Blog | Education

Are your students and faculty being affected by poor cellular service?

In today’s competitive academic environment, students and faculty look for the availability of fast, secure wireless connections when choosing a college for their degree or career. If your campus’ cellular connection cuts out or experiences weak spots and dead zones, students and faculty will not have access to the apps and broadband services they have come to take for granted. It’s no surprise that poor campus-wide coverage could be affecting convenience, quality of life, and campus safety for your students and staff. A rock-solid cellular network should be the foundation for faculty, students, maintenance crews and public safety officials to keep constant communication, and run many of the safety apps and paging systems on campuses across the country.

The demand for high-speed cellular and wireless connectivity has increased the need for schools to deliver faster, more reliable data to keep up with traffic on their networks. Wi-Fi networks alone are not sufficient enough to meet the needs of today’s “always connected” student. For network security, capacity and performance reasons it is wise to also have a good cellular infrastructure on campus to augment your Wi-Fi system. The good news is there are solutions to compliment your Wi-Fi system and dramatically improve cellular coverage throughout campus.

More prevalently, schools are implementing a Distributed Antenna System (DAS) to ensure that 4G coverage and capacity is available across campus. A DAS is a network of wireless connectivity that strategically places antennas throughout an area in order to extend cellular coverage and data services through dead zones and increase network capacity. The antennas are physically connected to a central controller and can be active or passive, indoor or outdoor. Installation of these antennas spread mobile broadband coverage by serving as repeaters for the communication system. This allows for enhanced coverage, improved reliability in highly trafficked locations, and an increased network capacity.

If any of the following scenarios are true for your academic facility, you may want to consider upgrading to a DAS:

Lack of 4G Long Term Evolution (LTE) connection speeds is negatively impacting access at critical times
Many mobile apps require 4G speeds. If your 4G LTE signal is not strong enough, students and staff may not be able to use their mobile devices from their dorms, offices, or other important locations throughout campus. They may also be limited in their ability to reach outside emergency services and/or family members in the event of a crisis.  Students bring phones from ALL carriers these days. If you are insufficient with one carrier vs. another, a DAS is a great way to strengthen the signal of all carriers with one system.  A DAS can be customized by carrier and frequency to improve the efficiency and reliability of campus-wide cellular coverage.

You have a large or densely populated facility
If hundreds or even thousands of students and staff are simultaneously using your network for internet connection, you should consider installing a DAS for your facility. A DAS ensures a more reliable wireless connection and expands the capacity of your network, which can be bogged down by high user traffic.

Your building is a LEED-rated energy efficient facility with dead spots that cell sites can’t penetrate
LEED-rated or ‘green’ buildings can actually repel radio frequency (RF) signals from the outside. This can prevent your students and faculty from having cellular access in offices, dorm rooms, and other places where they need it the most. The strategic placement of antennas in a DAS helps to alleviate this problem by expanding the signal through these dead zones and hard to reach areas of a facility.

You want to improve efficiency and connection speed via various wireless devices
Smartphones, tablets, and other personal mobile devices are being used more and more in academic facilities for mobile learning, and communication between faculty, parents, students, and the outside world. To keep up with the rising demand as mobile data skyrockets, a DAS is a great solution to augment your network and support heavy wireless traffic from a variety of devices.

Through a DAS, your academic facility can improve quality, performance, data speed, and accessibility for students and faculty. When you upgrade to a DAS, dead zones will be reduced or eliminated and mobile data and voice capacity will improve. A DAS will also allow for seamless coverage across buildings and when leaving campus. Learn more about the benefits of a DAS for your school by calling (603) 717-7117.