Choosing the Right Wireless Partner: Who Are You Inviting to the Dance?

Third in a 3-part series

Missteps are always possible in a dynamic, ever-changing wireless environment. Consequently, decision-makers need to get all the facts. It is vital to understand all the options. For both savings and efficiency, you want to choose the right wireless partner.

There are ways to avoid costly missteps when deploying your in-building wireless solutions. Enterprises know the sting of being stuck with legacy tech that is inefficient and costly to maintain. Premature obsolescence is expensive. Whenever possible, select a provider offering modular solutions that scale as you grow. Modularity allows for incremental expansion of your wireless infrastructure, whatever the future brings.

Selecting the Right Vendor: Do's and Don'ts

The ideal wireless partner meets your needs without bias or limitation. Multi-carrier wireless solutions reduce redundant network layers. You can identify a single vendor capable of delivering a complete turnkey solution that addresses all of your in-building wireless issues. Or, you might use multiple specialists to address your needs.

Wireless carriers install and maintain mobile networks. However, they only make in-building investments in the largest and most heavily trafficked venues. It is not cost-effective for them to do otherwise. Neutral-host, third-party owners fill the void, delivering turnkey, in-building wireless connectivity where carriers do not. Neutral-host distributed antenna systems (DAS) are a common choice in large office buildings. Third-party owners typically use a monthly recurring revenue model with or without an upfront capital expenditure.

DAS integrators also provide everything needed for a turnkey system. These services include RF benchmarking, site survey, design, installation, testing, and commissioning. Once the system is up and running, the DAS integrator offers monitoring and maintenance. You own the system.

As you compare providers, consider costs, funding models, and your level of control. Certain advantages accrue when building owners assume responsibility for in-building wireless. Or, they may prefer to offload these tasks to third-party providers.

Addressing In-building Wireless Needs: A Systematic Approach

Wireless technology is always changing, and demand is increasing. In a competitive business climate, complacency is not an option. At the same time, the bewildering array of choices may leave you feeling overwhelmed.

Take a step-by-step approach to simplify the task at hand. As the saying goes, every journey begins with a single step:

  • Needs assessment
  • Gauge future demand
  • Compare options vis-a-vis cost and efficiency
  • Select vendor(s)
  • Regularly evaluate and watch for new developments

Needs assessment

A comprehensive needs assessment is the first step. Make informed decisions about the mix of wireless technologies to embrace. There are various technologies available to solve in-building connectivity issues.

Ask yourself these questions:

  • What is your existing fiber/cable infrastructure?
  • Do you need building-wide coverage to meet cellular and public safety requirements?
  • Where is the additional capacity required to meet demand? (i.e., conference centers, meeting rooms)
  • What are your aesthetic requirements?
  • Which mobile carriers' services are needed?
  • What frequency bands do you require?
  • What support do you need for future IoT requirements?

It is essential that you consider both current and future needs every step of the way. 

Site survey & system design

The site survey includes a review of floor plans and a site walk to assess wall materials, available antenna locations, and cable pathways. It also features testing the current RF signal levels and quality. RF interference, low-E glass, steel beams, and concrete are typical challenges. These assessments enable you to make informed economic decisions about the nature and scope of the solution, and the DAS design engineers to economically meet your objectives while satisfying the requirements of the mobile network operators.

System installation

Identify the most efficient, cost-effective option for your in-building upgrade. Proceed with installation.

  • Confirm the new system design complies with the requirements of mobile operators
  • Draft agreements with mobile operators regarding the re-transmission of in-building RF signals
  • Use the site survey and system design plans to install fiber/cable, DAS head-end, and remotes
  • Commission the system, integrate the service providers' signal sources and verify operations and monitoring capabilities

Follow these steps, and you'll get the wireless solution you need now. You'll also get one that is scalable in the future.

System monitoring and maintenance

System integrators and third-party owners provide monitoring and maintenance services. Changes to the outdoor network may affect performance in the indoor network. Proactive monitoring and maintenance protect your in-building connectivity investment, and many potential problems may be diagnosed and resolved with remote access to reduce costs and disruption caused by technicians coming to your venue. A service agreement frees you to attend to your essential responsibilities.

Summary

Reliable, 24/7 in-building wireless is a "must-have" for most enterprises. HD streaming, increased use of mobile devices, public safety requirements, and the IoT are just some of the forces driving demand. Seamless coverage at expected speeds drives worker productivity and enhances visitor satisfaction. The task seems daunting at first, but with the right partner, project success becomes the reward. All stakeholders benefit when there's a state-of-the-art wireless solution in place.

SOLiD: Your Trusted Advisor

Count on SOLiD to be the voice of clarity in today's rapidly evolving wireless environment. Our team will demonstrate how to develop a simple, affordable in-building wireless solution customized for your unique situation. Join the many hospitals, property managers, universities, and Fortune 500 companies who already trust us.

To learn more about solving your connectivity concerns, connect with us today.

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