Smart Building

Faster, Easier Ways to Design In-Building Wireless Networks

Ron Tellas

Most of today’s cellular and network traffic is generated indoors, whether in an office building, airport or entertainment venue—and the volume of this traffic is on the rise.


As usage increases, the need for reliable coverage grows as well. A lot happens behind the scenes to make in-building wireless networks, distributed antenna systems (DASs), Wi-Fi 6 and Wi-Fi 6E networks , HetNet networks and 5G networks come together to support these connections. From planning and designing to deploying and optimizing, the process of establishing this coverage can take a long time, which increases total cost of ownership.


Over the past few years, however, software solutions have hit the scene to support systems engineers and integrators in their quest to design dependable in-building wireless networks.


Platforms like iBwave and Ranplan eliminate time-consuming manual work by automating and simplifying the design process to produce the best possible wireless network in any environment.


This automated process lets engineers spend more time designing and less time searching for information:


  • Verify accurate RF calculations, propagation and antenna placement
  • Confirm link budget calculations and cable length calculations
  • Troubleshoot networks before they’re deployed
  • Simulate networks and compare coverage, throughput and capacity to performance requirements
  • Generate automatic bills of material for close budget tracking
  • Evaluate costs of each system component
  • Understand the impacts of design decisions
  • Ensure necessary security and performance compliance
  • Work with designs in multiple formats from contractors
  • Share detailed reports with customers to show them the predicted network performance


To kick off the design process, users import floorplans and begin their work. As a network design comes together, users select components from databases of tens of thousands of product offerings. These databases contain up-to-date manufacturer specifications and help designers determine how RF signals will travel through a building based on their decisions.


After selecting a component to use—such as a copper, fiber or coax cable—it can be “connected” to another component with the system or network.


Because the database knows all the performance characteristics of that cable and the component it connects to, the software can automatically calculate how these components will work together, determine where performance gaps may exist, identify areas of potential loss, locate potentials for interference, etc. The result: reliable, spotless coverage.


After design is complete, the software generates a bill of material that can be provided to a procurement department; everyone will know exactly which components are needed to bring the design to life.


To make it easy to include Belden in your upcoming RF design plans, our core products are now available as part of the powerful iBwave Design and Ranplan software platforms—both user-friendly tools for in-building wireless projects.


From copper, fiber and coax cable to connectors, pigtails and patch panels, you can confidently design in-building wireless systems that include Belden solutions.


To learn more about Belden’s approach to wireless network deployment, start here.