insulation materials further block cellphone signal - even in high rise buildings. Basements and underground floor levels are also particularly problematic when it comes to receiving cellular signal.
Ensuring your building has proper cellular signal will not only help increase work productivity and efficiency but also keep weak cell phone signal from interrupting or stopping your organisation's processes.
What does that mean for you as an IT Manager? You will need excellent cellular connectivity for starters.
Here is a to-do list to get you started.
1. Identify problem areas
As the IT manager, you have great knowledge of your building’s technology infrastructure. When it comes to cellular signal, you need to think strategically.
If the signal is an issue in your building, you’re probably used to getting complaints like, “ I only get one bar of service in the conference room”. While bars are a popular measure of signal, they don’t provide a clear picture.
This is one of the first areas where it pays to work with a professional. Sure, you could walk around your building or office park with your cell phone and use bars as an indicator of problem areas, but it won’t help you truly understand the areas of greatest need.
Instead, work with an expert to conduct a comprehensive site survey with a signal meter. Signal meters detect and display signal frequency, bandwidth, and strength with total certainty. If a signal survey reveals an especially weak (or very strong) signal strength, it might be time to explore connectivity solutions.
2. Evaluate your options
Once you decide to enhance your cellular connectivity, it’s time to evaluate the options in the market. Two common solutions are active distributed antenna systems (DAS) and commercial cell signal boosters, also called passive distributed antenna systems (passive DAS).
Active DAS is a common choice for very large office buildings that need enhanced cell signal. These systems use antennas and fiber optic cable to capture cell signal from a nearby source and broadcast it over a wide area.
Active DAS systems typically create a single-network signal — one that boosts signal only for a specific network, like Vodacom or MTN.
Cell signal booster systems, or passive DAS, work to enhance poor reception in a similar way as active DAS without the intensive and expensive installation. Signal boosters work by using rooftop donor antennas to capture existing cell signal from nearby cellular towers, amplifying the weak signal, and then rebroadcasting the boosted signal throughout the building.
Typically the strength of the cell signal is boosted up to 32 times and the resulting indoor signal is network-agnostic (meaning it amplifies the signal for all networks and doesn’t discriminate - Vodacom, MTN, Cell C and Telkom), providing a significant improvement in cellular reception quality for cellular devices across all networks.
3. Know your budget
When considering your cellular signal solution options, it’s important to know your budget. It’s not uncommon for IT managers to start the process with active DAS in mind, only to realize they can’t afford it or that a commercial cell phone signal booster system is the more efficient—and cost-effective—option.
In fact, active DAS is typically not financially feasible for buildings under 25,000 square meter. These systems can cost hundreds of thousands of rands, with installation and hardware costing as much as R300 to R600 per square meter. Even with that price tag, the solution normally only supports one network.
While the exact price of a passive DAS depends on a number of variables, cell phone signal booster systems remain the most financially viable wireless solution for the majority of commercial users.
Costing just R50 to R100 per square meter on average, these cell phone signal booster systems are just a quarter of the price of even the most affordable active DAS solutions. And with installation taking a matter of days, rather than months, businesses effectively solve the most troublesome cell reception issues in a short amount of time.
4. Work with a professional
Whichever option you decide on, installation is not a job to tackle on your own. Even as an experienced IT professional, it pays to work with a professional installer. Commercial cell signal amplifiers are powerful products with more components and stricter installation requirements than residential boosters. Relying on a trained installation professional ensures that you are following building and SA communication regulations, getting the best possible coverage, and making the most of the equipment itself.
Here at Bolton Technical, we work with a network of trained professionals to assist with design and installation for your building. Contact us today on 011 749 3085 or email firstname.lastname@example.org for a site survey of your office building.
5. Recommended Solution for Office Buildings - WilsonPro A1000 Signal Booster
Bolton Technical takes on commercial, industrial, and enterprise businesses with their A1000 signal booster solution for large buildings and offices, manufactured by Wilson Electronics, a US leader in the signal booster industry.
The Wilson Pro A1000 (50 Ohm) from Wilson Electronics is the most popular commercial cell phone signal booster. It features automatic gain control with a self-optimizing design for easy installation & maintenance.
- For large buildings and areas (up to 1000m2 coverage)
- Boosts all 2G, 3G, 4G signals (3-band support)
- Supports all phones and cellular devices on all SA’s Mobile Networks (Vodacom, MTN, Cell C, Telkom Mobile etc.)
- No more dropped calls, stuck text message, slow internet, and spotty reception
- Amplifies signal up to 32 times, with 2X range to cell tower, powered by +74 dB gain
6. How does it work?
The WilsonPro A1000 signal booster improves cell reception and coverage with 3 easy steps:
- The Outside Antenna pulls in the existing cell signal from outside the building. Cables carry the stronger signal directly into the building, bypassing obstructive building material like concrete, metal, and glass.
- The Amplifier boosts the signal with patented technology.
- The Inside Antenna rebroadcasts the enhanced signal throughout the building.
More bars, more reliable talk & text, faster internet for hundreds of cell phones, tablets, and other cellular devices in your office building. It's that easy.
7. Why is it better than (fill-in-the-blank)?
When compared to the competition? It's not even close. Compared to a distributed antenna system (DAS), the commercial A1000 signal booster is significantly cheaper for the same amount of coverage. Ranging from 1/4 of the cost of a DAS system to even less.
We offer world-class technical support based in Johannesburg and our installation team will work anywhere in South Africa.
All products come with a 30 Day Money Back Guarantee and 1-year warranty.
Read our Case Study: Signal Booster Solution For Corporate Offices