Planning for Mobile Broadband Connectivity at the Architectural Design Phase


Abstract

Building owners, tenants and the people supporting their communications IT requirements demand device connectivity throughout their buildings. Much of the cost of deploying in-building cellular coverage can be defrayed by including plans for cellular connectivity into the process early on in the design stage for new buildings or during planned renovations to an existing building.

Introduction

Smartphones and tablets are changing the way society communicates with each other and accesses content. Forrester Research labels this as “the mobile mind shift – the expectation that a person can get what they want in their immediate context and moments of need.”2 Simply put, people turn to their mobile devices for answers to their questions. As today’s employees and tenants continue to embrace this constant connectivity, a strong wireless infrastructure foundation is needed to accommodate these mobile moments. Cellular connectivity is needed to address public-safety concerns as well. Today, 70 percent for continuity of 911 calls take place over the cellular network and 64 percent of calls made to 911 are indoors.

However, mobile broadband connectivity is not often thought about during initial architectural drawings, or early on in the process for designing new buildings. In fact, some other building designs, like low-emission glass and building material choices like aluminum, hinder RF transmission, necessitating the need for in-building connectivity to be brought into the venue. Further, established buildings also may suffer from poor in-building connectivity, resulting in them being less desirable when trying to rent to tenants or enabling employees’ productivity. Much of the cost of deploying in-building cellular coverage can be defrayed by including plans for cellular connectivity into the process early on in the design stage for new buildings or during planned renovations to an existing building. It is easier to run necessary fiber, antennas and other equipment when ceilings, floors and walls are exposed. In existing buildings, adding wireless infrastructure should be included during remodeling efforts or as stand-alone service. Designers who think ahead about the venue’s cellular and public-safety connectivity needs can plan ahead accordingly to make the process less costly.

This paper aims to examine these parameters:

  • In-Building Cellular Coverage Overview
  • Stakeholders
  • Wireless Carriers
  • Public-Safety Communications
  • Available In-Building Solutions
  • The Ecosystem—Who the players are
  • DAS Funding Models
  • Other Small Cell Funding Models
  • In-Building Design & Installation Considerations
Conclusion

While this paper addresses the overall market for mobile connectivity, each building is different and each buildout likely has its own nuances.

*Read the full Whitepaper on the Wireless Infrastructure Association’s website: https://wia.org/resource-library

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