Managed WiFi Solutions for MDU / MTU, Hotel, Assisted Living, & Restaurants

Multi-family Cell Coverage A Major Issue – New York Times Takes Notice

This Sunday’s Real Estate section of the New York Times included an interesting article: The Cellphone Imperative: If I Can’t Text, I’m Moving, which addressed the ongoing issue of poor in-building coverage in NYC multi-family buildings and the negative impact that lack of coverage has on leasing apartments.  Solutions range from WiFi Calling all the way to DAS – but the point is clear, it’s time for building owners to pick a solution or risk losing potential renters and buyers.  See below for a run-down of the most popular solutions or contact us to discuss what solution is right for your property: 203-523-5210.

The Impact

So just how negative an impact does poor in-building cellular having on leasing and selling apartments?  The NYT made it pretty clear:

“’It could kill a deal,’ said David J. Maundrell III, the founder of aptsandlofts.com, which was acquired a few days ago by Citi Habitats.  Being fully connected has become ‘a part of our daily routine,’ said Mr. Maundrell, noting how prospective residents constantly check their phones during showings. ‘People are addicted to it.’”

Real estate brokers are also taking notice of the importance of good cellular reception inside and are saying that, for buyers, adequate cellular coverage is non-negotiable and is as much a requirement of purchasing/ leasing a home as having a certain number of bedrooms:

“’A strong cell reception is a prerequisite,’ said Michael Graves, an associate broker at Douglas Elliman.”

Apparently, even celebrities are not exempt from facing coverage issues in their luxury apartments.  According to the Times, Jay Z walked away from a long-term lease after suffering a few days of poor cell signal.  Case in point, from billionaire to “renters on a budget”, everyone has cellular coverage on their priority list.

What Causes The Cellular Problem

Unfortunately, building owners encounter the issue of poor cellular coverage simply because they are building their buildings in the best way: using energy efficient materials like low-E glass, reinforced steel and concrete.  These building materials are creating a big problem.  Material like low- emissions glass, for example, is designed the keep the elements out and heat/ air conditioning inside – these energy saving windows drastically weaken cell signal and in some cases do not allow it to pass through at all.

Available Solutions

The NYT article talks a lot about both DAS and wireless networks (WiFi), though it seems to lump them together without pointing out the differences.   This part of the article can be a bit confusing.  A DAS system simply is not an option for the majority of building owners out there due to the high cost and amount of time it takes to get approval on such a solution, WiFi Calling and CellBoost® are very different from DAS in both network architecture, cost and need for approval.  There are multiple solutions for building owners to consider and what is right depends on the needs of the property: budget, the demographics of the building, time-frame for deployment, etc all need to be considered.  Solutions range from highly expensive carrier solutions to the more cost efficient dedicated WiFi Calling solution.  Here is a snap shot of the three most popular building-wide solutions, what they look like and how much they cost (from least to most expensive):

WiFi Calling – Approx. Cost: $0.40 per square foot:

  • What Is It? In-building wireless network with dedicated bandwidth and quality of service
  • Benefits: Cost effective, same physical network provides data services for residents, supports multiple carriers, call quality in testing is often better than cellular
  • Downsides: Currently only available for AT&T, T-Mobile & Sprint (Verizon has said they will deploy soon)


- Approx. Cost: $0.75 per square foot:

  • What Is It? Uses a donor antenna to bring existing outdoor cell signal into the building
  • Benefits: Quick to deploy, carrier agnostic, does NOT require carrier approval
  • Downsides: Currently only available for AT&T, T-Mobile & Sprint (Verizon has said they will deploy soon)

DAS - Approx. Cost: $2.00 per square foot:

  • What Is It? Essentially turns a building into a mini-cell site.  Relies on a base transceiver station.  Mostly used for stadiums and arenas
  • Benefits: Provides excellent cellular call quality
  • Downsides: Very expensive, slow to deploy, may become obsolete


Cellular Problems At Your Property?  contact us to discuss what solution is right for your property: 203-523-5210.



CellBoost® offering extended to Commercial Real Estate/ Office Space

  • cellboost-logo


    View post

The demand for reliable coverage and capacity in Class A commercial buildings has increased exponentially in recent years.  The use of tablets, smartphones and the BYOD culture of today’s businesses for both voice coverage and data streaming is forcing commercial building owners to consider their options for providing in-building voice coverage.  The first step to getting a voice coverage problem solved is to request an exhausted site survey and frequency plan to determine what issues are occurring at the property and how best to solve the problem for the least amount of money.  Request A Site Survey

What In-Building Voice Solutions Are Available To Commercial Properties?

Until recently, the only real solution available to building owners has been the Distributed Antenna System (DAS) which can run upwards of 500,000K – 1,000,000 dollars.  That is no longer the case.  There is now flexibility for building owners to deploy a cost effective solution that really works.  More than ever, commercial building owners are in control of their own destiny and have a suite of in-building voice solutions to choose from.


Requires no carrier approval. Quick to deploy. Carrier Neutral.

Typical cost: $0.75/ sq. ft

Heterogeneous Network

Combines voice solutions (including: WiFi, Small Cell) to provide the best voice solution to cover all carrier/ coverage problems.  Carrier specific.


Requires carrier approval.  Slow to deploy.  Very Expensive.

Typical cost: $2.00/ sq. ft.

What Causes The Voice Coverage Problem?

The problem is really two-fold.  Today’s buildings are constructed with LEED building materials, like Low-E glass, that do not allow cellular signal to penetrate.  In addition, the cellular carriers have built out their networks to provide geographic coverage without taking into account the amount of users on the network.  In a commercial building space, where there are a large amount of users in a dense area, calls are dropped, connections are lost and data streaming is slow.  The cellular networks are strained and cannot support all of the usage.

The Importance of A Site Survey/ Frequency Plan

When it comes to in-building coverage and capacity: “There is no such thing as plug and play”.  That quote, said by Paula Doublin, AT&T’s AP for Antenna Solutions, really sums up what needs to go into an in-building voice solution.  DAS is not the only solution out there, though it is the most expensive.   A site survey and coordinated frequency plan is necessary to pinpoint areas of poor coverage by carrier and then a solution can be formulated specifically to the areas/ carriers with problems.  Contact Spot On for a  site survey/ frequency plan of your building.


Back to top

Submit your Feedback

Contact Sales