In-building Mobile Coverage for Large Residential Spaces Explained

In-building mobile coverage for large residential spaces.  So, what is it? Why is it important? What are the implications if it isn’t designed and installed appropriately?

If you’ve ever lived in a city, you’ve probably fallen victim to substandard or non-existent network coverage at one time or another. Frustratingly, looking at a ‘message not sent’ notification or losing that all important call at a crucial moment.

For the landlords and property agents amongst you, poor residential mobile coverage is probably not unfamiliar. In fact, limited mobile coverage is common in large residential spaces, particularly modern buildings which are invariably constructed using concrete, steel and glass. The construction of buildings using these materials are notorious in blocking mobile phone signals, making it difficult for mobile signals to penetrate through into the building.

BUT IT DOESN’T HAVE TO BE THIS WAY.

Enter In-building Mobile Coverage.

Organisations, such as ours, NET Coverage Solutions Ltd, work with the property sector to create robust solutions to improve the mobile coverage in residential buildings.

Just as no two buildings are the same, no two solutions are the same, and careful consideration needs to be applied throughout the design and installation phase ensuring the most appropriate technologies are deployed to improve mobile phone signal.

This can include:

Residential Mobile Signal Boosters

Also known as repeaters, signal boosters amplify the available signal. A booster takes the weak mobile signal and amplifies it up to 32 times, rebroadcasting the new stronger signal across the residential building.

Small Cell/Femto Installations in Homes

Small cells are essentially low powered wireless access points, providing cellular and Wi-Fi services. Small cells provide discrete coverage and can be deployed alone or as a network of cells.

DAS for Large Residential Spaces

DAS stands for Distributed Antenna System and is a point-to-multipoint solution, meaning multiple mobile phone networks are supported. DAS creates a single large cell, improving mobile coverage throughout the residential building, from one solution, regardless of the end user’s network.

Due to the size and complexity of large residential spaces, we often recommend a blend of different technologies to create a bespoke infrastructure for a specific space.

Whatever the solution, there’s no question that property owners have to get this right. In a recent questionnaire, nearly half of respondents said they ‘would reconsider renting or buying a property if they knew the mobile coverage would be poor’*

For a property owner, half of your prospective residents dropping off mobile signal could have a huge financial implication.

Can you afford to potentially lose residents due to poor residential mobile coverage in your property?  

Why not talk to us about what our solutions could look like for you, and we can prepare a Desktop Analysis to show you what the costs could potentially be for a solution to solve your problems.  For more information email us at  enquiries@netcs.co.uk or call 01276 854292.

Connectivity in the food service industry

Creating mobile signal in the food service industry
Creating mobile signal in the food service industry

NET CS have  delivered a solution to a top restaurant chain that first opened in London in 2010.  This particular restaurant gained a Michelin star less than a year after opening, which it has retained ever since.

The restaurant has been included with some of the best in the world and it offers guests a world-class culinary experience. In their central London location they suffered from poor mobile service as they rely wholly on the signal that is provided from external radio sites. As with many of these types of locations these signals struggle to penetrate into the restaurant and this problem is made worse by the fact that half of the restaurant is located underground. The restaurant owners were concerned that its customers and VIP’s would not be happy without the ability to use their phones during their visits.

A public survey has suggested that over a fifth of people say that they have been “forced to leave the table” because they thought getting a signal more important than staying with the person they were dining with. 

Challenges and Considerations

Budget and aesthetics, were key to the client.  The proposed solution had to be appropriate in terms of costs to make it affordable for them.  They also were adamant that the infrastructure was installed out of view, and if it had to be visible that the impact was minimal, which presented some challenges.

Working times also had to fit in with the needs of the client, which meant this could only happen overnight, from 2am to 10am.

The Solution – Small cells

Small Cells were the chosen solution here, due to the capacity requirements and budget constraints of the client/project. The key for this solution to them was to have multi operator coverage throughout their restaurant, so NET CS proposed a multi operator small cell solution.

High Level Description

Multi Operator Small cells are low-powered cellular radio access nodes that operate in licensed and unlicensed spectrums and have a range of 10 meters to a few kilometres. These were selected, delivered, and managed by NET CS with direct connections back to the MNO cores.

