Choosing the Perfect System Integrator to Install Your Cel-Fi Cellular or Public Safety Coverage Solution

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How to choose a system integrator to install cellular coverage and public safety communications solutions in a commercial building

Any occupied building, whether new construction or older, requires good cellular reception and public safety communications. Commercial building owners need to deal with these requirements at some point, either in response to tenant demands because their phone keeps dropping calls or to receive a Certificate of Occupancy.

An important first step in addressing any cellular or public safety coverage deficiencies is finding a system integrator who will competently assess the problem, propose an optimum and cost-effective solution, and install it expertly within a reasonable period of time.

As with any service providers, system integrators each have different service territories, experience and industry expertise, product lines they carry, service level guarantees, as well as warranties and maintenance contracts or commitments. And of-course, the cost of equipment they sell and the service fees they charge will also vary.

With highly technical capital equipment purchases, such as commercial grade cellular in-building amplification and public safety communication systems, it can be difficult to navigate through the technical language to do a real apples-to-apples comparison of proposals submitted. For example, a distributed antenna system may be needed instead of a cellular signal booster for a building or campus that’s greater than a million square feet. And in the converse scenario, a cellular signal booster may be the right solution to amplify cellular coverage to address specific dead spots in one section of a building, while a distributed antenna system may be too big and expensive to install.

While cost is always an important consideration, evaluating cost against value and performance is much more important. This ensures building owners and managers don’t fall for a low-cost deal only to find tenants are still complaining about poor cell phone reception or the building is denied a Certificate of Occupancy.

The system integrator chosen to do the job can make all the difference. Their expertise, product lines they offer, service footprint, and several other factors will determine if they can deliver the level of cellular connection and public safety communication needed in a building. But how do you determine which system integrator to choose?

To evaluate if a system integrator is the best partner to fix the cellular coverage problems and public safety communications requirements in a commercial building, ask them the following questions:

  • Do you install both cellular coverage and Public Safety Communications systems?
  • Which industry are most of your clients in?
  • Who are some of the customers that you have worked with to solve similar problems?
  • Can you provide references for installations you have done?
  • Do you have technical staff in the local area who can do the initial evaluation, proposal, and installation?
  • What product lines do you carry? Why do you carry those lines over others?
  • How long before you will have equipment in stock?
  • How long does it take you to do an installation?
  • What service level (RF readings) will you deliver consistently throughout my building when the system is installed?
  • What warranty and maintenance services do you offer?

The responses you receive to these initial questions should help you narrow down a longer list of system integrators that could meet your needs.

For more in-depth information on selecting a system integrator, sign up for a webinar that Connected Real Estate will host in partnership with Alliance Communications and Nextivity. As leaders in this field with hundreds of commercial deployments, they will be addressing this topic in greater depth to ensure you are armed with the information you need to choose the best system integrator for specific requirements.


Versions of this article and interview were originally published by Connected Real Estate Magazine.

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