- Grocery chain was receiving customer and employee complaints about poor cellular coverage in its hurricane-rated stores in the Southeast U.S.
- Heavy duty construction materials, including cinder block walls and metal roofs, blocked cellular signal from entering the stores
- Reliable in-store coverage for AT&T and Verizon was necessary for customer satisfaction, employee safety, and for backup checkout devices in the case of failure
- Cel-Fi QUATRA
- Reliable in-store cellular signal for AT&T and Verizon
- Quick and simple installation
- Cost-effective solution
Located in the Southeast U.S., a popular grocery chain with 1,800 outlets had been receiving complaints from employees and customers about the poor cellular reception inside its stores. This was a big concern for the retailer because cellular signal was needed for customer satisfaction and employee safety, and for backing up checkout devices in case of failure.
All of the grocery chain’s stores were built to be hurricane-rated. Heavier duty materials were used so the stores could be considered storm shelters. The construction materials used – including cinder block walls and metal roofs – were obstructing cellular signal from penetrating into the stores. The additional concrete, rebar, and metal used to build the locations as storm shelters created additional interference for cellular signals.
According to Nick Aksentis, project manager at Tampa-based EMEGC, a telecommunications general and electric contractor and provider of wireless in-building and tower services, signal saturation in the markets where the retailer’s stores were located added to the problem. “It’s just going to reduce the signal even more, not to mention interference from other systems,” he explains.
EMEGC was brought in by the grocery chain to solve its in-building coverage issues and ensure reliable cellular signal in its stores for AT&T and
Verizon, the most widely used carriers by customers and employees.
According to Aksentis, cost and an easy installation were the key considerations when choosing the solution to rectify the coverage issues in the
grocery chain’s stores. As a result, EMEGC chose to deploy Cel-Fi QUATRA, a multi-carrier hybrid active DAS for 5G/4G/3G voice and data.
Cel-Fi QUATRA specifically addresses the challenges of poor voice quality, dropped calls, and dead zones in large commercial facilities. Unlike analog
boosters and older passive DAS systems, QUATRA delivers a cellular signal that is up to 1000x stronger, offering a much larger coverage footprint.
QUATRA uses category cabling with Power over Ethernet, so there is no need to install additional power outlets for the internal remote antennas.
Aksentis says one Cel-Fi QUATRA system was installed in each store. The Network Unit (NU) – the head end of the system – was put in a Main
Distribution Frame (MDF), or another IT cam room. Each NU supports and enhances the outdoor signals for AT&T and Verizon, and digitally
re-transmits the carrier signals with zero signal loss via Cat6 cabling to a QUATRA Coverage Unit (CU), the remote internal antenna.
“We take a look at propagation and predictions to determine the placement of the CU,” explains Aksentis. “We typically run our cables back to either
the cam room or the MDF but sometimes it might change if we have to adjust the roof penetration. If the roof penetration is directly above the cam
room or the MDF, that allows us to get a shorter, quicker run for the cabling.”
When it comes to positioning the antennas, Aksentis says his team couldn’t do the job without the Cel-Fi WAVE app. Designed as the interface for
Cel-Fi products, WAVE provides installers with an effortless way to quickly and easily register, configure, and manage Cel-Fi devices.
“The WAVE App saves a lot of time and headaches from trying to analyze which tower you’re pointing at and moving things around and determining
if you’re actually hitting that specific carrier, different carriers, or multiple carriers. It streamlines the whole process,” he adds.
To date, Cel-Fi QUATRA has been installed at 380 outlets, both existing stores and new builds, with each ranging in size from 40,000 to 50,000 ft2.
Using two to three technicians, the installations were done overnight when the stores were closed to customers. “Working closely with the customer,
EMEGC created a logistical installation plan to complete the installs When we install in existing stores, we actually do everything all in one
night,’ including the system’s wiring and, installation and commissioning. of the system,” says Aksentis.
“The data the client got back was that the majority of their customers and/or staff that work in these stores wtere able to test the signal quality
using Verizon and AT&T,” explains Aksentis. “The client wanted a system that could be put in and they’d see a benefit right away and Cel-Fi
- Founded in 1995
- Based in Tampa, Florida
- Services include installation, upgrading, maintenance, and monitoring of in-building wireless solutions and installation, upgrading, and maintenance of communications towers
- Customers served include wireless carriers, tower developers, utilities, radio broadcast companies, tower investors, government, healthcare, commercial, entertainment, hospitality, and university campuses
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.