InBuilding - Volume 2, Issue 1 - 69
IBW COMMERCIAL DAS: Walsh Wireless
at its disposal an army of skilled
union members a phone call away.
The first year was a success for
Walsh and DeVitto as the pair
leveraged their experience into a
strong foundation for the business.
"It's just our reputation that's been
getting us the work," says Walsh,
a level II iBwave certified designer
trained in using the only radio
telecom planning software that
all cellular carriers accept. Since
their first DAS project in 2006,
Walsh and DeVitto have designed
in-building wireless systems for
River Point office tower and 360
W. Hubbard St., a downtown
apartment high-rise, both located
in the Chicago market.
As a startup business with a
localized market, Walsh Wireless
is open to jobs of any size. The
company has worked on high-rise
office buildings, shopping malls
and 12,000-square-foot homes, all
with wireless dead spots. It's also
working directly with Verizon to
swap out GPS timing equipment at
base stations in the Chicago Loop.
"There's no job too small," Walsh
says. "One antenna? It doesn't
matter. The size of the job is not
important to us. Some companies
won't even bother with the small
work. We embrace the small work."
The range of projects is huge,
but Walsh Wireless' main focus
has been on systems that improve
radio communication among fire,
police and paramedics. "We are
primarily a public safety company," Walsh says.
At Northbrook Court mall in
Chicago's north suburbs, Walsh
Wireless installed a bi-directional
amplifier system that hooks into a
nearby public safety antenna tower,
improving radio signals within the
shopping center. Walsh Wireless undertook a similar project at O'Hare
International Airport, creating a
bi-directional system that allowed
for radio communication within the
airport's badging department.
"Our vision is to work with public safety [departments] and install
in-building cellular for condos and
residential buildings, towers and
things like that in the suburbs,"
Walsh says. "We can use the off-air
process to bring signals indoors."
donor antennas without authorization run the risk of setting the amplifier too high and causing noise
on the carrier's system. That can
prompt the carrier to investigate
the problem and force the building
to turn off the unauthorized system,
possibly even leading to legal
action. No building owner wants to
deal with that headache, so Walsh
believes they are better off going
with an installer that has experience
in getting those agreements.
"There's no job too small. One antenna?
It doesn't matter. The size of the job is
not important to us."
Installing an in-building wireless systems that hooks into an
exterior antenna is a complicated
proposition. Cellular carriers
must obtain FCC permission to
utilize an outdoor signal to avoid
At the start of a project, Walsh
Wireless reviews the actual number of users on a system, then
checks to see whether there is an
existing outdoor cell tower that
can handle the load. Once it gets a
third-party document signed by a
carrier, it installs a donor antenna
on the roof to piggyback on the
cellular tower's signal and bring
stable coverage to the users inside
the building. "Whatever the signal
level is outside I can duplicate that
indoors," Walsh says.
Getting permission from the carrier to connect to their cell towers
makes the process more involved
but avoids larger problems down
the line. Competitors that install
Working with carriers directly
results in a smoother and stronger
wireless network; however, it does
create uncertainty. Walsh Wireless
must work on the carrier's schedule and can only move forward
with an installation once the cellular service company is ready. That
can create gaps in work, making
it difficult to retain workers. "Our
challenge is patience," Walsh says.
"Right now, we are working on
everyone else's schedule."
To create a steadier stream of
projects, Walsh Wireless is shifting
to working directly with building
owners and condo associations.
Walsh believes that will enable the
company to prioritize installations
so it can better manage projects
and forecast manpower. There,
Walsh Wireless' only interaction
with the carrier will be to obtain
the third-party document allowing
cell tower access. "Our vision is
working directly with the customer
and doing small jobs," he says.
Volume 2, Issue 1 inbuilding-magazine.com 69