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Why cellular signal repeaters are ineffective without DAS

The era of 5G communications is about to break wide open on the world economy, putting untold amounts of data in the hands of businesses and consumers and unleashing a vast array of new services, some of which will require uninterrupted connectivity to perform vital functions.

The fact remains, however, that cellular coverage on which these services depend is spotty at best within most buildings. Conventional materials like steel and concrete act as RF blockers, as do newer materials like eco-friendly windows. If building owners and managers do not take steps now to improve coverage within their facilities, critical applications are likely to fail. This will negatively impact not just the user’s quality of life but will also diminish the value of owned property, whether it is used for housing, retail space, entertainment, manufacturing, or some other purpose.

77% surveyed tenants list quality of mobile network coverage key consideration

The DAS advantage

While it may be tempting to simply place a cellular repeater on top of a building or utilize Wi-Fi extenders inside, both of these approaches provide limited improvements at best, particularly as usage and data traffic increase, which they most surely will under 5G. A more compelling solution is the Distributed Antenna System (DAS), a fiber-based technology that utilizes small, low-power antenna nodes to push connectivity into dead spots without hampering performance with latency and interference issues.

Unlike a repeater or booster system, DAS does not amplify or extend an existing cellular service. Instead, it generates its own coverage, which can then be amplified to the cellular carrier’s network to provide stable, reliable service from virtually anywhere.

DAS generates its own coverage, which can then be amplified to the cellular carrier’s network to provide stable, reliable service from virtually anywhere.

DAS is also easy to install and inexpensive to operate, with many solutions costing as little as $1.50 per square foot. At the same time, it is highly scalable, enabling resources to be more easily matched to data demands. This allows for rapid and simplified installation coupled with low operating costs because the network does not need to be over-provisioned with resources that sit idle most of the time during periods of low demand.

Yet another advantage that DAS has over Wi-Fi or cellular repeaters is the ability to locate users on a far more granular level. This offers advantages when the need for emergency services arises or when location-based applications are employed, and it allows network operators to more accurately analyze where data is being consumed within the building in order to deliver high Quality of Service (QoS) and to plan for future growth.

The right managed service partner

Few building owners and managers have the expertise to effectively manage high-tech communications networks, however, which is why finding the right partner to implement a DAS solution is essential. CBTS has been at the forefront of advanced network technologies for more than two decades and can deploy experienced engineering teams to provide a detailed analysis of indoor networking needs and then devise a DAS system that generates optimal coverage at minimal costs.

Whether the solution is deployed under a traditional infrastructure model or under a DAS-as-a-Service (DASaaS) model, CBTS offers full installation and integration with carrier networks, as well as 24×7 support and operations, plus detailed reporting and analysis to ensure the system remains in peak working condition even as data demands shift over time.

As the new decade unfolds, wireless service will transition from a simple convenience to a downright necessity. Connected devices will require nearly 100 percent uptime in order to fulfill their functional mandates, but this cannot happen if dead spots remain indoors due to blocked signals.

If building owners hope to maintain financial returns on their properties, they must take steps now to ensure robust data access throughout all enclosed areas. After all, when users cannot access their data in one location, they quickly move to a place that is properly connected.

Download the infographic about the benefits of 5G-ready, in-building wireless network.

Continue reading: Why a Distributed Antenna System is the best answer to in-building wireless dead spots

Contact us for more information on how CBTS can ensure effective 5G connectivity in your facility.

Why a Distributed Antenna System is the best answer to in-building wireless dead spots

Wireless connectivity is quickly becoming the distinguishing factor between success and failure in business. If you look across the entire economic spectrum, products and services that engage customers in an intuitive and helpful manner perform much better in terms of brand awareness, loyalty, and most importantly, sales.

This same phenomenon is taking place across the building ownership and management sector, which encompasses everything from apartment complexes, office buildings/campuses, resorts, warehouses, and manufacturing facilities. The more thorough and reliable the wireless coverage within a building, the easier it is for owners to attract and retain top-paying occupants, as well as lower their own operating costs and perhaps even create new revenue streams for themselves.

Bringing dead spots back to life

Wireless signal penetration is not always easy in large buildings, however. Common materials like steel and concrete can dampen or block RF signals entirely, while even some newer construction features like LEED-certified energy efficient windows can be problematic. In many cases, Wi-Fi extenders can improve indoor dead spots, but this is a partial solution at best. Full Wi-Fi coverage can get expensive depending on the size and layout of the building, and it can still cut out in the presence of high demand—which means tenants will likely fail to connect just when they need to most.

