How Will 5G Impact Your Building or Venue?

April 25, 2019
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In SOLiD, DAS, 5G, CBRS, Ken Sandfeld

| BY Tim Moynihan

“Is Your Property Ready for 5G?" is a webinar presented by Building Design + Construction. In the webinar, executives from SOLiD and Boingo discuss the opportunities presented by in-building 5G systems. Ken Sandfeld is President of SOLiD Americas. Doug Lodder is the SVP of Business Development for Boingo Wireless. 

The Challenge

5G’s arrival is well-timed. The demand for wireless capacity is exploding. Cisco estimates mobile data traffic will increase sevenfold by 2022. In 2002, global internet traffic was about 100 GB per second. By 2022, Cisco projects that figure will be 1,500 times higher. 

Many things will drive demand for increased indoor wireless capacity. Everything in your building, including IoT, is going to be connected to your wireless solution. This includes everything from building automation systems to smart door locks.

The 5G Response

You’ll want to develop a wireless system ready for the onslaught of growing demand. 5G delivers unprecedented capacity and speed. Its low latency will drive new wireless applications including IoT. 

As individuals encounter 5G elsewhere, expectations will increase at your venue. Tenants, employees and visitors will want seamless delivery regardless of their data needs. 

It's wise to develop the right wireless infrastructure to meet expectations. It's good to know that you may very well increase property values in the process. 

State-of-the-Art Experience

In the webinar, Fodder asserts, “We’re really excited about what’s happening in the ecosystem of connectivity.” Properties that use emerging technologies to deliver a state-of-the-art wireless experience will stand out. An advanced infrastructure can:

  • Drive operational efficiencies
  • Attract higher rents
  • Increase user satisfaction
  • Increase property values

Long-term success depends on scalability and ready access to open technology. 

5G Deployments By Property Segment

There’s a relentless focus on ROI in most commercial projects. There are many ways that 5G delivers excellent ROI. Sandfeld notes that SOLiD develops equipment with 5G in mind. He further asserts, “We’re able to expand our solutions to support 5G.”

Requirements for successful 5G deployments vary by property segment. There are differences in the need for wireless capacity in office venues, retail buildings and multi-family developments. 

Office venues

It is possible to reduce initial costs by purchasing an infrastructure that starts small. But, it needs to be scalable as the system proves itself. 

Focus on higher radio frequencies in office structures. This allows for smaller and flatter antennas which are easier to disguise. Lodder notes that the antennas are almost imperceptible at the Oculus, the transportation hub at the World Trade Center. Also, effective in-building wireless connectivity does not require bulky coaxial cables. Installers pull relatively small bundles of copper and fiber.

Retail buildings

When you calculate the cost of 5G upgrades, consider the cost of not upgrading as well. Fodder says “Be smart” to keep costs down. One way to reduce costs long-term is to make sure your wireless infrastructure is eminently scalable. 

Fortunately, in both retail and office settings, retrofits don’t always require that you start from scratch. At many venues, modern systems use lightweight cabling and equipment that facilitate the process 

Multi-family developments

Developments that offer superior wireless connectivity can command higher rents. Tenants value the convenience inherent in a state-of-the-art system. It may enhance occupancy rates as well. Owners benefit from common area security and conveniences enhanced by advanced systems. 

Important Role for CBRS

As of 2018, Citizens Broadband Radio Service (CBRS) became a viable in-building wireless option. When it comes to commercial venues, Sandfeld says, “CBRS is an amazing opportunity for building owners.” 

CBRS offers key advantages. First, it addresses the limitations posed by carrier licenses. With traditional licensing arrangements, whoever controlled the license controlled the spectrum. By contrast, CBRS-based LTE solutions support all four carriers: Verizon, T-Mobile, Sprint and ATT. They will support future operators as well. Second, it delivers attractive economics for mobile coverage/capacity. Third, the wide 150 MHz shared spectrum delivers 1.5-gigabit theoretical 5G speeds. CBRS will allow for “dedicated lanes” devoted to specialized needs. Fourth, a CBRS-based system gives venue owners access to valuable data analytics.

CBRS systems are already becoming a reality. For example, Fodder notes that Boingo has deployed an early version at Love Field in Dallas. 

Proper Planning

Sandfeld notes how important it is that cable installation occurs as the building goes up. Most commercial developments have protracted timelines. Stakeholders should include wireless connectivity in deliberations from Day One. For example, seek input from the engineers about the physics of radio frequency needs. 

With proper planning, you’ll end up with the wireless infrastructure you need to deliver services tenants value. 

About SOLiD 

SOLID has been providing in-building wireless solutions for 20 years. Today, the company is poised to contribute to the 5G era. In fact, some of the world’s very first 5G networks are deployed on SOLiD equipment in South Korea. 

SOLiD’s wireless solutions enhance wireless communications at many high-profile sites. Examples include international airports, major sports venues, leading hospitals, prestigious universities and Fortune 500 corporate campuses.

To access the webinar, “Is Your Property Ready for 5G?”, visit SOLiD.

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