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Spotlight on In-Building Mobile: decisions and driving forces

As technology becomes ever more sophisticated, the boundaries of what is possible is extending and people are driving new ways of conducting business, with the level of data exchanged rising daily.

According to IBM, in 2020, every person generated 1.7 megabytes per second. Google gets more than 40,000 search queries per second (source: Internet Live Stats) whilst WhatsApp users exchange up to 65 billion messages daily (source: Connectiva Systems).

With the use of Apps, location-based tech, wearables and augmented/VR tech on the rise, we need to be able to connect anywhere, on demand. As a society, we are now simply not content to wait. Anyplace agile working is here to stay and the growth of 4G and 5G, there are now more devices, apps and communication options than ever before.

With the UK’s Mobile Network Operators undergoing a programme that is planning to decommission and switch off 3G in 2022, there will be an impact on any landlords or commercial enterprises that have an existing 3G mobile coverage in their buildings. Although it will have little impact on the public, a lack of mobile coverage within the workplace is simply not acceptable.

So, since we cannot rely on external mobile signals penetrating effectively into our buildings (and 5G services will penetrate steel and glass structures even less) we are looking for new options to boost mobile signals indoors.

Emerging solutions.

To date, there have been 3 typical options:

  1. DAS. This uses digital repeater technology to catch signals near an external base station and feed them into the building through a Distributed Antenna System. This is usually used for buildings holding 3,000 users or more. This has worked well though can take up significant rack space in the Comms Rooms as you need space for the equipment each mobile supplier.
  2. Single cell. This uses the Structured Cabling System with a base station or cell installed per mobile provider per floor connected to outside Managed Services providers, to which mobile handhelds can then pick up signal from to inside. This is suitable for medium sized businesses of between 500-3,000 users.
  3. Small cell. Small cell solutions are suitable for workplaces of 400 users upwards and require a strong Structured Cabling System connected to signal coverage units throughout the building. These solutions offer flexibility of mobile supplier, as a desired change will simply require the antennas to be changed.

Mobile signal regeneration

In addition to the 3 solutions above, technology can now also be used to triangulate the mobile signal to regenerate different networks throughout the building, providing comprehensive coverage from a variety of mobile suppliers. The benefit of this is that is it on a different signal to Wi-Fi – so it doesn’t interfere with other services. This allows flexibility of use of personal devices in the workplace as well as work devices. It will support 3G/4G/5G and allow the implementation of Unified Communications to effectively integrate voice, data and video comms.

In building-mobile decision making

With square footage a valuable commodity, you don’t want to waste expensive building space by implementing unnecessary mobile technology. And you may not even need to waste resources changing your mobile supplier to get the best service.

From the Landlords who want to deliver in-building mobile as an enhanced service, to the Occupiers who want to make sure that in-building mobile is in place and in optimum use, Cordless can support strategic technical decision and project management implementation of in-building mobile and Unified Communications solutions.

Addressing the necessary questions at the right phases of construction and refurbishment programmes will allow delivery of the level of mobile connectivity required. There is much that can be done very early on in a project to plan for mobile connectivity needs and future flexibility further down the line.

The mobile connectivity pyramid: where do you sit?

in building mobile

The level of connectivity needed for your workforce will correlate directly to the required resilience and solution stability, combined with the desired user experience.

What can Cordless help with?

Cordless can provide completely vendor agnostic in-building mobile advice and guidance, such as:

  • Mobile and Unified Communications strategy across building portfolios
  • Review and report on existing workplace communications including suitability for ongoing requirements and compatibility with 4G/5G.
  • In-building mobile cost-benefit analysis
  • Integration with Smart Buildings
  • Budgeting and vendor specifications
  • Market appraisal of available in-building mobile solutions: financial and technical viability
  • Building heat-map of where to base antennas and infrastructure dependencies
  • Advice on in-building mobile support and service contracts

We can help Landlords that want to provide in-building mobile as a service – which can then be extended into an occupied space as needed.

We can help Occupiers decide on the choice of taking the available in-building mobile service from the Landlord, and any additional technology that is needed to put in place.

Finally, always consider this issue as early as possible to avoid projects being impacted by micro and macro-economic issues; from the availability of a great team to deliver your project, through to price rises due to the state of the current UK supply chain!

Yes, technology and trends might move on quickly, but there are always options; and we can always help you be prepared.

Like to talk further about in-building mobile? We’d love to. Say hello@cordless.co.uk