The Right Tool Saves Time for 5G Installs

Case Study - 5G Internet Provider

Overview

The emergence of 5G offers consumers and businesses access to digital data faster and more reliably, enhancing the overall user experience.  

 Unfortunately, the physics of 5G data signals present challenges when it comes to transmitting them through brick, metal, and other complex structures. This makes accurate signal collection, analysis, and enhancement critical to ensuring that people in shopping malls, office buildings, and similar structures can access 5G signals reliably. 

By choosing the right tool to complete these tasks, we overcame these challenges while significantly reducing labor time and costs. 

QUICK GLANCE

CLIENT: National 5G Internet Provider

PROBLEM: Needed 5G transmitted within buildings.

SOLUTION: Upgraded signal meters for technicians.

RESULTS: Reduced labor costs and increased accuracy.

The Problem

Our client, a national 5G internet provider, faced a novel problem: how to provide a strong, reliable 5G signal inside structures such as shopping malls, office buildings, airports, and other complex structures.  

 The problem stemmed from the frequency of 5G signal waves – 5G signals transmit at much higher frequencies than 3G and 4G signals. Because 3G and 4G signals are lower-frequency – they can transmit farther and penetrate brick, metal, and concrete better than 5G signals. With 3G and 4G, the client could simply set up wireless routers to connect to nearby cellular signal towers. The signals could transmit reasonably well through concrete and brick, so people inside could expect to receive a consistent signal throughout the structure. With 5G, though, connecting a router inside a complex structure to a nearby cell tower can be challenging, and sometimes impossible. Even if a signal is available inside the building, it can weaken or drop – leaving users frustrated.

cellular network scanner

The Solution

An antenna placed outside the structure, connected to a “base station” inside the building, solves the problem of 5G signal penetration. The antenna receives the signal from a nearby tower, and then transmits it to the base station for amplification and distribution throughout the building.  

 Unfortunately, providing reliable signal access throughout the interior of the structure isn’t quite so simple. It requires accurately measuring every cellular carrier, band, and frequency throughout the building, and then optimizing the signal based on the data collected.  

 In a large commercial building, this process can be cumbersome, time-consuming, and labor-intensive. Signals must be measured for loss at multiple collection points in these properties to identify potential weak or dead spots where 5G signals are blocked or too weak to reliably use.  

 To minimize time and resources spent on signal measuring, mapping, and optimization, we purchased Wilson Electronics’ Cellular Network Scanners. 

The Results

Our team used the Cellular Network Scanners to accurately capture all available carriers, bands, and frequencies throughout a large commercial structure. After the install and post-site visit engineering was complete, we evaluated the implementation of the signal meters and determined these results:

1. Compounding savings on time and labor

With previous-generation cell signal meters, our teams spent considerable time collecting, measuring, and analyzing data during an installation project. With the new scanners, we were able to complete these tasks in significantly less time.

The time saved, of course, increases exponentially with the size of the project. In a large commercial property, such as a shopping mall or office complex, teams can easily reduce the labor needed for these tasks by 30 – 40%. In addition, we expect that the enhanced accuracy, thoroughness, and quality of the data will eliminate significant post-site engineering hours, further increasing overall time saved.

2. Less engineering labor and overhead

In the past, teams would need to examine hundreds of photos, and then transcribe the information from these photos into a data sheet so they could manipulate the data. This cumbersome process could take days or weeks, depending on the size of the project. The Cellular Network Scanners save countless hours of engineering overhead and labor by providing accurate, detailed reports that easily export as .csv files for solution engineering.

3. Eliminates “best signal choice” guesswork

With older tools, we were still left to guess which was the best signal or carrier choice in a particular area. Although highly trained, our techs were often left to rely on guesswork – which meant more time spent optimizing the wireless network after the site install. With the Cellular Network Scanners, we no longer had to guess – the devices evaluated all available signal options and displayed only adequate carrier options.

“With the Cellular Network Scanner we have seen virtually no human error when surveying for cellular service and that has translated to the right product design decisions to be made and implemented on-site with minimal on-site labor.”

Harrison Stone
VP of Implementation & Logistics, TechLink Services

By choosing the right tool for the job, techs can capture and assess data more quickly, save time and labor costs, and increase efficiency during and after on-site visits. Our Cellular Network Scanners allowed our techs to accomplish all of the above. The devices also enabled us to test individual cables for signal loss, helping us quickly pinpoint and address deficiencies that could lead to post-install visits and additional tech labor. They even displayed the best cell tower in the area, allowing our team to adjust the direction of the antenna to point to that tower.

More importantly, though, they allowed us to help our client create a flawless data experience throughout the property, which translated to higher customer satisfaction. We are confident that we made the correct decision when we purchased our Cellular Network Scanners, and that they can help provide better results for clients while minimizing labor hours, guesswork, and frustration before, during, and after on-site visits.