Cellular service to multi-use buildings

Summary

Challenge
• 200,000 square-foot, multi-use building with commercial and residential tenants and below ground level parking garage
• Spotty cellular coverage in the parking garage caused safety concerns
• Commercial and residential spaces are not wired for traditional phone line

Solution
• Cel-Fi QUATRA Supercell

Results
• Customer and tenants have peace of mind because there is now coverage
• Quick install

The Challenge

As the building owners were concerned about the safety of their tenants in the below ground parking garage, Pacific Services recommended also testing cellular coverage while testing the emergency responder frequencies.

“When tenants are in the parking garage at night, even though there are cameras in the garage, having a cellular phone connection makes the garage much safer for them in an emergency,” says Gary Greening, VP Operations at Pacific Services. “After surveying the garage and finding no cellular coverage down there at all, we went ahead and surveyed the rest of the floors of the building. There was basically spotty coverage everywhere.”

In the parking garage, the thick solid concrete walls and underground location blocked any macro cellular signal. The building itself is in a pocket of other high rises – an 8-story building on one side and a big commercial building behind it – that blocked sufficient macro signal from penetrating into the upper floors. The entire ground floor of the building is occupied by retail stores, while the three floors above are apartments. These residential floors were all wired for cable and Wi-Fi, but not for conventional phone lines, so tenants were expected to use their own cell phones.

The Solution

Setting up the Supercell to address safety concerns and more

Pacific Services ordered two small cells from AT&T and two from Verizon. The small cells were installed in the utility closet on the bottom level of the parking garage. Five Cel-Fi QUATRA Network Units (NUs), the head ends of the QUATRA system, were installed in close proximity to the smalls cells inside the utility closet and each NU was connected to one Verizon small cell and one AT&T small cell.

According to Greening, conduit had already been installed from the basement utility closet to all floors of the building, so Pacific Services ran Cat 6 cabling from the NUs vertically up the conduit to access panels on each floor.

The cabling was then run down the halls to the Cel-Fi QUATRA coverage units (CUs), which are the remote antennas that broadcast the signal internally within the building. The CUs were attached exposed on the ceilings. Greening prefers an external attachment as it makes it easier to access the CUs during installation and afterwards for maintenance, and as they matched the paint on the hallways, the contractor was happy with how they looked.

A Cel-Fi QUATRA Supercell uses RF-over-Ethernet (RFoE) to extend the capacity provided by the small cells throughout the building to the CUs. In addition, the system uses Power-over-Ethernet (PoE), so Pacific Services was able to place two to three CUs in optimum locations in the hallways on each floor and in the parking garage, without having to add power outlets. The CUs were only needed in the hallways on the upper floors to provide good signal inside all the apartments and shops.

“We have tested other competitive products at the low end that would not be able to do that. We would have had to put antennas inside each of the apartments to try to get that kind of coverage,” says Greening. “The output power of Cel-Fi QUATRA is very good when it has a clean donor signal like in a Supercell, and the penetration is excellent.”

The Results

The Supercell installation took two days to complete once the small cells were installed. The public safety system was installed at the same time. The intuitive management tools provided by Nextivity helped to ensure a faster installation and facilitate more efficient technical support and maintenance.

“If there’s a problem with the network, the Cel-Fi Wave application will tell us. It has a great interface, so you can quickly see what your network is doing from a cell phone, or from a laptop or an iPad,” says Greening. “The management is very good through the portal, and if we see the signals from the small cell have stopped working, we can call the right technical people at the carriers to say we need some assistance to get it working again, before we dispatch a truck to get out and see the customer.”

“The best part is the customer and the tenants now have peace of mind, and the reality is this solution might save a life,” he adds. “Cel-Fi QUATRA is one of our leading solutions for small to medium size clients in venues under 500,000 square feet, and it’s been very successful. We have been able to install a Cel-Fi QUATRA Supercell for 50 to 60 percent less than the cost of other proposals the clients received.”

  • High-quality solution for the middleprise
  • Supports multi-carrier 3G/4G/LTE voice and data
  • Carrier-approved and unconditionally network safe
  • Can be monitored and managed using Cel-Fi WAVE

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.

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