Let’s get this one straight: humans are like aquatic creatures – highly fluid and mobile. Tying ourselves at a desk or a location for work (or not) doesn’t cut it anymore. This is clearly depicted in a way mobile devices have become our preferred means of communication, and gone are the days when we used to ‘call a place’ – now we ‘call a person’!
There’s been a significant shift on the cell phone usage pattern too. Mobile phones used to be predominantly used as a means to reach someone whilst they’re not ‘at their location’ – now more than 70% of mobile traffic happens indoors. Not only that, but our mobile usage has also dramatically shifted from ‘voice only’ to highly data-driven and bandwidth-hungry usage. From Emails, Images and Videos, to Social Media, Live videos, and Specialized applications. The pattern and fashion of mobile use has changed spectacularly over a very short span of time.
So the fact that we still have to wonder why our applications run slow or irresponsive whilst indoors is an embarrassment.
If you’re still thinking IBW through, perhaps this article will help; if you’re ready to make IBW happen at your premise, kudos to you! Here are five steps of IBW implementation that we hope will help you paint a picture in your mind of what it’ll take for a successful deployment of IBW project.
If you’ve ever thought that making IBW project an absolute success is a daunting task, then it’s crucial that I underline this: it’s truly not… so long as you get your design right! Whether you’re a building owner or a facilities manager; and whether it’s a new construction or you’re doing a refresh – IBW is a utility now and your tenants expect (and deserve) a well-lit building where they won’t have to run to the balcony or the nearest window to take a call.
Architecting a good IBW design means a number of things: ensuring the site surveys are done thoroughly and every building dynamic is accounted for, understanding the user-mix and their typical needs and demands, and taking into account all incumbent services and infrastructures. A good IBW design covers every corners and surfaces of a facility with least overlap between already serviced areas. It’s crucial to obtain a detailed view of the enterprise environment before moving sitting down to design a solution.
Getting the fitting measurements taken is all great, but if tailoring a suit doesn’t take those measurements into account, then it won’t fit. Pretty simple, really! Proper and correct deployment of the design that was architected is crucial to correct manifestation of the proposed solution. There are different IBW solution, and DAS, in particular, offers various tiers of power level that is applicable to different environments. Getting the power right is pivotal. Similarly, during deployment phase, it’s also important to align the communications infrastructure to the physical structure of the facility. For example, what type of cable do we need to run between headends and access points, and what is currently available? Proper integration with the operator network is another element that needs to be done right.
As your designs have been well-incorporated in the implementation phase, the job is far from done. The cables have been run, the hardware have been installed, and everything has been integration – and now is time to turn the lights on and bring the project to life! At this stage, it’s important to note that not everything may work flawlessly and as expected, and some changes and tweaks may be required. As we all know, even the very well-tailored suits may at times need some restitching. Be ready to adjust and readjust. Make sure you have resources accounted for and at hand to re-walk the process and check everything – and be meticulous about it.
So your service is commissioned and your project has wrapped up. Or is it? Optimization is a key step that ensures there’s a high Quality of Service (QoS), no area of interference, and adequate capacity to cover every inch of the building. Have the uplink and downlink paths been checked? Is there an overlap, and have the antennas been been adjusted to reduce that? There are many ways to optimize the infrastructure that’s been deployed to ensure the best and most efficient quality of service is achieved.
Once the above four steps are performed and you’re pleased with the performance and efficiency, you’d think you’re ready to walk away. But as I said before – we are like aquatic creatures – we’re very fluid and mobile. Your tenants will move in and out, their demands will change, their needs and requirements won’t remain static – it’ll shift, expand, and constantly develop. As a result, it calls for an IBW solution that is ready to change with the changing capacity and coverage demands. The only way to remain on top of this is to ensure the IBW solutions are well monitored and maintained. Just like pilots are trained to ‘always remain ahead of your aircraft’, it’s imperative to always remain on top of your own infrastructure, and be nimble and ready enough to proactively respond to potential changes – be it coverage, capacity, or performance.