Wise architects think about cellular connectivity at the design stage for new buildings

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It’s a well-known story in telecom and wireless circles: A building project is planned. Blueprints are drawn up. Construction begins. But somewhere along the way – often after construction is completed but sometimes during construction – the cellular service is suddenly lousy. Why? Probably because the construction materials – concrete, low-emission glass, aluminum – block cellphone signals.

It’s a real problem and one that the building owner has to address because his tenants, whether they are employees or visitors to the building, demand robust cellular coverage. In-building Wi-Fi connectivity might remedy some of the problem, but likely not all of it as people still demand connectivity and mobility. A Wi-Fi access point can only accommodate a limited number of users simultaneously.  

Although cellular carriers collectively have spent hundreds of billions of dollars rolling out nationwide networks, it doesn’t matter if the newly constructed building doesn’t have robust coverage and enough capacity to handle all of the people at the venue. It’s going to be a problem – and not just a problem for the wireless carriers.

Building owners and managers have a stake in offering great mobile broadband connectivity because today’s consumers are expecting it. Apartment owners and managers should take mind of these statistics: 45.4 percent of Americans live in wireless-only homes, according the U.S. government agency that tracks these statistics. More than half of all adults aged 18-44 and of children younger than 18 were living in wireless-only households. Some millennials have never had a wired phone.

In order to avoid this problem, mobile broadband connectivity needs to be considered during the architectural design phase. As such, the Wireless Infrastructure Association’s Innovation & Technology Council addresses this in a new report.  Planning for Mobile Broadband Connectivity at the Architectural Design Phase explains how to save time and money by including plans for cellular connectivity at the beginning stages of the design process. Building owners, tenants and the people supporting their communications IT requirements demand device connectivity throughout their buildings. Much of the cost of deploying in-building cellular coverage can be defrayed by including plans for cellular connectivity into the process early on in the design stage for new buildings or during planned renovations to an existing building.


The complete report can be found here.

--Tracy Ford, HetNet Forum Director at the Wireless Infrastructure Association

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