Wireless Infrastructure to Enable a Connected World


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In-Building Networks

The 5G Opportunity in Buildings and Venues

5G brings important new opportunities for building and venue owners to enhance the user experience, meet demands, and drive revenue.

Data consumption among smartphone users continues to see enormous increases. The average smartphone in North America used 7.2 gigabytes (GB) of data by the end of 2017, and it is expected to rise to 49 GB by the end of 20231. With 80% of mobile data being consumed indoors2, it is critical that buildings have a reliable 5G network to handle this explosion of data.

5G wireless technology delivers three key features that will take the user experience well above and beyond today’s 4G capabilities:

  • Enhanced mobile broadband that supports faster speeds and large amounts of data transmission
  • The Internet of Things (IoT) applications, so thousands of devices can simultaneously connect to a single network input
  • Ultra-Reliable, Low-Latency Communication (URLLC), enabling high network availability with minimal delays

When these capabilities are extended indoors, 5G penetration will allow property owners to engage with customers and tenants to potentially increase loyalty and property value, while also improving the operational functionality of their buildings through the IoT. These in-building networks can utilize 5G through traditional wireless service providers, by using their licensed frequencies, or through alternative service providers, using newly released shared spectrum called Citizens Broadband Radio Service (CBRS).

5G Opens New Doors in Buildings and Venues

5G wireless connectivity in buildings and venues will enhance existing applications and enable new and innovative ones. The applications are as varied as the buildings themselves and the businesses within them. They include:

  • Virtual reality applications, giving end users immersive and interactive multimedia experiences and providing new sales opportunities in retail, sports, entertainment, hospitality, and other industries
  • Retail IoT applications, analyzing customer buying behaviors to optimize store layouts, predicting product demands, and customizing signage and advertising
  • Smart building applications, automating facility management devices, such as Heating, Ventilation, and Air Conditioning (HVAC), lighting, security devices, and other operations to optimize building operations and costs
  • Telemedicine applications, bringing people much-needed medical expertise and health monitoring without an in-person visit

A Holistic Approach to In-Building 5G Deployments Is Essential

While the full potential of 5G is unknown today, one thing is certain: Building owners must have a cost-effective and aesthetic in-building wireless network for wireless providers to enable the delivery of 5G services on their property.

Building owners should seek to deploy a fiber-rich network capable supporting strong cellular strength, as well as smart building applications such as video security, Wi-Fi, public safety, and the IoT. This reduces the number of parallel cables running through walls and ceilings, as well as multiple antennas mounted to ceilings throughout the building. Not only does a single infrastructure improve the architectural appeal of the property, but it also minimizes unnecessary construction and utility costs at the expense of the building owner.

This approach also makes it faster, easier, and more cost-effective for wireless providers to offer services to the building owner.

Property Owners Must Partner With Experts

5G comes with a number of installation complexities and considerations that 4G didn’t have, including:

  • Planning and deploying a fiber-rich infrastructure to accommodate multiple wireless providers and technologies, including 4G, 5G, and Wi-Fi
  • Understanding the compliance, signal propagation, and limitations that exist with many wireless providers’ new millimeter wave spectrum
  • Bringing power to numerous 5G radios and antenna locations in the most efficient and cost-effective way possible
  • Minimizing the visual impact of equipment for multiple wireless providers and proliferating additional 5G antennas through a multitenant network

To address these challenges and streamline deployments, building owners need to partner with experts who are wireless provider agnostic and can resolve each of these issues. Understanding the wireless space is also a critical element in successfully negotiating with wireless providers for the benefit of the owner and their tenants.

We Understand 5G In-Building Network Requirements

At American Tower, we have a responsibility to support our property owners and have been a trusted in-building wireless infrastructure solutions partner for nearly 20 years. With deep technical expertise and extensive experience building, deploying, and managing neutral-host wireless networks, we understand how to:

  • Design and build 5G in-building networks to support multiple wireless service providers, as well as licensed and shared wireless spectrums.
  • Build a single, fiber-rich, 5G-enabled infrastructure that supports network requirements for today and tomorrow.
  • Work closely with property owners to ensure antennas are deployed in unobtrusive ways, meeting their aesthetic requirements.
  • Leverage technologies, such as digital power, to reduce the cost of pulling electrical power to each new network component.

For more information about our solutions for buildings and venues, complete the form below.

Lisa Lombino

Lisa has over 23 years of technical, operational, and sales experience within the telecommunications field. She joined American Tower in 2012 and has held leadership roles in both engineering and sales.

1 Ericcson Mobility Report, June 2018
2 Cisco Vision: 5G – THRIVING INDOORS

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