Solving in-building cellular coverage for enterprises and individuals

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Nextivity updates on Cel-Fi QUATRA 4000 market reception and looks ahead to 5G.

As the world gradually returns to business as usual, the foundational role of cellular connectivity is brought into sharp relief as traditional notions of the office and classroom become more fluid. Despite COVID-19, carriers and enterprises around the world are continuing to invest in coverage, capacity, and the new features opened up with 5G.

Reflecting on the situation, Paul Rigatti, Field Engineering Director at Nextivity, told RCR Wireless News, “We saw some very unique things in our business,” specifically calling out the move to work-from-home and distance learning. “We really saw a massive uptake…a real surge for cellular coverage.”

Nextivity has consumer-facing products that enhance in-home cellular connectivity as well as carrier- and enterprise-ready in-building systems. The company most recently launched its Cel-Fi QUATRA 4000 solution which draws on the company’s expertise in improving and extending cellular but with enhancements that fit the BYOD reality of most businesses.

“We’ve been a carrier product company for a long time,” Rigatti explained. “A lot of our products were…designed really to be single-carrier solutions. In a B2B context, it was a challenge. The QUATRA 4000 really solves that all together. It’s a very strong enterprise product that supports four carriers. Our B2B channel has been waiting for this product for three years.”

For more discussion with Rigatti on Cel-Fi QUATRA 4000, Nextivity’s approach to in-building public safety communications and more, watch this video interview.

On the 5G front, the three U.S. carriers all have commercial services available today. While Verizon is pursuing a strategy focused on deploying millimeter wave spectrum, AT&T and T-Mobile are using sub-6 GHz spectrum, 850 MHz and 600 MHz respectively, with both claiming “nationwide” coverage.

Rigatti detailed Nextivity’s approach as it relates to momentum around sub-6 GHz 5G and millimeter wave 5G. “The first go-to-market is in the sub-6 GHz category; that’s where a lot of the carriers are right now. Their spectrum assets are focused in sub-6 GHz. What their strategies will be is to refarm their 3G and 4G assets. As the carriers do that, Nextivity will be there.”

For millimeter wave 5G, he sees pervasive coverage, along with in-building-focused investment, as “still a ways out. We are a network enhancement, extender, improver technology. We need a certain amount of penetration and pervasiveness with the network coverage before we really start to add value.”

Cel-Fi QUATRA 4000 is a hybrid active DAS solution geared toward middleprise commercial buildings. The solution comprises network units, coverage units, and a variety of antenna options that use Cat 5e cabling and Power over Ethernet to solve in-building connectivity problems quickly and cost-effectively.

Key features include:

    • Multi-band, multi-carrier support
    • Up to 100 dB max gain for expanded coverage
    • Scalable up to 75,000-square-feet per Network Unit
    • Operation in SuperCell or off-air modesCarrier certified

In-building public safety is another area Nextivity is closely tracking. With variability in attendant codes and complex systems handed off from OEMs to system integrators, there has been slow adoption of solutions used to keep first responders safe and connected. Cel-Fi QUATRA RED, which will soon begin shipping, supports FirstNet and 700/800 MHz with 28- and 56-channel variations.

Rigatti said that first responder agencies are moving from LMR to LTE so Nextivity opted to deliver both in “a single, fully-certified package to make that as simple as possible. Our products will work perfectly and make it very easy for the installers to install them and the AHJs to approve it.”

To address middleprise connectivity demands for cellular coverage, capacity, and public safety, it’s all about making the technology simple to consume. “We’ve really made it easy for the enterprise to adopt our commercial systems,” Rigatti said. “We can deliver systems that have a really clear line of sight to ROI in the commercial context.”


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

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