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Feature


vigating coverage


“Won’t Wi-Fi do the job?”


Potentially. If a building’s design is problematic for external mobile signal, many assume that Wi-Fi is an adequate replacement. It has the advantage of being a familiar and accessible technology no matter your level of expertise. However, for many facilities, Wi-Fi is just papering over the cracks. In terms of connection quality and speed,


there are many elements to consider; how many devices will be connected per router? How far away will they be? The material issues that affect mobile coverage also affect Wi-Fi connections; if you’re two floors up from a modem being shared with twenty co-workers, your signal strength may well be worse than the external mobile connection it was intended to replace. Moreover, the day-to-day unreliability of


Wi-Fi is well-documented. The irritation of having to replace hardware like the router without really knowing why the signal is continually dropping out is frustrating at the best of times, and such outages could be catastrophic in a business setting. There is also the security factor to


consider; Wi-Fi access rarely includes security features beyond a password, and there are innumerable horror stories available that indicate how easy it is to breach a public Wi-Fi network.


“Well then what’s the alternative – and who pays?”


If Wi-Fi isn’t going to get the job done properly, there is a more powerful solution available in establishing an internal mobile network. Hardware is available, suitable even for large commercial premises like high-rise office blocks, stadia or shopping centres, that provides a consistent and powerful mobile signal from the inside of the building, avoiding the limitations of building design and Wi-Fi inconsistency. Where once the hardware was supplied


by mobile network providers themselves, their business case has changed. Unless a building has an overwhelming majority of customers from one network struggling to get service, it simply doesn’t make financial sense for the network or the user for a single-network solution to be introduced. Therefore, to accommodate the needs


of users of all networks, specialised systems integrators are taking on the responsibility of providing tailor-made internal hardware that provides signal for all networks. Every business and building is different, balancing unique limitations and priorities, and an internal solution is one of the few that bypasses serious obstacles in terms of quality and stability.


“What do I need to know in terms of selecting the right hardware for me?”


As a facilities manager, you shouldn’t have to worry about the detailed design of the


system. Any credible partner will be able to handle the in-depth technicalities of your requirements such as coverage areas, user requirements and even RF power levels with the appropriate commercial offer. There are, however, some important


and simple factors to bear in mind when reaching out to a supplier: 1. The actual landscape of your office. How many floors will the service need to cover? What’s the volume of the space in m2? Are there particular hotspots where signal is crucial, or areas where it’s noticeably less important?


2. Do you need multi-operator coverage? Are your users/employees all on the same network, or does the facility have a ‘bring your own device’ policy? What sort of devices are used?


3. The nature of the facility. Is it residential or commercial? What are the speeds that devices will need to maintain to run effectively?


For too long businesses have been


unaware of such solutions; the majority have been caught between unsatisfactory makeshift solutions, installing Wi-Fi solutions that may prove just as problematic, or fruitlessly petitioning their network for better service. Fortunately, this is no longer the case. By


sharing some simple information about the building and its users, facilities managers are able to secure a reliable solution to their coverage troubles with minimal fuss. Mobile coverage should not be a mystery, and facilities managers don’t need to be experts to fix it; speaking to a reputable provider can be all it takes to ensure high-quality coverage across an entire facility.


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