Managing Multiple Cellular Extension Systems

Multiple carriers require multiple cellular extension systems … or do they?

Indoor Antenna

A common challenge with cellular network coverage in commercial buildings is that the signals often will not penetrate through steel and concrete walls, creating cellular “dead zones” that frustrate tenants and building users. Cellular extension networks are used to eliminate dead zones by routing radio frequency (RF) signals through fibre or copper cabling from a single base station to multiple small antennas located throughout the building (see photo above).

Many telecommunication carriers now operate in the cellular telephone market (including Bell, Telus, Rogers, Wind Mobile, Virgin, Mobilicity, Shaw and others) – and Industry Canada will be granting additional licenses in the near future. All of these carriers are competing for subscribers – including building tenants, shoppers and transient visitors – by increasing their signal coverage to reach everyone. Cellular extension systems have emerged as powerful tools for these carriers to bolster their coverage and capacity.

What to Expect
A cellular extension system is a series of coaxial cables that connect repeaters and amplifiers to multiple ceiling-mounted antennas. Because each carrier is assigned a specific frequency band over which to provide service to their customers, each will block other carriers’ signals from being transmitted over their infrastructure through the use of RF filters.

Strategies to Manage Multiple Cellular Extension Systems
In fact, you can avoid having numerous different infrastructures competing for space in your building. The alternative is to mandate that the “first-in” carrier must build its system to allow future carriers to connect to a single-infrastructure “open system”. The first carrier will charge a fee to all other carriers for the use of their infrastructure, and you will lease additional equipment space to each subsequent carrier.

This is a win-win situation for all parties: you can offer improved the amenities to your clients while minimizing the impact to your building’s infrastructure; the cost to the carriers is lower, and your clients will have access to all carrier networks.

If you are approached by a carrier to install a cellular extension system, you will need to addressa number of other issues as well. Our experience has shown that the following strategies will save you time, worry and future headaches:

  • Ask for help. Retain a telecommunications engineering firm/consultant to assist you in managing this work. The carriers are prepared to pay the costs of pre-installation inspection, construction management and post-installation commissioning inspection, as well as your costs related to use of utilities and professional advice in negotiating the agreement.
  • Use your own agreement. Use your own form of telecommunications license agreement (TLA).
  • First-in network sharing. Specify that the carrier build the system such that any subsequent carrier(s) can use the same set of wires so you are not faced with multiple systems in your ceiling and closets.
  • Establish fees. Estabish rates that you will charge to carriers for use of the space that will be needed to house carrier equipment and to run antennas thorughout your property. Also establish fees for the space that future carriers will require to house their equipment, ideally in close proximity to the first installation, as they will need to connect to the first-in system.
  • Provide construction standards and oversight. It is important that carriers follow all of the established construction guidelines with respect to telecommunication cabling and equipment installation within your facility.
  • Inspect. Perform a pre-installation walkthrough with the carrier’s contractor so that you can view and comment upon the proposed installation route, equipment location, use of base-building power, cooling and other installation considerations. Manage the contractor periodically throughout the installation to ensure conformance to agreed to route, construction specifications and standards and space utilization.
  • Document. Upon completion of the work, ensure that you have up-to-date as-built drawings for the installed system.

For more information, please contact Attain’s Real Estate Services manager, Christine Doyle christine.doyle@theattaingroup.com


Service Spotlight: Computer Room/ Data Room Condition Report

The Attain Group recently helped a major Crown Corporation prepare a survey and condition report for its computer room/data centre. This unique and innovative service benefited the client’s IT group as well as the national and local facilities groups which support these vital, mission-critical rooms. Attain first worked with the corporation’s national facilities and IT groups to develop a national standard that specifies corporate standards for the computer room/ data centre in the following disciplines:

  • • Architectural (room sizes, preferred sitting location, ceiling, and raised floor heights etc.)
  • • Mechanical (hot/cold aisles, including temperature and humidity requirements)
  • • Electrical (lighting, power distribution units, UPS and generator, type and style of equipment plug, grounding and bonding)
  • • Telecommunication infrastructure (copper and fibre cabling, pathways, racks and cabinets, termination products, testing, and documentation).

Next, Attain developed a Computer Room Gap Analysis process, which included standardized audit forms for each of the disciplines as well as a reporting format. This provided the client with an easy-to-read and understand document that included (by discipline):

  • • A Report Card showing how the audit data compared to their national standards. The report card is colour coded using red, yellow, and green to give a quick visual indication of how well the room met the standards in each area.
  • • Items that did not meet the standard were given a priority for remediation based on the risk and liability from the perspectives of health, safety and business impact.
  • • A Class C budget (+25/-15%) required to bring the surveyed room up to standards.

