Connected Real Estate Magazine - Vol 2 Issue 1 - 86
DAS & SMALL CELL
M AT T E RS
WHEN SELECTING AN IN-BUILDING
CELLULAR COVERAGE SOLUTION
BY JOE SCHMELZER
s landlines continue down their path to obsolescence,
the need for reliable, in-building cellular coverage
has never been greater-particularly for businesses.
Viewed by many as the 4th utility, prospective tenants are putting increasing value on cellular service as they
shift towards mobile-first operations to run their business.
Coupled with the growing need to connect "things" with one
another via the Internet of Things, cellular data has become a
must-have in every office space.
But achieving this is not that simple. Despite the abundance
of available cellular networks, dead zones within buildings can
result in poor reception, poor voice quality, slow data, and
dropped calls. Elevator shafts, basements, office corners, and
highly-insulated areas are the typical culprits, as are energyefficient buildings. Newer construction and maintenance
materials that block out the sun's rays also have the same effect
on wireless signals.
At the same time, there is such a thing as too much signal,
which can adversely impact cellular service. This can occur in
taller buildings, where signals from multiple network services
can overlap and create confusion at the handset. It then hops
from one source to another, creating irregularities in service.
SO, WHAT'S A BUILDING OWNER TO DO?
That depends on size. For larger building spaces-those
greater than 500,000 sq. ft.-a business case can be made
86 CONNECTED REAL ESTATE | WINTER 2018
for traditional solutions that extend quality cellular coverage
throughout a building. However, these solutions are considered
too complex, too costly, or simply overkill for smaller sized
buildings. In larger building spaces, it's easier to amortize
fixed costs, yielding lower costs per square foot.
But the same does not ring true for middleprise commercial
buildings between 10,000 and 500,000 sq. ft. They face the
same upfront capital expenditures, with less return. And
unfortunately, the more affordable residential solutions are
not an option because they are simply not robust enough to
support business requirements.