A far more effective solution is a fiber-based private in-building wireless network, such as private LTE or a Distributed Antenna System. Private LTE is a local cellular network that features cell sites and core network servers dedicated to supporting an organization’s requirements independent of public cellular service providers. It can be the better choice when large amounts of data that are transferred can stress the public network in a given area. It can be deployed anywhere—including areas beyond the reach of public carriers—and can keep data on-site for security reasons. And private LTE can be optimized to handle traffic types with specific requirements. For example, real-time IoT applications can be guaranteed with extremely low latency for immediate response.

A Distributed Antenna System (DAS) is designed from the ground up to provide full cellular coverage throughout any building. It is also compatible with any phone model and all cellular carriers, providing a lower-cost, scalable approach to the connectivity needs of large numbers of users.

Using DAS, building owners will place themselves at the forefront of the wireless revolution, particularly as data demands increase significantly with the advent of 5G. Among the key benefits are:

  • A scalable architecture that meets dynamic data needs without having to over-provision network resources that then remain idle most of the time.
  • Access to the latest 4G and 5G services, including next-generation intelligent applications that can create new revenue streams and lower maintenance and other costs.
  • Connectivity to most 911 platforms and other emergency services.
  • Faster data throughput and more streamlined traffic management to deliver high-quality connectivity at all times.

Few building owners have the in-house skills or knowledge to deploy and maintain cutting-edge networks, of course, which is why partnering with a leader in the field is essential. CBTS has a long history of designing and engineering the latest communications technologies, and we have now turned that expertise toward private LTE and DAS. Our solution features a streamlined design capable of broad customization and easy installation. At the same time, we back it up with a full-service operations and maintenance contract, including integration with leading carrier platforms. In this way, clients can focus their efforts on improving service to their tenants and generating new revenue streams for themselves while we handle the network.

As strange as it may seem given that mobile communications have been with us for several decades, the power of this technology is still in its nascent stage. As the world becomes more connected, virtually everything around us will become dependent on access to wireless networks. Property owners and businesses in general would do well to stay ahead of the curve, and the easiest and least costly way to do that is by partnering with a seasoned technology expert who knows the ins and outs of modern networking.

Contact us for more information on how CBTS can help you implement a distributed antenna system and private in-building wireless network solution.

5G and Beyond: Future-Proofing In-Building Wireless Coverage

Fifth-generation wireless technology (5G) continues to be deployed globally with lofty ambitions of seamless connectivity, faster data speeds, and lower latency.

However, as in-building wireless integration becomes a crucial component of business communication worldwide, many organizations are challenged to meet the infrastructure requirements best suited for reliable 5G in their facilities. To that end, business leaders must understand their most pressing wireless communication obstacles when future-proofing their in-building systems for the innovations of tomorrow.

Overall interest in 5G is high, with 65% of organizations currently researching the technology, according to a survey from data and marketing services firm IDG. Study participants pointed to benefits such as higher bandwidth and faster downloads, while realizing a need to implement 5G-ready infrastructure and network improvements for the best competitive advantage.

Currently, the majority of survey respondents utilize Wi-Fi for in-building connectivity, but stated that rising Wi-Fi consumption poses a daunting problem for their organizations. Alternatives to Wi-Fi include a  cell repeater—through which an antenna grabs a signal from a nearby macro tower to enhance a facility’s wireless coverage, or a distributed antenna system (DAS), a macro tower independent cellular ecosystem designed specifically for a particular building that is not reliant on nearby macro tower signals. Wireless signals are generated and transmitted via fiber optic cable to antennas distributed throughout an organization’s infrastructure, resulting in improved connectivity, increased dedicated capacity, and is less susceptibility to external interference.

Alongside boosting network performance, DAS sufficiently prepares businesses for a transition into 5G if the technology is integrated into a wireless carrier’s network. Organizations with carrier equipment already on hand may receive 5G upgrades automatically. Per the IDG study, 35% of respondents are DAS users, with another 38% expected to switch to DAS over the next year.

CBTS offers a fully-managed DAS solution that provides all the benefits of DAS while simplifying system implementation and monitoring. The company’s fiber-based DAS Indoor 5G runs an always-on indoor wireless signal to any device, with day-to-day management of the system supervised by certified CBTS technicians.

