Hotel Technology Update DAS iBAHN ensures that new DAS installations will enhance both cellular and Wi-Fi performance A growing number of hotels are considering installation of Digital Antenna Systems to improve degrading cell phone performance within their properties. What is often overlooked is the potential negative impact a new DAS might have on the Wi-Fi system if not properly designed and installed. If the needs of BOTH systems are not taken into consideration, the result will often be detrimental to the Wi-Fi system’s performance. iBAHN can help.
What are Digital Antenna Systems, and why should I care? For safety and liability reasons, many hotels have recently upgraded their window glass to “hurricane glass,” which appears to have a detrimental effect on cell phone performance/coverage within the hotel. Consequently, many hotels are now evaluating the addition of a distributed antenna system (DAS) within the hotel to improve degraded cell phone performance. These systems can be used successfully to improve cell phone coverage. However, the DAS may also adversely impact the hotel’s wireless Internet services. iBAHN has seen many instances where DAS installers and equipment manufacturers are not well versed in how these systems will interact with installed Wi-Fi systems, and have improperly installed these services, causing issues for both the wireless and the cell phone coverage inside the hotel. Issues a hotel may face include: • Insufficient wireless access points or antennae to support both services and maintain a high quality of service for both. • The use of improper cable types and lengths that may substantially degrade performance and trigger costly repairs. • A system with inconsistent signal strengths and performance across the property.
Here are some questions that your DAS provider should be prepared to answer: • What is the number of concurrent (simultaneous) users designed for at each access point? • What “guaranteed” primary and secondary signal strengths have been designed into the system? • How many total system users is the system designed for, and how much bandwidth is dedicated to the system? • What empirical data can they provide to support their proposal? • What RF experience/education does their team have, specifically involving site surveys and system design? • Are there any areas within the hotel property that require special design considerations (i.e. meeting or conference rooms)? • How does the design incorporate these “special needs” areas? • What ongoing support and break/fix will they provide for the DAS? Will it be a third party? • What references can be provided for their support services? • Has the provider previously installed DAS in hotel environments? Where? When? • What hotelier references can they provide to substantiate DAS performance in previous installations? • Does the proposed DAS meet FCC guidelines? Has it been approved by the FCC? • Can they provide approval documentation from the FCC?
What does this mean to the hotelier? Adding a DAS to a hotel is a significant investment. Hotels need to be certain: • A DAS is really required to enhance degraded cellular phone performance. • The DAS will be designed with the needs of the existing Wi-Fi system in mind as well. • The final combined DAS/Wi-Fi installations will function superbly for hotel guests. This can only be done when experts from both disciplines work together from the beginning to design, install, and configure the DAS.
How does iBAHN help? iBAHN is a hotel’s technology partner. Should a hotel decide to add a DAS system in the hotel, iBAHN would like to work with the hotel to make sure that it is designed, installed and configured to integrate with existing Internet services. Please allow iBAHN to work with your DAS supplier UP FRONT in the site evaluation and design processes to ensure the installed DAS will provide the Wi- Fi coverage and performance that will maximise hotel guest Internet experience.
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