Smart Buildings

Effective In-Building Wireless Design Relies on Interoperability

Steve Carroll
Seamless, powerful and reliable indoor wireless coverage is now a non-negotiable expectation. In fact, according to the latest Ericsson Mobility Report, 80% of all mobile/cellular data traffic is consumed indoors. 


In many cases, however, in-building wireless coverage still varies from location to location. You may have the latest 5G device and an unlimited data plan, but you still can’t get a consistent connection to make a call, send an email or join a video call. What’s going on? It’s probably the environment.


Poor mobile connectivity indoors can’t always be blamed on the wireless carrier. Many times, the building itself prevents cellular signals from coming inside. Material like metal, tinted glass, brick and concrete act as physical barriers that slow down or prevent signal penetration.


The Importance of Being Able to Choose Your In-Building Wireless Technologies


Each building is unique—and so are their in-building wireless networks.


In-building wireless networks must be designed to overcome signal barriers and support expected usage levels. There is no one-size-fits-all approach—no right or wrong answer to achieving connectivity. Different technology like 5G, CBRS, private LTE and Wi-Fi 6/6E can be used together to offer the right combination of high throughput, low latency and high capacity that keep organizations productive and resilient.


In other words: The best way to deploy in-building wireless depends on your building, your existing technology, your budget and the quality of service you need. An in-building wireless system should be designed based on what’s important to your organization, your users and what you envision for the future.


If you have the budget and need high levels of service quality, then a cellular network (licensed band) may be in your future. If you have an existing network, want to use your existing Wi-Fi and need to make sure you’re ready to bring 5G indoors, then there are ways to make that happen, too.


No matter which technologies you choose for your in-building wireless network, the layout and elements used to support them will be very similar. Infrastructure should work behind the scenes to give you complete flexibility to choose what works best—not restrict or limit your innovation.


Once you’ve identified the technology you need, your layer 0 should provide end-to-end cable and connectivity solutions that will always support your in-building wireless network. Connect whatever system(s) you want without being locked in to working with a specific technology or vendor.


Why Vendor-Agnostic Solutions Matter: A Real-World Example


When technology-forward projects aren’t restricted by vendor requirements or limitations, exciting things can happen.


Case in point: Circa Resort & Casino Las Vegas. The owners wanted to create an intelligent building that provides entertainment unlike any other venue. To do this, they knew their technology had to be different, too.


Instead of using dedicated AC power like most buildings, the owners wanted to use Digital Electricity™ (DE) for the resort’s backbone power distribution infrastructure—something that had never been done before. Instead of being powered by AC, devices like lights, switches, in-room climate control and wireless access points would be powered by DE.


Interoperable solutions were crucial to make sure the venue could continue to think outside the box and deploy emerging technology in groundbreaking ways. Belden Digital Electricity Cables—the industry’s first UL-certified Class 4 cables—support this new type of power distribution infrastructure; they safely deliver significant power across long distances using small conductors and allow the Circa Resort & Casino Las Vegas to innovate without sacrificing their vision or being tied down.


Interoperability Makes Upgrades Easier


Over time, in-building wireless networks will require upgrades. If hardware and software are provided by a single manufacturer, then future changes and upgrades will likely have to come from them as well—which can be restrictive.


To make future adjustments as easy as possible, you should be able to swap components without disruption. This is only possible with truly vendor-agnostic, interoperable solutions, which allow you to be nimble enough to adapt to whatever technology has in store. You can make necessary changes and upgrades without relying on only one vendor or struggling to find components when what you need is no longer available.


An interoperable in-building wireless solution lets you hand select the very best components and software for you—no matter who makes them. You can meet your performance and cost requirements without worrying about the long-term implications of the vendors and components you choose.


Our Dedication to In-Building Wireless Infrastructure


Your organization and projects are one of a kind. You should be able to take any technology or solutions approach you want in order to build the wireless network you need.


Belden’s infrastructure solutions are independent from wireless and active equipment providers. Our vendor-agnostic, interoperable solutions can support any approach you choose to build your network.


Our in-house specialists have been part of major wireless projects involving hundreds of miles of cabling and connectivity. You’ll find our solutions everywhere—from stadiums, entertainment districts and medical campuses to manufacturing plants, offices and government agencies.


Because our products are included in Ranplan and iBwave platforms, we can be involved from the very start of your in-building wireless project. Learn more about how we can help.




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