Jeff Gudewicz (P. 31) is Chief Product Officer at Wilson Electronics, an industry leader in cellular signal repeater technology dedicated to delivering wireless network coverage to everyone, everywhere. Prior to Wilson Electronics, he held business development, sales and engineering management roles at RFMD, Sirenza Microdevices, Vari-L and JFW Industries. He holds a bachelor’s degree from Southern Illinois University and an MBA from Regis University.
Many commercial real estate buildings – from offices and industrial spaces to restaurants, multi-family rentals and retailers – have sat vacant for over a year due to the pandemic. Now, as these buildings begin to repopulate, landlords and commercial property owners must ensure that their buildings are ready to accommodate the return, including guaranteeing reliable cell signal for all tenants. More important now than ever, strong cell signal is crucial for keeping tenants in any commercial property happy. However, several challenges exist in providing reliable service in commercial spaces.
Overloading the existing data infrastructure is a common issue—a result of the sheer volume of people using their devices at the same time in one combined space, which can affect the quality of cell service provided. For example, if during a big conference attendees experience a slowdown or are unable to send a work email with attachments, it is likely because there are too many people competing for the same amount of bandwidth. The same situation often happens in commercial buildings, where numerous people are simultaneously using their devices.
Poor cell signal can also be caused by a building’s construction materials. Concrete, wood, brick, stone, shingles, and drywall can have a similar effect, weakening and sometimes completely blocking signals. Even energy-efficient windows, which are coated in metal-oxide, can result in signals bouncing right off the surface.
Strong cell signal is no longer just a convenience – it is an absolute necessity. It allows for seamless collaboration between employees in the office and those who continue to work from home; it enables customers at restaurants and retailers to make payments on their phones and ensures tenants can stay in touch.
Cellular repeater technology is an affordable, quick way to immediately improve poor cellular signal. These repeaters find outside cell signal, amplify and distribute the improved signal within buildings. They work with all U.S. carriers, so will boost cell signals simultaneously for Verizon, AT&T, T-Mobile users and others. Cell signal repeaters can be installed and turned on in a matter of days as opposed to an active distributed antenna system (DAS), which requires hardwiring a building and may take several months to complete.
Here are a few simple steps property owners can take to ensure they are selecting the right cellular signal repeater to guarantee reliable, consistent cell signal for employees, clients, and customers.
Identify Areas with Weak Signal
The first step any property owner should take to improve poor cell signal is to schedule a site survey, which will help identify the areas of the building with the weakest and strongest signals. A signal scan can also help property owners gather crucial details including bandwidth, strength levels and signal frequency on different floors and areas of a building. After pinpointing exactly where the signal is struggling most, a unique solution can be designed that will fit the customer’s specific needs and optimize signal where it’s needed most.
There are many different options for cellular signal repeaters on the market, so make sure to select a product that fits your business needs. When selecting a repeater, the size of a building matters. A cellular signal repeater designed to work in a small office isn’t suitable for a large department store. Different repeaters are engineered to cover different areas, and there are unique repeaters to fit every building.
Be 5G Ready
5G is a massive jump forward in communications technology. It delivers 10 times the speed, supports 100 times the number of devices and handles 10,000 times more traffic than 4G LTE. Major U.S. carriers have already invested in creating the infrastructure necessary to provide 5G nationwide, so 5G will be key for the CRE industry to implement. As such, make sure to select a cellular signal repeater system that supports 5G frequencies, so they’ll continue to be useful as wireless communications technology continues to evolve.
Having cellular signal repeaters with dedicated 5G support will improve the tenant experience, allow property owners to utilize 5G to communicate with tenants and create a marketing advantage for property owners. Having strong 5G signal will also allow commercial properties’ systems to work together in one integrated system, which will allow property owners to collect data on their utility usage so they can implement the most efficient mechanical processes possible.
Features are Important
A cellular signal repeater that is easy to monitor and use is important when deciding what solution is best for a commercial property. For example, many repeaters include a color LCD touch screen that allows property owners to easily monitor the status of their amplification systems. These displays show the gain and power levels of each band, so property owners can set up, control, and troubleshoot each antenna. Taking the time to do some research upfront will ensure that property owners can feel confident knowing the solution that they put into place will work for their budgets and business needs.
A cellular signal repeater is a great option for improving poor cell signal in commercial properties. Taking the time to do some research into the options available and what works best for each specific properties’ needs will provide strong signal throughout the building and most importantly, will help guarantee connected and content tenants.