Business Insights

Whether your employees are using their mobile phones for personal or business communications — or both — it’s essential to have reliable cell reception at your place of work.

Provider coverage maps may show strong signals in your area, but that’s no guarantee of reception. Cell signals can be poor due to the distance from cell towers; geographic or structural interference; electronic, magnetic or other devices that interfere with signals; and even weather. A heavy number of users can also cause congestion on carrier networks.

Spotty service and dropped calls are not only frustrating, but — if employees are using their phones to conduct business — problems like these can have a negative impact on communication with your customers, vendors and your bottom line.

There are a few ways you can help ensure that cell signals in your business location are consistent and strong.

Use Wi-Fi calling if available
Some smartphones and carriers provide a Wi-Fi calling feature. Employees can activate this feature on their phones and access the secure Wi-Fi network you may already have set up in your business. If your facility is fairly large, you may want to consider purchasing a second router and a set of powerline network adapters to extend your Wi-Fi signal. That’s because the farther the employee is from the router, the poorer / weaker the signal. Also, you’ll want to make sure your Wi-Fi provides enough bandwidth to support all the devices accessing it — including cell phones. This may not be a solution for all employees, as not everyone may use a phone or carrier that supports Wi-Fi calling.

Request a cellular repeater
If you have provided your employees with phones that are all using the same carrier, you can request a signal booster from that carrier, which may improve coverage and reception. These devices are often put in windows where a signal can be retrieved from the cell tower without interference from building materials, then transmitted into your business space.

Enhance your cellular signals
Many cellular coverage enhancement systems are available today that can help you overcome cellular signal problems in your building, regardless of its size. An in-building cellular enhancement system, such as SureCall’s signal boosters, typically support most cellular providers, including AT&T, Verizon, Sprint, and T-Mobile, in addition to smaller regional carriers if required.

These devices are usually installed along with what is called a distributed antenna system (DAS). DAS is a telecommunications system that receives the carrier’s signal (a licensed radio frequency) — on a base transceiver station or a bi-directional amplifier — then transports it into your building using a cable, which can be coaxial, optical fiber or twisted-pair.

Coverage antennas are placed throughout your building as necessary to provide the best overall service for your employees. Cellular signal enhancement solutions come in passive or active options. What you choose depends on the size of your facility.

Passive systems
These systems use coaxial cable, a coverage antenna and other components that do not require AC or DC power to function. Passive solutions cost less to install and work best in buildings that are less than 100,000 square feet. Passive systems require the radio frequency power to be balanced among multiple coverage antennas so there is a strong and consistent signal throughout the building. The downside to this option is that it is difficult and costly to expand over time, should you want to increase the square footage taken up by your business in the same building.

Active systems
These systems require AC or DC power and consist of changing the radio frequency into other types of signals, such as optical. Then, antenna-like devices are placed throughout the building to receive the signal and change it back into a radio frequency accepted by cellular phones. Active systems are more expensive than passive and are used in very large buildings and can even be used in campus-like settings of multiple buildings. This option, unlike a passive system, is easy to expand should the need arise. In fact, these systems can provide coverage in areas as large as 1.24 square miles.

There are many companies offering cellular enhancement systems. You can reach out to your Ideacom Network telecom provider for assistance helping you find the solution that can best improve the cellular signal(s) in your business.