How to cost-effectively deliver multi-carrier in-building coverage

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Nextivity’s Supercell helps enterprises make the most of small cell signals

There are three foundational facts that are shaping the in-building cellular market. We know that the vast majority of mobile traffic originates from inside buildings; similarly, we know that modern businesses, regardless of size, need in-building cellular coverage. And, in terms of who pays the bill, carriers reserve limited capex spend for marquee venues like stadiums and airports meaning the vast majority of the addressable market will have to invest in their own connectivity.

Given these dynamics, enterprise decision makers faced with a relatively limited set of options need to invest in technology that provides the level of connectivity they require in the simplest, most cost effective manner possible. It’s unlikely that an expensive, somewhat static distributed antenna system, spreading around RF signal provided by multiple carriers, will be a good fit for most building owners or managers. This leaves two primary options for the vast majority of enterprise venues: using an off-air system to capture outdoor signal and distribute it through a building, or couple an indoor system to a small cell or multiple small cells depending on the number of carriers that need to be supported.

Offering carrier-approved solutions in these two primary options, Nextivity continues to grow its customer base in key geographies including the U.S., U.K., Europe, Australia and Asia. During the recent Mobile World Congress Los Angeles event, Nextivity launched the latest in its line of hybrid active DAS solutions with the Cel-Fi QUATRA 4000.

“Typically people like to ask us this question about is this primarily a multi-carrier or a multi mobile network operator product and, yes, it is,” CEO Werner Sievers told RCR Wireless News in an interview during MWC Los Angeles. “But it’s much more than that,” he continued. “It sort of is in line with our objective to create scalability in our own business model and the business model of our integrators and also in the class of technology.”

 

As the name implies, Cel-Fi QUATRA 4000 is a four-carrier solution. And beyond the off-air mode, QUATRA 4000 can be coupled to one or multiple small cells to establish what Seivers described as Supercell.

“Supercell, for us, really is utilizing a local signal, a small cell, and making that capacity that is brought to the venue by that small cell uniformly available to the entire rest of the building. To be able to uniformly cover a venue, you need more than one small cell. And if you’re going to use multiple small cells, it raises the question of interference so a cleaner, more predictable and cost-efficient outcome would be to use our product aligned with…a small cell, coupled with a small cell rather than off-air, to drive coverage.”

For more information on Cel-Fi QUATRA 4000 and the entire family of Cel-Fi products, click here.

In-building cellular for public safety

As Nextivity Senior Director of Products Joe Schmelzer put it, public safety communication is going through a massive technical evolution as analog communicators like land-mobile radio systems give way to cellular communications. Case in point, AT&T’s cooperation with the First Responder Network Authority to build FirstNet, a nationwide LTE network dedicated to first responders.

In tandem with this move to cellular-based communications, a wide-range of carriers and other vendors are working to provide data-based applications that enhance situational awareness and support IoT-type connections for things like body-mounted cameras.

Last year Nextivity announced Cel-Fi GO RED, a FirstNet-compatible signal booster, and at MWC Los Angeles took things to a “completely different level” with the announcement of QUATRA RED, which Schmelzer said is a “true emergency responder radio communications system.”

He continued: “It’s designed to provide that all important certificate of occupancy in a building. When new construction goes up or a retrofit happens, the public safety responders need to make sure they can communicate in that building,” which is delineated through a process of testing and meeting certification requirements. “QUATRA RED supports all of that. It’ll allow our partners to get a certificate of occupancy and really satisfy those requirements.”

For more information on Nextivity’s efforts around in-building cellular and public safety systems, take a look at the following materials:

 

 

A version of this article was originally published by RCR Wireless News

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