Designing Wireless Networks – Why You Can Only Look So Far Ahead

There are many elements of a building design that are predictive including architectural, mechanical and electrical. When designing for a power outlet in an office space, or hot water pipe in a residential tower, you can be pretty certain that electrical and plumbing will arrive at that spot. So why is it so different with radio frequency (RF) technology?

Almost every day, I get a phone call where someone, looking at a blue print, or at rapidly drying concrete, asks me where they should install an antenna for cellular or public safety coverage in a building or parking garage. The short answer, is always, “I don’t know.” This is never the answer they’d like, but it’s always the truth.

There is a great deal of planning that goes into engineering a distributed antenna system (DAS). We at Cartel have decades of knowledge, experienced engineers, and simulation software we use when we are planning a system. Those elements can get us about 80% of the way towards telling you where you will need to boost your signal. However, there are also a lot of factors that cause attenuation (the reduction of power) including concrete, glass, and metal. Each can change how wireless signals propagate (travel from one place to another).

Over the phone, I can guess what you will need inside something like an open lobby or parking garage. However, until the building is at lock-up (outer doors and windows installed), there is really no way to fine tune your wireless coverage, and make sure you have coverage where and when you need it.

Check out our offerings for Coverage and Wireless Operations to find out more about wireless coverage.

Or, feel free to call us at Cartel at 604.888.9711 for additional information.

David Love
Regional Sales Manager, Western Canada


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