Additionally, the solution supports common frequencies implemented today on one hardware layer, priming the system for changing usage needs as well as burgeoning technologies like 5G. Thanks to fiber technology, the system is also more affordable and easier to install than competing innovations.

As a managed service provider, CBTS offers customers a variety of services related to DAS Indoor 5G, including an initial building assessment, flexible financing options, and monthly analytics reporting.

As 5G approaches, the demand for best-in-class indoor connectivity will continue to grow. Organizations concerned about infrastructure cost and network implementation want a beneficial communication solution to keep their operations running smoothly. DAS Indoor 5G is a cost-effective, easily upgradable system ready to harness every advantage that 5G has to offer. Learn more about how DAS Indoor 5G from CBTS can benefit your organization.

Read the builder’s guide to Indoor 5G

5G is coming. Is your organization prepared?

The next big step forward in wireless communications is only beneficial to those with the tools and abilities to harness it. As a result, it’s becoming more and more crucial for enterprises to adapt and prepare to take advantage of 5G wireless networks.

Various benefits and advantages are on the way with 5G, but existing wireless infrastructure may not be sufficient to accommodate this new wave of connectivity. Of businesses recently surveyed by CBTS and IDG, 52% cite the need to upgrade existing infrastructure and the budget to do so as their top concern regarding upgrading to 5G. The challenge of analyzing, designing, and implementing a network to support 5G is close behind at 48%. 44% of respondents are concerned about the ability of 5G tower signals to penetrate their buildings.

The limits of Existing Solutions

As the world becomes more interconnected, and consumers continually expect instant gratification from their wireless communication experiences, many companies are concerned about the rising rates of Wi-Fi consumption.

Currently, private Wi-Fi is the most common wireless connectivity solution among respondents at 77%, with public Wi-Fi in second place at 69%. 60% use cell signal repeaters and 35% use a Distributed Antenna System (DAS). Users of DAS are the only respondents not reported to be concerned about the growing consumption of Wi-Fi.

Another factor to consider is the volume of resources companies are dedicating to managing their systems—an average of 42 internal staff members are assigned to support wireless communication services. Most organizations leverage both internal staff and external service providers to manage their in-building wireless communication systems. On average, 58% of in-building wireless communication services are operated by internal staff, and 42% are supported by external providers.

Wi-Fi maintains its popularity as a standard wireless communications solution, but users of a Distributed Antenna System (DAS) and cell signal repeaters report the highest rates of satisfaction. However, while cell signal repeaters rely on outdoor coverage that may not be consistent, a DAS acts as a dedicated, fiber optic transmission system that is purpose-built for the specific building it is designed to serve. These factors make a DAS-enabled building less susceptible to external cell signal disruptions, leading to higher user satisfaction, cost reduction, and decreased reliance on in-building Wi-Fi. DAS is also an ideal tool for preparing organizations for the advent of 5G connectivity. When carriers start upgrading their service areas to 5G, any organization with carrier equipment such as DAS will receive these upgrades automatically.

Choose the Right Tool

For all of its advantages, a DAS would not come without challenges. These can include the implementation of the equipment as well as monitoring and managing the system itself.  A DAS Indoor 5G solution from CBTS delivers all of the strengths of DAS while alleviating these pain points. Plus, it is fully supported and managed by CBTS on behalf of the user.

This solution not only supports all traditional frequencies in use today but is also geared toward the convenient adoption of new technologies such as 5G. Because it is fiber-based, the system is more affordable and easier to install with minimal disruption to regular day-to-day business operations. It also comes complete with 24×7 monitoring services, monthly analytic reports, flexible financing options, and more.

Plan for Tomorrow, Today

The advent of 5G is a double-edged sword for some: it offers stronger and faster connections but also comes with costs and complications. However, there are budget-friendly and convenient tools available to make 5G connections an attainable reality for any organization.

DAS Indoor 5G puts customizable upgrades within reach for companies looking to future-proof their wireless systems without the hassle of re-engineering their entire indoor wireless infrastructure.

Visit for more information.

Preparing for 5G: Discover the benefits of a 5G-ready in-building wireless network.

Why Wi-Fi Calling May Not Be the Answer

In today’s omni-channel world, it’s all but impossible for businesses to avoid the need for  Wi-Fi connectivity. Not only is it essential for most business operations, but many consumers seem to expect it as a necessary tool to boost or supplement in-building cellular signals. In fact, poor cellular reception is a common issue in buildings, where roughly 80% of mobile traffic occurs, and Wi-Fi calling allows consumers to make and receive calls through a Wi-Fi network when a cellular mobile network falters.  However, Wi-Fi calling has its share of drawbacks.

