There was a time when a business’s communication needs could be met by simply calling the local phone company and having the phone service turned on. Then came the Internet and businesses had to pick an Internet provider and delivery technology so that every employee could have access to email and the web.

Now, businesses have dozens of decisions to make. Telecommunications deregulation has allowed competition in many markets and, with it, an expansive range of options for businesses.

Until a few years ago, commercial wireless solutions were limited. Cellular telephone calls, particularly those made inside buildings, were prone to dropping and poor voice quality. This became a critical shortcoming since 80% of cell phone calls are made inside buildings.

Moreover, wireless plans often did not include the options business users needed. Data was expensive and slow. As a result, businesses that switched to wireless as a primary option had to also keep an Internet provider to provide WiFi for email, streaming video calls, and web access.

The result of all this was that commercial wireless solutions were developed to help businesses use wireless telecommunications more effectively. Here are five ways to use commercial wireless solutions to make your business safer and more productive:

Boost Your Cell Signal

Having a stable, strong cell signal is essential to both safety and productivity. However, office buildings can experience diminished signals between a cellular telephone and a cell tower in a few ways:

  • Electrical interference: Electronic equipment and mechanical systems can create radio waves that interfere with a cell signal. For example, microwave ovens, power generators, and air conditioning fans and compressors can create electromagnetic waves that disrupt cell signals.
  • Physical interference: Buildings have materials that can deflect and scatter radio waves. Water pipes, air conditioning ducts, and even the residual water in concrete can physically block or redirect cell signals.
  • Distance: The location of the office can affect the strength of the signal. Cell phones work best when they are within range of multiple cell towers because the call can be switched to a different tower as the strength of the signal changes. Offices located on the ground floor of a large building might only receive signals from one tower, with other towers blocked by other buildings.

Commercial cell boosters take an existing cell signal and increase its strength. Usually, the cell signal is picked up by an antenna. The antenna is typically located outside on the roof where it can receive a clear cell signal. The signal is amplified and repeated inside the building. Cellular telephones inside the building receive this amplified signal, providing better reception.

When someone inside the building makes a call or uses their mobile data, the commercial cell booster also works in the opposite direction, sending out an amplified signal back to the cell tower. This two-way signal boosting can substantially improve the speed and reliability of the cell signal inside a building.

By boosting the cell signal in this way, businesses can save costs. Rather than paying for both commercial wireless service and an Internet service provider, they may be able to switch to mobile broadband Internet for everyone and cancel their ISP.

Businesses can also improve their safety by boosting cell signals for people inside their offices. Regardless of the reason for the emergency call, having a clear cell signal helps people inside a business call for help. This will help businesses respond to medical emergencies, active shooter situations, and natural disasters.

Set Up a Commercial DAS

A distributed antenna system (DAS) is a broad category of technology that includes cell boosters. However, DAS also includes other systems that can bring a cell signal to a building that otherwise cannot receive a cell signal.

That is, a cell booster is generally viewed as a passive system that picks up over-the-air cellular signals and amplifies it for use inside a building. DAS also includes active systems that are connected to a cell provider through a base transceiver station (BTS). While this type of system requires coordination with a cellular provider, it can reliably provide a cell signal to locations that cannot use a passive cell booster because it cannot receive an over-the-air cell signal.

This makes a commercial DAS the preferred choice of commercial wireless solutions for rural locations and underground locations. These locations might have no cellular access due to location or interference. A commercial DAS can overcome these problems and bring cellular service to them.

A DAS includes antennae spread throughout a building. These antennae broadcast and receive cell signals for the wireless devices inside the building. The outgoing signals are sent back through the cellular carrier’s fiber system. In essence, this type of DAS creates a personalized cell tower inside the building.

While these systems require coordination with the cellular carrier, they provide the most reliable and strongest cell signal possible. This allows businesses to use cellular telephones to replace landlines and, depending on the bandwidth needed by the business, Internet connections. Moreover, with the impending shift to 5G, a DAS might provide a signal strong enough to stream video, transmit and receive video calls, and upload large files.

This can benefit both owner-occupiers and landlords. Your business or your tenants need reliable cell signals to operate safely. Without cell coverage, you and your tenants might be unable to make emergency calls.

Moreover, a reliable mobile broadband signal is necessary to conduct business. Businesses cannot afford to miss an important call or email due to dropped calls and slow data. Both your business and your tenants will demand commercial wireless solutions to guarantee reliable sell signals within your building.

Install an Emergency Responder Radio Coverage System

When your first responders are called to your building for an emergency, they will need their radios to communicate with their dispatcher and, in a major disaster, their command and control. Whether they are called for a medical emergency, fire, or search and rescue operation, first responder communications are critical for a successful outcome. Unfortunately, the same things that can interfere with, or block, cell signals can also disrupt first responder wireless services.

To assist first responders, you can install an emergency responder radio coverage (ERRC) system. This system works similarly to a cell booster. It captures radio signals from land mobile radios and amplifies them. This system can be critically important for multistory buildings, underground structures, or spread out building complexes. By amplifying the system, first responders have reliable two-way communications to direct and coordinate the emergency response.

Another use of ERRC systems is in mining operations. Whether they are above ground or underground, the rocky walls and large metal mining equipment found in mines can block or scatter radio waves. Installing an ERRC system can help first responders in the event of an emergency at the mine.

Whether you operate a mine, underground parking garage, high rise skyscraper, or office building campus, an ERRC system can supplement the repeaters you use for your security radio system. The ERRC system uses bi-directional amplification to boost transmissions to and from first responder radios. Like a cell booster, an ERRC system uses antennae spread throughout the location to passively capture signals. The signal is then fed into an amplifier to boost the signal. The antennae then transmit the boosted signal.

The key to an effective ERRC system is to place the antennae to bridge obstacles for radio waves. For example, concrete, glass, or metal structures can disrupt radio transmission. By placing antennae around the obstacle, the signal can be boosted around the obstacle.

Commercial wireless solutions can make businesses safer and more productive. Businesses are highly dependent on communications technology and commercial wireless solutions help them to remain at the forefront of communication technology. Cell boosters and commercial DAS can ensure that workers and guests inside the building are able to call for help when emergencies strike.

Equally importantly, amplifiers can help businesses save money on Internet and phone service. By providing a strong cell signal inside buildings, productivity can increase because workers and guests can use their mobile devices for voice calls and data-intensive applications, such as video calling.

Finally, an ERRC in large or spread-out offices can make the office safer by boosting first responders’ radios. This helps them to stay in contact with each other as well as their command and control structure. The result is a more efficient and effective emergency response.