Welcome to the modern building manager’s dilemma: residents love their mobile devices, but cellular dead zones within the structure can turn a convenience into a source of frustration. Wi-Fi calling shines as a beacon of hope for connectivity issues. Let’s dive into its mechanics, benefits, and how it compares to traditional cellular solutions.
Understanding Cellular Dead Zones
A cellular dead zone is an area where signal strength is weak, causing poor call quality, dropped calls, and unsent messages. These dead zones can occur due to building materials that block signals, remote locations, or overcrowded networks. As cellular carriers continue to deploy 5g cellular services, which are often deployed on higher frequencies, inbuilding cellular coverage gaps have increased. For residents, this means inconvenience and even a potential safety concern when cell phones can’t connect. Traditional cellular boosting approaches, like active distributed antenna systems, can be costly and complex.
The Rise of Wi-Fi Calling
Wi-Fi calling allows phone calls to be made using a Wi-Fi network instead of a traditional cellular network. It’s a feature now commonly included in many smartphones and enabled on US cellular carriers. This technology bypasses the need for a strong cellular signal, using internet connectivity to facilitate clear voice calls. Once enabled, traditional voice calls and SMS text messages are sent over the Wi-Fi network. Wi-Fi calling networks can to be designed to be incredibly reliable offering service level agreements for availability and uptime.
Wi-Fi Calling vs. Cellular DAS
While Distributed Antenna Systems (DAS) have been a go-to for enhancing in-building cellular reception, Wi-Fi calling can offer a simpler, more cost-effective voice coverage option. DAS installations can be expensive, require maintenance, can require hardware updates as cellular carriers update their networks, and require extensive infrastructure work to install. In contrast, Wi-Fi calling can utilize existing cabling infrastructure, often resulting in a better return on investment and ease of use.
So, how do you determine if a Wi-Fi calling network or a DAS deployment is the right choice for your property? It’s important to consider how who you are solving the voice issues for at your property to determine which type of technology is the right fit. A few considerations:
Are you solving cellular coverage and voice issues for individuals who are at the property consistently?
If yes, then a Wi-Fi calling network is likely the best inbuilding voice solution for you. Once a user authenticates to the network once, they will automatically connect every time they on are site. This type of solution is ideal in a multifamily apartment complex where residents live on the property and often authenticate to the Wi-Fi network when they move in.
Are you solving cellular coverage and voice issues for transient guests who are not at the property consistently?
If yes, then a distributed antenna system is likely the best inbuilding voice solution for you. A user does not need to authenticate to a network and their cell phone will stay connected to their 4g LTE and/or 5g signal. This type of solution is ideal for an office or retail environment where guests are frequenting the property.
Implementing Property-Wide Managed Wi-Fi for Voice
Managed Wi-Fi provides a controlled, consistent, and secure wireless network service across the entire property. Setting up such a network involves a detailed site survey, selecting the right equipment, and professional installation. Managed Wi-Fi is the backbone for Wi-Fi calling, ensuring robust coverage and quality of service. Often times, a managed Wi-Fi network deployed to solve for voice coverage can be utilized to offer additional services on a property such as amenity data services and IOT connectivity.
Assessing the Fit for Your Building
Before deciding on Wi-Fi calling, building managers should partner with a service provider to assess their current infrastructure’s capability, understand end user voice requirements, and understand what voice and internet use cases need to be solved for on the property.
Addressing Security and Privacy Concerns
Security is paramount in any discussion about Wi-Fi calling. It’s essential to ensure that the Wi-Fi network is equipped with the latest security protocols to protect calls and data. Privacy policies should be transparent, and compliance with any regulatory standards must be verified.
Wi-Fi calling might just be the silver bullet for cellular dead zones in multi-tenant buildings. It promises enhanced connectivity without the significant overheads of traditional cellular solutions. For property managers looking to upgrade their building’s tech, Wi-Fi calling is a feature worth considering. And Spot On Networks is the provider worth considering it with!