IN YOUR BUILDING WITH 5G CONNECTIVITY
It’s not surprising that 80% of property teams plan to spend at least half their time this year improving the tenant experience. Attracting and retaining quality tenants is at the heart of success in the $3.5 trillion CRE industry. An excellent tenant experience means greater tenant loyalty, higher occupancy, longer leases, premium prices, and increased profitability.
In iGR’s 2019 Building Manager Survey, more than 60% of the managers surveyed said that current tenants complain about the quality of mobile LTE voice/data service. More than 80% said that prospective tenants ask about the quality of mobile LTE voice/ data service.
The gap between the communication experience that tenants want and their current reality is your opportunity to improve the tenant experience, and ultimately, profitability.
A GREAT TENANT EXPERIENCE STARTS WITH THE BASICS
The tenant experience is the sum total of how tenants and employees feel about the workspace. While there are many elements that contribute to the overall experience, not every amenity has the same weight. It is helpful to think in terms of must-haves, nice-to-haves, and cool perks. Getting the priorities right can make all the difference in tenant satisfaction and profitability.
Must-haves are the basics, and they form the foundation of a positive experience. Think things like temperature, air quality, safety, building appearance, and communication.
• Nice-to-haves might include a gym, bike storage, a cafe or coffee shop, retail, and maybe conference rooms. But these have little impact if the must-haves are lacking.
• Cool perks are luxuries. Electric car charging, nap pods, car wash, or dry cleaning service are examples. Again, these are great if the must-haves are in place.
Tenants rate public Wi-Fi as the top amenity contributing to positive workplace experience. It is rated higher than a gym, café, coffee shop, or meeting and event space. Communication and connection are so important that 74% of Millennials surveyed said they couldn’t go more than one day without access to their smartphones.
To retain top talent, companies strive to provide a work environment that inspires employees to their best performance. To that end, today’s workplace is different from office plans of the past. Open workspaces, a team environment, remote work, and bring-your-own-device (BYOD) are common and growing. New bandwidth- consuming technologies like 5G and the Internet of Things (IoT) are quickly emerging. The success of all of these trends rests on a foundation of reliable, flexible communication infrastructure.
FACTORS THAT IMPACT IN-BUILDING CELLULAR SERVICE
Long seen as a nice-to-have, providing in-building cellular coverage is now as important as providing basic utilities. There are few factors that impact in-building cellular service in buildings such as:
• Building architecture – building and window materials, other buildings, distance from the cell tower, and carrier frequency can impact service.
• Costs of adding standalone cellular systems – multiple radios are needed for each major network operator, adding expense, consuming large amounts of IT closet space, and requiring multiple layers of cables and antennas. Moves and changes are complicated, expensive, and disruptive.
• The need to have mobile carriers provide signal sources.
• Rapidly changing technology and fears of obsolescence.
• New technology that promises everything without a clear path forward.
• An overwhelming set of manufacturers, installers and service providers.
SEEKING THE IDEAL IN-BUILDING WIRELESS SOLUTIONS
Astute stakeholders seek timely, simple, and affordable in-building wireless solutions in office buildings, hospitals, universities, and corporate headquarters. Those in charge seek wireless solutions delivering excellent ROI and simple scalability.
Every surfer wants to ride the best wave. Jumping on the board too early or too late doesn’t work. The same is true with in-building wireless connectivity. When it comes to delivering exceptional service, you want to select the right wave. Time your move based on solid due diligence. The best wireless solutions offer both savings and efficiency. Building owners and managers that meet user expectations seize a competitive edge.
IN-BUILDING COMMUNICATIONS STRATEGIES
Wired, Wi-Fi, and cellular systems are three options for providing service within a building, and each has strengths and weaknesses.
• Wired service is reliable and less subject to interference than other options. It is expensive due to the time and labor needed to run the wire. It is also inflexible. If the building or office layout changes, the cables also have to be moved, and costs can be high.
• Wi-Fi is easy to deploy, but it can get bogged down, and there can be areas of poor reception. In addition, as the number of people in the building or office increases, the coverage per person is less, and voice quality can decrease.
• Cellular service is ubiquitous in outdoor areas, but walk into a modern or legacy commercial building, and the signal can drop as you move. Building design and materials such as concrete, steel, aluminum, furniture, equipment, and other objects can block cellular signals.
PICKING THE RIGHT OPTIONS
Your venue’s perfect mid-point lies somewhere between future-ready and overkill. To address wireless demand, building owners/managers have many options.
DISTRIBUTED ANTENNA SYSTEMS (DAS)
A distributed antenna system (DAS) features antennas and amplifiers strategically positioned throughout a structure to provide continuous edge connectivity. DAS provides multi-carrier service, reliable signals, and robust capacity scaled to your needs. Your long-term cost of ownership benefits from the excellent scalability and upgradeability of DAS.
DAS is often an ideal solution when there is a high volume of users in large buildings exceeding 100,000 sqft in size. A scaleable direct connection to cellular networks prevents overloading. DAS delivers seamless, reliable in-building connectivity without undue expense or excess complexity.
IDEAL DAS SOLUTIONS ARE:
• Fiber-based — Fiber does not become obsolete, and it offers virtually unlimited bandwidth to support applications today as well as tomorrow.
• Full-spectrum — You want to minimize hardware costs. Therefore, employ a DAS solution that supports the full range of cellular and public safety frequencies.
• Ready for tomorrow — You’ll want a system that allows you to add new frequencies in the future. Modular systems invariably improve ROI.
Cellular signal boosters are network extenders that provide coverage but do not add capacity. A booster captures an outside signal, amplifies it, and transmits it. Signal boosters work across all radio frequencies used by the major cellular providers.
Small cells are nodes strategically positioned throughout a structure. They deliver a reliable cellular signal in places where the signal was weak or non-existent. They do not support multiple carriers operating at various frequencies. In the workplace, BYOD devices present a problem. To accommodate mobile devices using various networks, you will need multiple layers of small cell equipment, increasing capital, and installation costs.
Small cells resolve capacity and coverage issues in smaller office buildings. They create hotspots where coverage is otherwise lacking or insufficient. The limitation is that they are carrier- specific.
Now, Wi-Fi 6 enters the picture. The Wireless Alliance designates qualifying equipment as Wi-Fi Certified 6. The next-gen standard delivers higher data rates, increased capacity, and improved power efficiency. It performs well in settings where many devices are simultaneously connected.
Users remain connected to the Wi-Fi network as they move about within the building’s wireless local area network (WLAN) coverage area. However, coverage ends as the user exits the building. By contrast, a cellular network delivers direct internet access as the mobile user transitions from indoors to outdoors or vice versa.
Wi-Fi and cellular coverage are not an either-or proposition. They complement each other. The business and consumer demand for bandwidth is great and increasing by the day with no end in sight. The amount of bandwidth provided by cellular networks greatly exceeds the bandwidth available for use by Wi-Fi. In the years ahead, a large amount of additional spectrum will be specified for use by both Wi-Fi and cellular networks.
PLANNING FOR INDOOR WIRELESS: TODAY & TOMORROW
There is little doubt that future demand for indoor wireless will grow, but at what pace? What surprises lie just around the corner? Whenever possible, avoid the plague of repeated retrofitting. For many, the best wireless solutions are those that are eminently scalable.
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.
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. Connect with us today.