Rick Haughey, VP of Technology for NMHC, recently penned an article for multifamilyexecutive.com that addresses the negative impact of spotty cell phone coverage on the multifamily industry and touches on some of the solutions to solve the problem. Mr. Haughey mentions the dramatic increase in residents that are relying on cellular for their primary source of connectivity and how the carrier coverage simply does not support that.
Solutions mentioned include: Cell booster solutions (like CellBoost 1.0), Small Cell, hyrbid-DAS utilizing a donor antenna (like CellBoost 2.0), traditional DAS utilizing a base station, but we were thrilled to finally see the mention of WiFi calling in regards to the indoor voice coverage problem. Haughey mentions how difficult it can be for building owners to sort through all the different solutions, what they can/ cannot do and what they cost, adding, “The potential for a “disruptive” technology, such as WiFi calling, to make any of these solutions only temporary poses yet another hurdle”!
Basically – Seamless WiFi calling, which is currently adopted by 2 of the 4 major carriers (T-Mobile and Sprint) is the most cost effective solution to the voice coverage problem. Once Verizon/ AT&T support WiFi calling on their networks building owners will have a solution that costs a fraction of any other calling solution out there, helps generate revenue, allows for add-ons like wireless energy management, staff services, building automation and security and provides Internet access throughout their building. WiFi calling is the answer building owners have been waiting for.
On a silly note…
Mr Haughey mentions the old Verizon “Can You Hear Me Now?” ads… funny, is it just me or did most of those ads take place outdoors? Well, to be fair I just watched a compilation “Test Launch” video with the “Can You Hear Me Now?” man and he was shown popping out of man hole in the road, in the mountains, in a swamp, on the road and in the dessert. Only one scene showed him inside…. now that’s foreshadowing! Check the 2009 ad out here.
The point is, the cellular carriers did not develop their networks for capacity – they are built for geographic coverage. That is why you can look at a Verizon map that shows red over most of the U.S. yet can still not get signal in a city building. Add that to green building construction, like Low-E glass blocking cellular signal and it’s a recipe for cellular disaster.