Key Installation Details

  • 4 x Small Cells for each MNO proposed to provide coverage and capacity to the customer’s premises.
  • The units are installed out of sight above the ceiling grid as much as feasibly possible.
  • Any visible Small Cells are colour matched to the required surroundings.
  • All cables where visible are also colour matched to the surrounding.

The Results

NET CS were excited to have worked with this Restaurant Chain, ensuring that their patrons were able to experience the level of service they expected.

Whilst the purist will say that it’s all about the food they serve, and at this venue this was never in question. Modern diners are after the whole experience and a key part of this is being able to make calls or access social media during their food experience. So, through our solution we have enabled this to happen, ensuring many posts of the chefs great dishes will make peoples mouth water as they scroll through their social media feeds….

Mobile Network Operator Deployments

In-Building DAS for an Online Grocery Giant’s Warehouse

NET CS are trusted by Mobile Network Operator’s to extend their networks and deliver connectivity to their largest and most important clients.  As their go to experts in In-Building DAS solutions, NET CS were engaged to assist with a large corporate international online grocer and technology company.

The client required a great service throughout their new facility, constructed with building materials that blocked cellular signals from reaching the warehouse space and offices.

Challenges and Considerations

This online grocer had just built a brand-new state of the art distribution centre located in England. A 36 acre site in which they quickly realised that they needed to address the poor cellular coverage to allow their staff to work safely and efficiently.

Like many other distribution centres, this building was constructed primarily with steel beams and metal cladding on the outside. Combined with a metal roof, a minimal number of windows located in the few existing offices and so getting a cellular signal inside was next to impossible.

The Solution - In-Building Mobile Coverage

This online grocer contacted its mobile provider and asked them for assistance. The operator contacted their partner NET CS to evaluate the situation.

NET was asked by the Mobile Network Operator to provide a design for an RF system to adequately cover the facility.

Knowing the challenges of these types of building and having delivered numerous solutions into similar environments, NET CS was able to quickly recommend an appropriate solution. We completed a survey and detailed design for a DAS solution to cover the requested areas.

DAS for the Warehouse Environment

DAS stands for Distributed Antenna System and is a point-to-multipoint solution, enabling high numbers of subscribers to be connected to services at the same time. A DAS creates a number of dedicated cells, that deliver service to a building, via a single shared infrastructure, capable of supporting cellular, Wi-Fi and mission critical services.

A DAS is the great choice here, as it is a robust and cost-effective solution, that can deliver dedicated MNO services to its coverage cell.

The system was designed with Nokia and Ericsson equipment that provided 3G and 4G signals through a DAS with strategically located antennas.

The solution was a hybrid/active passive coaxial antenna system consisting of 45 omni directional antennas and 1 directional panel antenna, which provided coverage and capacity to 95% of the target area of the client’s demise. The system has been designed in accordance with strict mobile network operator control documents.

The Results

This online retail giant now enjoys ubiquitous 3G and 4G connectivity throughout their facility provided through the solution NET CS designed and deployed. Cellular connectivity in a warehouse environment, allows staff to connect with their co-workers or agents in real time. More robust connectivity increases productivity and improves security and safety of the staff.

Building Better Mobile Coverage

The problem - mobile signal for construction sites

Research shows that 80% growing to 90% of all voice and data traffic is generated in-doors and that one third of mobile users suffer poor or no indoor reception at home or at their work site. The problem is commonly down to modern construction materials and they in fact exhibit different levels of signal attenuation at altering  frequencies.

NET CS are extraordinarily aware of this problem and are building bespoke solutions deployed as temporary installations to assist during construction; to complete managed solutions providing best in class connectivity post completion.

Having covered some of the largest and most iconic locations in the London area, we are proud to have been able to offer solutions to solve connectivity issues at all stages of a development’s lifespan. 

The solution

Our solutions improve the productivity and the wellbeing of the people connected to them.

NET CS offers bespoke solutions, enabling high numbers of people to be connected to services at the same time.

Through strategically located antennas or small cells we create networks that deliver connectivity into buildings via a single shared infrastructure capable of supporting cellular, Wi-Fi and mission critical services, and NET CS are fully endorsed by the UK Mobile Operators offering compliant, proven, and robust solutions for landlords and developers alike.

