- Aviation hangar operators must provide their highly specialized technicians and customers with reliable cellular coverage inside their facilities
- Materials used to construct the facilities can obstruct cellular signals from entering hangars, customer areas, and executive management areas
- Solution installation needs to be done rapidly and must be well-coordinated due to the high value of housed airplanes
- Cel-Fi QUATRA
- Cost-effective cellular coverage for all major carriers
- Easy and fast installation
- Remote monitoring
Konecta USA, a leading commercial in-building cellular installation and service provider for the North American market, provides cutting-edge technology for the aviation industry. The Minneapolis-based experts in repeater technology offer three proven systems to meet the industry’s needs: GPS, Iridium and Inmarsat SATCOM (satellite communication), and cellular.
Its sister company Konecta GPS focuses on GPS and SATCOM systems, oftentimes educating clients on the capabilities of GPS as well as satellite-based indoor signal repeater systems.
Hangars and the adjacent buildings are often constructed of metal that blocks GPS, satellite, and cellular signals from penetrating into the facilities. For the past decade KonectaGPS has been installing GPS and SATCOM repeaters that capture the GPS signal outdoors and bring it into the hangar. Both commercial and private airlines use GPS and SATCOM for navigation, which are tested regularly for safety. In hangars that block these signals, airplanes have to be moved outside to test the signals.
The same construction materials that block GPS/SATCOM signals also block cellular signals from penetrating into hangars as well as buildings that may be part of the complex used for related functions such as offices and guest areas. Environmental obstacles such as hilly landscapes, nearby buildings, and even congestion from high density usage in the vicinity can also block cellular signals or limit cellular reception throughout an entire facility or in certain parts of a building. As a result, people inside may not be able to make or receive calls or texts, or may experience dropped calls, poor quality connections, or slow/no data download capabilities on their cellular devices. This also impacts the technicians who use their cellphones as part of their day-to-day operations.
- Established in 2017
- Based in Minneapolis, Minnesota
- Services include GPS, Iridium and Inmarsat (SATCOM), and cellular.
- Customers include international aerospace companies with maintenance, repair, and operations (MRO) facilities, and aviation facilities throughout North America
All avionic technicians that work on planes rely on data and voice connectivity with their mobile devices.”
– Brad Leonard, co-owner of Konecta GPS
The other big part is the customers. Some are going to be in the customer area – just like when you take your car into the shop. If their phone doesn’t work inside that facility, you can imagine how disappointed they’re going to be that they own a multi-million-dollar plane and they can’t even make a phone call from the customer area.
To help aviation customers manage costs and meet their cellular connectivity needs, Konecta GPS chose Cel-Fi QUATRA as a turnkey solution to cost-effectively improve cellular coverage inside hangars, customer areas, and executive management areas.
Mike Bozyk, co-owner and design engineer at Konecta GPS, offers the example of a Georgia-based provider of innovative new aircraft, technologies, and services that was experiencing cellular coverage challenges in its Wisconsin-based hangar facilities, including a 75,000 square-foot hangar and a two-story office space that is approximately 100,000 square feet.
“This is a new building with a brand-new hangar. They have a lot of the low-e glass. For a lot of these new buildings, they’ll put a metal façade on them for decoration. This construction blocked the cellular signal,” Bozyk explains.
In hangars, the faster the deployment can be done, the better. “There’s a ton of coordinating when working in the hangar. Sometimes a plane will be in its slot, and if it’s on jacks, it can’t be moved. We use scissor lifts and forklifts in the hangar to install the cables and internal antennas. As we don’t want parts to drop onto the plane we have to coordinate and make sure the plane is out of the slot when we are doing the installation,” says Bozyk.
To resolve the problem cost-effectively with the least disruption of operations, Konecta GPS installed the Cel-Fi QUATRA active DAS hybrid. This multi-carrier solution addresses the challenges of poor voice quality, dropped calls, and dead zones inside large commercial facilities. QUATRA delivers a cellular signal for 5G/4G/3G voice and data with a coverage footprint that is three times larger than analog boosters and older passive DAS (distributed antenna systems). The system uses category cabling with Power over Ethernet, so there is no need to install additional power outlets for the internal remote antennas.
Konecta installed two Network Units (NUs) – the head end of the Cel-Fi QUATRA system – one in the hangar and one in the office space. Each NU supports and enhances the outdoor signal for all major carriers and digitally re-transmits the carrier signals with zero signal loss via category cabling to 18 QUATRA Coverage Units (CUs), which are the remote internal antennas. Four CUs were installed in the hangar with the rest set up in the office space. According to Bozyk, Konecta GPS has also successfully installed Cel-Fi QUATRA in this customer’s facilities located in California, Florida, and Georgia.
It took four team members from Konecta GPS approximately one week to install Cel-Fi QUATRA and provide a quality signal inside the Wisconsin-based hangar and office space. Konecta GPS also delivers ongoing value to this aviation customer by remotely monitoring Cel-Fi QUATRA across all the locations in which it has been installed.
“The Cel-Fi WAVE application is super cool and unique. When an aviation client like this one is massive and has hundreds of DAS installations all over the world, just knowing where the equipment is, is a huge benefit to their IT department. It enables us to create new ways to add value for our customers and create new revenue streams for our business.” add Brad.
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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.