The Pitfalls of Wi-Fi Calling

The pressure to deliver “5 bars” of cellular service may be why Wi-Fi calling is such a popular solution for the occasions that a mobile network doesn’t meet consumer demand. But businesses should be aware of the risks before they lean on Wi-Fi calling as a method for guaranteeing connectivity in their facilities.

If your organization’s public Wi-Fi network is unsecured, it could be used to distribute malicious software. Hostile actors can also “snoop” on public Wi-Fi networks, possibly gaining access to crucial trade data or the personal information of customers and employees.

Aside from these security concerns, firms that offer public Wi-Fi and allow it to be used for Wi-Fi calling should also be aware of the bandwidth limitations that can impact user experience and operational efficiency. If both customers and employees are connecting to a shared Wi-Fi network or access point, the system can bend under the high demand—and if your public Wi-Fi slows down, you can be sure your clients will let you know about it.

These concerns will only become more pressing with the ever increasing demand for data, and as the world marches toward 5G as a technological standard. However, the right equipment can address these issues while also making way for the next wave in connectivity.

A More Future-Forward Solution

Just as the proliferation of Wi-Fi can’t be undone, so too is the inevitability of 5G technology. In fact, it’s already here. Companies around the U.S. are already in the process of examining the future need g of Wi-Fi networks as they  begin to review  the benefits of 5G.

Full-scale adoption of 5G brings with it significantly faster connections, enhanced security, lower latency, and an enhanced Internet of Things (IoT), which creates networks between smart devices such as printers, manufacturing equipment, and more.

Making 5G work indoors still presents a challenge similar to older 4G LTE networks. Fortunately, a fiber-based Distributed Antenna Systems (DAS) offers a tested and reliable solution for bringing the power of 5G into the buildings and offices where it is needed most.

CBTS offers a fully-managed DAS Indoor 5G solution that can provide all the speed, connection strength, and user satisfaction that comes with Wi-Fi calling without the security or reliability shortfalls. Its fiber-based infrastructure makes it easy to install and accessible to organizations looking to move data traffic off their current Wi-Fi systems. It also comes with full-scale support services, including cellular carrier relationship management, system monitoring, proactive maintenance, and regular performance reports.

Bringing 5G indoors – the new “must have” for in-building wireless connectivity

A remedy for unreliable in-building cellular connectivity

Everyone can relate to poor cellular reception inside a building. In fact, with 80% of mobile traffic happening indoors, dropped calls and cellular dead zones have become common in the workplace.

However recently, as fifth generation mobile technology (5G) continues to be deployed globally, the demand for indoor connectivity has grown, and is expected to continue to grow exponentially, making in-building wireless connectivity the new “must have” among building owners and managers. 

To address this need, CBTS has developed a fiber-based, multi-carrier Distributed Antenna System (DAS) that delivers strong, reliable wireless connectivity to any type of mobile device no matter where they are inside a building.

“CBTS understands that mobility is mission-critical for organizations that require employees to work in multiple locations throughout the day. Our DAS solution delivers seamless connectivity for mobile users anywhere inside their work location, and is designed to integrate with future technologies such as 5G.

John Scola, Director Mobility Operations at CBTS

The CBTS solution is ideal for multi-level buildings and areas that lack reliable cellular connectivity, while delivering:

  • 5G ready infrastructure that is scalable to meet growing usage needs while ensuring lower cost of ownership and the ability to use most available frequencies.
  • Higher speeds and lower latency for organizations that are adopting a mobile-first approach for employees.
  • Enhanced public safety through integration with most emergency notification systems and improved ability to call 911 throughout the building.
  • Level of network reliability required for IoT and machine-to-machine learning solutions

The in-building wireless solution is also available as a Service, which means CBTS provides the following:

  • Initial building and wireless network assessment.
  • Custom design and engineering of DAS solution.
  • Management of installation.
  • Carrier onboarding and management.
  • Turn up of network with close-out package.
  • Ongoing 24×7 monitoring.
  • Monthly status and analytics reporting.
  • Flexible financing options, including optional upfront CapEx and a monthly OpEx service fee model

Learn more about in-building wireless and the CBTS Indoor 5G solution at or read a case study to see how a large aviation manufacturer achieved their “mobile first” objectives with the implementation of our Indoor 5G solution.