The report provided our client with an un-biased review of the condition of its valuable data room asset. With a clear and concise report that highlights risk, assigns priority, and provides a budget, those responsible can make solid business and fiscal decisions. It also enables more accurate forecasting of major expenditures and helps to eliminate unseen costs during upgrades and renovations.


Did you Know?

Top 10 wireless predictions for 2011 as developed by Juniper Research:

  • • Surging mobile data traffic
  • • Augmented reality to enhance mobile games and retail
  • • Cloud-based operating systems are launched
  • • Mobile banking will become a "must-have" when opening a new account
  • • Mobile devices begin to replace credit cards
  • • Mobile handsets become even more sensitive
  • • Mobile lottery tickets sales to soar fuelled by deployments in US, Europe, and China
  • • Mobile-specific threats lead to demand for mobile-specific security
  • • Buyouts take social purchasing to a new level
  • • More vendors develop a "greenheart".

The top 11 consumer predictions for 2011 as compiled by Trendwatching.com, one of the world’s leading trend firms:

  • Random Acts of Kindness: As people disclose more about their private lives via social mediums such as Twitter and Facebook, brands will attempt to relate to consumer’s craving for realness and engage customer by randomly sending them surprise gifts.
  • Urbanomics: With increasing proportions of world’s population living in urban areas, brands will attempt to engage urban consumers who are believed to be more liberal, tolerant, and daring by targeting products at specific cites rather than countries.
  • Pricing Pandemonium: The rise of group buying sites such as Groupon and the continuing growth of instant communication means that new of new deals can spread quickly throughout social networks, giving rise to brands targeting consumers through flash sales and increasingly limited offers.
  • Made for China (if not BRIC): The continued economic growth of developing countries such as China and Brazil will lead to brands targeting products specifically towards consumers in these countries, altering the product to accommodate different physical features, traditions or lifestyle.
  • Online Status Symbols: The continued rise of importance of online status symbols will see brands offering consumers an increased variety of online symbols to display on social networking sites and the rise of status symbols that bridge the divide between the online and real worlds similar to the personalized Facebook memorabilia currently available.
  • Well-thy: Good health is now as important to consumers as having the newest status symbol. As a result, in 2011 consumers will spend more on health products and services and expect these goods not only to treat illnesses but to actually improve their quality of life.
  • Social-Lites and Twinsumers: Consumers in 2011 will rely more on person-to-person recommendations. This is mainly due to the rise of “twinsumers” – consumers who share similar likes and dislikes and are valuable sources of product recommendations – and “Social-Lites” – consumers who discover new products and broadcast these experiences to their social network.
  • Emerging Generosity: In 2011 consumers will expect wealthy individuals and brands from emerging countries – particularly China – to give, donate and sympathise rather than just sell and take. Brands engaging in this behaviour are more likely to have a positive consumer image.
  • Planned Spontaneity: With increasingly fragmented lifestyles, instant communication tools and a willingness to publicize personal locations, consumers in 2011, will be signing up to services that allow endless and effortless meetings with friends, families or strangers and even offer suggestions such as where to go, who to meet with, and what to do.
  • Eco Superior: As more and more consumers are buying or considering buying green products, 2011 will see companies switch from marketing the environmental benefits of their products to a niche group to taking on the traditional market. The eco-products of 2011 will be superior to their polluting alternatives and be marketed in a way that will appeal to eco-sceptics as well as environmentalists.
  • Owner-less: 2011 will be the year when leasing and sharing schemes cross over into the mainstream consciousness. Big brands such as car manufacturers will begin to compete with independent carpooling clubs like Zipcar, and local authorities will also get in on the action with a rise in the number of schemes similar to Autolib – the electric-car sharing scheme due to be launched in Paris in 2011.




What's New?

During November 18-20, 2010, The Attain Group taught the BOMI Technologies for Facilities Management course for BOMA Ottawa. 18 students attended the course at Place de Ville as part of the BOMI FMA designation.



The Attain Group Inc.
208-1680 Woodward Dr.
Ottawa, Ontario K2C 3R7

Phone: (613) 739-9424
Fax: (613) 739-9424
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7200, aut. Transcanadienne
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