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Largest In-building Wireless Challenges in 2024

Updated: Apr 16

As advanced digital technologies such as edge computing, IoT and AI become fundamental to businesses of all sizes, building owners are becoming aware of the vital importance of in-building wireless connectivity.


Even beyond the tech industry, people have expectations that their smartphone “just works” to contact emergency services, navigate airports, or simply peruse social media in crowded venues like stadiums and casinos. As file quality increases so does the size of data files. Achieving satisfactory data speeds is always a moving target because of this. However, each new year brings challenges and complexities that building owners must encounter as they strive to enhance their in-building wireless infrastructure.


Cost Concerns

Up until recently, wireless carriers often covered full or partial costs of major venue or enterprise in-building wireless deployments because the real benefit was selling phones and phone services. Since the world has migrated to a bring-your-own-device (BYOD) approach, the carrier-funded wireless model has dwindled at a time when connectivity is increasingly vital for businesses.


Carriers now expect property owners to fund in-building wireless on their own. Given that these systems require substantial upfront costs including network planning, the system itself, and cabling, this can be a significant hurdle. If a building owner doesn’t want to lease equipment from neutral host operators (NHOs), the best option is to invest in converged wireless networks.

Converged wireless networks enable both commercial and public safety systems to share cabling and other expensive components in a single enclosure. While buildings are required to implement a public safety distributed antenna system (DAS) through the NFPA 72 code, commercial DAS is optional, but increasingly needed. By combining these systems, enterprises can streamline their infrastructure, yielding significant cost savings. This can also aid in addressing the growing concern among owners about space requirements for new network equipment.


Meeting Space Requirements

As venues and buildings demand more from their indoor wireless networks, the systems are getting increasingly complex, but the space allocated to house the equipment is not. High-profile venues are expected to support 4G/5G bands for all wireless carriers, public safety, and potentially private wireless like 900MHz or CBRS, but don’t want to sacrifice any more room to store it. This is understandable as every square foot is at a premium, particularly at stadiums and airports.


It’s going to be more important than ever to use a modular DAS like ADRF’s ADXV – capable of supporting all 4G/5G and public safety bands in a small form factor. While modularity is important for space requirements, it also allows owners to build a wireless network at a steady pace, adding new bands only as needed. There is no need for a costly rip-and-replace. Similarly, deploying a converged network can also help reduce the footprint of the overall design as it extends outside of the telecom room.


Sync Switching Challenges

Unlike many of the primary 4G/LTE frequency bands that use frequency division duplexing (FDD), nearly all main 5G bands use a time division duplexing (TDD) spectral technique. This technique utilizes a single stream for both uplink (UL) and downlink (DL), effectively doubling the available bandwidth compared to FDD. However, it necessitates a precisely timed switch to seamlessly transition between them.


Timing synchronization issues, occurring when that switch moves from uplink to downlink, can lead to performance throughput issues, potentially causing elevated noise back to the signal source and degrading the overall performance of the system. This undermines the value of the increased bandwidth and can hinder the user experience. Fortunately, ADRF has a proprietary method to help carriers optimize sync switching to limit this from happening in future deployments.


While there is no “one-size-fits-all” in-building wireless solution, the increasing need to have a robust network in a technology-centric world has made it impossible to overlook. ADRF is prepared to support our customers, present and future, in overcoming these challenges with flexible offerings as we have over the last quarter century of business. 

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