For In-Building Cellular Small Cells Have You Covered

Next Generation Communications Blog

For In-Building Cellular Small Cells Have You Covered

By: Mae Kowalke, TMCnet Contributor

Large office buildings sometimes encounter a troubling problem in the form of poor cellular reception for employees. With atriums, business space in basements, internal walls and glass windows, more than one “modern architectural masterpiece” has discovered that workers lose cell coverage when they enter the building.

Of course, there are steps that can fix such problems even after a building is constructed. One of the best options is small cells technology for good in-building cellular coverage.

Small cells enable mobile operators to easily and cheaply add coverage where needed. A single enterprise-grade small cell (100 mW) can cover about 1000 square meters depending on the particular topology of the space, and several can be combined for complete coverage.

In building environments, though, it can sometimes take great expertise to identify exactly where and how many small cells to place for effective coverage. And obviously unnecessary small cells add unwanted capital expense.

When determining small cells setup, three keys should be taken into account.

First, collaborate with the IT department. When operators work with a corporation’s IT department, they can save time and hassle by leveraging the firm’s on-site knowledge, including location, existing power and backhaul facilities.

Second, Determine coverage requirements. Start with an on-site survey to glean a full understanding of the critical areas that require small cells coverage. These can include such places as executive offices, the company restaurant, and spots where workers often congregate. It helps then to estimate the number of users expected to use cellular in each area, and plan for growth.

Third, calculate placement requirements. Operators should optimally balance two aspects of small cell overlap. A good propagation estimate helps avoid overlapping cells, which can cause interference.

When these keys are taken into account, though, small cells technology makes a world of difference for buildings that challenge existing cellular access.

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