After years as a trusted partner to the UK Mobile Operators, we now offer our expertise direct to the market.

We offer a full suite of services; from initial consultation, through to O&M and the first step is to engage us to undertake one of our free Desktop Analysis’s (DTA). With just a few questions asked, this process will provide you with a defined solution, based on your needs and budgetary costs. This will enable you to make the right call when it comes to your connectivity needs.

Wherever there is a need for connectivity, where people suffer a poor mobile service, wherever people want to enrich the way they work through the benefits of being connected, we can help.

If you are currently struggling with mobile connectivity, talk to us at email enquiries@netcs.co.uk or call 01276 854440.

Creating Connectivity you can Believe In

Mobile Signal through Churches
Mobile Signal through Churches

NET’s History with the Church of England

NET CS has a long-standing working relationship with the Church of England (CofE). This began in 2004, when QS4 secured the National Aerials Agreement with the Archbishops’ Council, and directly with the CofE since 2008 when NET acquired QS4 with the Archbishops’ Council approval. Since then, NET CS have completed several hundred cellular installations across all geographical areas of the CofE, generating tens of millions of pounds in revenue for the CoE.

The New Telecoms Code

Following the introduction of the new Telecoms Code in December 2017, NET CS have agreed Code compliant terms with the CofE and the Church in Wales (CinW), covering every type of cellular deployment and coverage solution. This includes everything from Microcells & Small Cells to Macro Sites and groundbreaking fully hosted technical solutions such as OpenRAN.

The Joint Accord

In 2018, the Church of England entered into a Joint Accord with Her Majesty’s Government to promote the use of church buildings and land, in order to support the increasing need for internet and mobile signals throughout England and Wales. As a result, NET’s partnership with the CofE was reinforced with a unique approved supplier contract with CHECS (the commercial arm of the Churches and Cathedrals Council).

As part of this contract, NET is working in partnership with the CofE and CinW to offer the portfolio of over 18,500 church buildings. These buildings are accessible through a bespoke off-the-shelf process and pre-approved set of Licences, offering substantial pre-Code savings, with no superior landlord Code related frustrations and delays or Land Tribunal timescales and costs.

The Benefits of Hosting Radio Equipment

From an individual church’s perspective, the benefits of hosting mobile phone radio equipment are manifold. The one-off sum and long-term recurring income paid by NET to each church, enables individual parishes to plan and fulfil their parish missions.

Perhaps more importantly, hosting this equipment will allow each church to play an integral role in providing their local community with vital communications services.

The Process

NET promotes the church portfolio locations to the Mobile Network Operators (MNO’s), once a church is nominated, NET will contact the church council to establish/confirm their interest and to initiate the process. The process includes everything from the initial survey, design, and securing of all necessary secular and ecclesiastical approvals, to legal completion and installation of the radio equipment.

The Church Team

NET CS have a highly experienced team dedicated to working on church sites. Our church Acquisition team has unrivalled knowledge of the Faculty Jurisdiction process, including the consultations required with secular and amenity bodies. We have a thorough understanding of all the prerequisite approvals, including pre-consultation and local planning approvals, through to Diocesan Chancellors’ approval (Faculty).

With regard to design and implementation, the NET CS Structural Engineers and dedicated CofE Build Managers have extensive experience in designing and installing apparatus within historic church buildings. NET’s installations are sensitive and concealed, and carefully designed to mitigate any impact on the fabric of the historic church buildings.

NET CS Working with Church of England and Church in Wales

NET CS is thrilled to announce an additional version of the release of our short promotional film designed to promote to all 20,000 parishes throughout the Church of England and Church in Wales

This video references the advantages of the Code compliant agreement agreed with Vodafone and Telefonica O2 late last year.

The devastating impact of Covid-19 has reinforced why a high quality communication network is so important.  This is why each church hosting mobile phone radio equipment will be providing a critical service to their local community, and the long-term income they will be paid will help each church to fulfil its wider local community mission, improving the sustainability of both the community and of its parish church.

For more information on our work with Church of England and Church in Wales please contact us.