Reporters and other employees at a major daily newspaper in Washington D.C. experienced spotty coverage and dropped calls inside an eight-story building of 350,000 ft2.
• Cost effective solution
• Quick installation
• Non-obtrusive solution to maintain building aesthetics
“Reporters were actually walking outside the building to take their cell calls, or were stuck near their desks waiting for important calls to come in, which hurt productivity,” says Dan Connelly, President of Rockville, MD-based Atlantic Technology Group, a provider of cellular based solutions for the middleprise. “They got a great signal outside, but the reception inside the building was really lousy.”
A multitude of factors – mainly its location in the heart of Washington D.C. and its building materials (concrete and glass) – were blocking AT&T cellular signals inside the building. The passive DAS that was already in place in the office building did not improve the poor AT&T signal indoors.’
To resolve the problem, Atlantic Technology Group proposed Cel-Fi QUATRA, an active DAS hybrid designed to bridge the price-performance gap for in-building wireless coverage in the middleprise. Unlike analog boosters and passive DAS technology, QUATRA delivers a cellular signal that is up to 1000x stronger, utilizing CAT 5e cabling and Power over Ethernet, with no signal attenuation right to the perimeter of a building.
“It’s a revolutionary technology that’s definitely shaking up the in-building cellular amplification game,” says Keegan Harrington, project lead at Atlantic Technology Group.
Proof of concept expands cellular coverage
Before implementing Cel-Fi QUATRA throughout all eight floors, Atlantic Technology Group met with the client and agreed to set up one floor as a proof of concept using one QUATRA Network Unit (NU), which is the head end of the system, and three remote internal antennas, known as Coverage Units (CU). Based on the initial results, the newspaper agreed to expand the installation to all eight floors.
Since the building is leased, Atlantic Technology Group also reviewed the site survey with the building owner and got their approval for antenna placement on top of the building. “The nice thing about the Nextivity solution is that the antennas are very non-obtrusive. They’re relatively small in size, not these big satellite antennas. Building owners are typically pleased with the size,” says Harrington.
Nothing we couldn’t work through
Washington D.C. is a very congested environment with a lot of interference from other cellular traffic. “In the heart of DC, no matter where you are, inside buildings the signal doesn’t always give you a good signal to noise ratio,” explains Harrington. “It was pretty bad on the roof, and we had to move the antennas many times to get the best signal.”
Harrington explained how they used the installation tools provided with Cel-Fi QUATRA to determine the best positioning of the antennas. “We used the Cel-Fi MIMO antennas, with data and voice on separate ports, and moved the antennas many times to get the best signal. We used Nextivity’s AntennaBoost solution to determine the best direction. Then we went into the individual NUs with Cel-Fi WAVE to see the Signal to Noise ratio and looked at the RSRQ and RSRP, RSSI and SINR to see the gain we were getting. In the end, we had to point the external roof antennas down to get out of the noise area.”
Hard ceilings in the building were another issue encountered by Atlantic Technology Group. This was resolved by putting the Cel-Fi QUATRA CUs in strategic locations, such as lights and access panels. Harrington explains that because QUATRA utilizes Power over Ethernet (PoE) and RF over Ethernet, there was a lot of flexibility on where the coverage units could be placed.
“With PoE it is easier because you don’t have to find a source to light up your coverage unit. Not too many companies have power sources in the ceiling. You would either have to get an electrician out to put in power or put in power cables hanging from the ceiling, which wouldn’t work,” says Harrington. “The client also really liked the way the coverage units look. They look like access points, so blend in well with their existing infrastructure.”
The 8-position dial base enables the antenna to be rotated in 45-degree increments, with real time performance data.
Atlantic Technology Group was also able to use the newspaper’s existing Cat 5 E and Cat 6 runs. “This saved the client money and saved us time. I like working with ethernet cable more than coax – it costs a lot less. It is also thinner, so it doesn’t snag as much if I have to go through holes. It’s also easier to run. The installation would have taken at least an extra week to run the cable if we didn’t use the existing cable. Almost one year after installation, Harrington reports that the client hasn’t called with issues relating to cellular coverage.
“I’ve found if you get the positioning and everything in the system right with Cel-Fi QUATRA, there are no problems thereafter unless an outdoor tower goes down, or multiple towers go down. Then all you have to adjust is the antenna,” concludes Harrington.
- High-quality solution for the middleprise
- Supports multi-carrier 3G/4G/LTE voice and data
- Carrier-approved and unconditionally network safe
- Can be monitored and managed using Cel-Fi WAVE
Contact us today to help with your Cellular Coverage Problems
This Cel-Fi installation was undertaken by our partners, in which Cel-Fi has a global footprint in almost 100 countries. For a referral to a local expert in your area, please contact us via phone or email.