Nextivity announced that Cel-FI QUATRA was deployed by VAST Signal Booster Solutions (VAST) to address cellular coverage issues in a new 650,000 sq. ft. distribution center (DC) in rural Arizona. Cel-Fi QUATRA was the solution selected because it specifically addresses the challenges of poor voice quality, dropped calls, and dead zones in large commercial buildings, at the lowest cost possible.
Employees working at a North-Carolina-based logistics provider’s newly opened DC were having issues making and receiving cellular calls from within the facility due to the signal being blocked from penetrating the building. As employees are spread out throughout the warehouse and front office space, a manager would have to walk over to the employee’s location in the warehouse or office since they were unable to make or receive cellular calls. This would consume as much as 20 minutes to deliver an important communication or get the answer to a question, instead of a 20-to-30 second phone call.
Based on its past experience working with VAST, the logistics provider asked the Winston-Salem, NC-based systems integrator to design a cost-effective solution for the cellular coverage they needed inside the facility.
“Coverage issues were caused by a number of factors, including the exterior construction of the building which was a reinforced 12-inch thick concrete slab. The building is also located on the edge of a suburban area bordering a rural area. So, they were starting off with a weaker signal outside,” explains Steve Klingensmith, President of VAST Signal Booster Solutions. “With fewer towers in that area and material obstructions, strong signals were prevented from coming into the building.”
After performing an extensive in-building walk test and assessing the logistic provider’s coverage challenges, VAST installed Cel-Fi QUATRA, a hybrid active Distributed Antenna System (DAS) that delivers uniform in-building cellular coverage for multiple carriers. QUATRA delivers a cellular signal that is up to 1000x stronger than solutions based only on older analog technology, offering a much larger coverage footprint. QUATRA uses CAT 5e or better cabling with Power over Ethernet, so there is no need to install additional power outlets for the internal remote antennas.
“With its active DAS hybrid technology and industry leading signal gain (up to 100dB max) per carrier, Cel-Fi QUATRA lets us install large buildings with complicated interior design elements, like this warehouse, with peace of mind,” says Klingensmith.
Maximizing coverage to deliver outstanding ROI
To keep costs down, the logistics company chose to boost only AT&T and Verizon signals in four distinct areas where coverage was most needed: the 8,000 sq. ft. front office where the executive staff is located; a receiving area on the north side of the building; a shipping area on the south side; and, another area used by shipping and receiving personnel.
VAST installed one Cel-Fi QUATRA Network Unit (NU) – the head end of the system – in one of the high priority areas. The NU digitally re-transmits the outdoor signal from the macro towers with zero signal loss via Cat 6 cables to four QUATRA Coverage Units (CUs) – which are the intelligent internal antennas that amplify and broadcast the signal to users inside the DC. The CUs were strategically located in the building within each of the high priority areas. Significant cellular signal improvements were seen, with bleed over coverage extending well beyond the immediate area where the CUs are installed.
The installation took two days and a team of three people to complete. Once everything was operational and commissioned, VAST did another in-building walk test. “We were thrilled with the coverage propagation that we were able to get from just those four locations,” says Klingensmith. “We covered about 400,000 square feet of the facility so they got extreme value for their money. It came in at a very low cost per square foot.”
“Cellular coverage challenges, even in large buildings with complicated architecture, are easy to resolve by experts like VAST when they are armed with Cel-Fi QUATRA, the most advanced technology available today for improving cellular coverage,” says Werner Sievers, CEO of Nextivity. “We will continue to innovate to solve coverage issues for 3G/4G/LTE and provide the solutions our valued partners and their customers need to ensure reliable in-building coverage.”