3G & 4G Mobile Phone Signal Booster Installation – Macquarie Park
The Client’s Brief
This college in Macquarie Park was in need of assistance to help their student residents. The mobile reception for the Macquarie University students was non-existent at their relatively new building. Students were forced to walk outside to simply receive phone calls or browse their friends’ Instagram Stories. There was always a lack of signal across all mobile networks – no Telstra 3G or 4G signal, no Optus 3G or 4G signal and no Vodafone 3G or 4G signal. This was having an impact on student’s daily lives.
The issue impacted 2 conjoined buildings, which were both 4 levels (with meeting rooms on each level), for a total of:
- Over 80 apartments, each with their own bathroom;
- Common kitchen areas for each floor; and
- Communal designated study rooms.
The task was set and Install My Antenna was contacted in order to provide a highly reliable and efficient solution to solve this issue.
Install My Antenna’s Solution
The solution comprised the following steps to ensure that exactly the right equipment was chosen, and the installation would be completed and performed optimally the first time.
The purpose of the initial site visit is two fold.
- 3G & 4G Signal Measurement
Firstly, it allows us to complete a comprehensive site signal measurement. We are able to take 3G & 4G signal power and signal quality readings for all three networks, Telstra, Vodafone and Optus. Taking an onsite signal tests to confirm there is a strong and reliable incoming signal is crucial to any installation, let alone larger installations. Whilst desktop surveys can assist in locating nearby towers, desktop signal reading estimates will rarely take into account trees and bushes in the area, as well as tall buildings that can completely block signal from getting into the system. In this case, we were able to locate an appropriate position for the donor antennas on the rooftop of one building, such that signal strength and quality was sufficient from one single tower nearby.
- Cable Runs & Indoor Antenna Placement
Secondly, the site visit allows us to take note of cable runs required, including lead-in, backbone and coverage antenna cabling. Depending on the length of these runs, we may have to use varying types of cable to ensure signal attenuation is not significant. We are also able to assess the surrounding building materials and provide a recommendation on signal penetration through walls, doors, furniture and other materials. On this occasion, we determined that a total of 16x coverage antennas were required in order to sufficiently fill the area with signal and allow the signal to penetrate through the double brick walls throughout the building.
Office Design & Quote
Back at the office, Install My Antenna worked with their engineering partners and product suppliers to formulate the best design whilst keeping cost to a minimum. This is where things get a little more complicated.
There are calculations of the incoming signal which take into account signal power (3G: RSCP; 4G: RSRP), signal quality (3G: EC/IO; 4G: RSRQ) and throughput (SINR, CNR). This helps with an initial assessment of the incoming signal to see if there are any issues or what the issue is (rather than simply being too far from a nearby telco tower, there may be other issues, including perhaps too many different signal sources in the same area, which can cause interference).
We also complete calculations of signal loss over the proposed cable runs. Long cable runs can cause significant signal loss. There are set calculations for this given the type of cable you are using, with the loss varying depending on the frequency band used on 3G or 4G boosters.
The other balancing act is finally determining the quantity, type and location of coverage antennas, used to transmit and receive the the amplified mobile signal. There are many options available here, and getting this right will ensure you cover every last corner of your designated area (including having the correct cable and connector type to each of these antennas).
Finally, we are able to combine all this information into a design, price and quote for the end customer for their consideration.
In this particular case, below is the final recommendation we made to the client, and subsequently installed for the customer in January 2020.
Install My Antenna’s Solution & Installation
For this sized job, we required 2x ‘Cel Fi clusters’. Each cluster consisted of:
- 1x Cel Fi GO to boost Telstra 3G signal
- 1x Cel Fi GO to boost Telstra 4G signal
- 1x Cel Fi GO 2 to boost Optus 3G signal and Optus 4G signal
- 1x Cel Fi GO 2 to boost Vodafone 3G signal and Vodafone 4G signal
Each cluster was then able to serve 2x floors of both buildings, feeding 8x coverage antennas each (ceiling mounted dome antennas were used in this case). In addition, the following components were used:
- Donor Antenna & Mast: 2x High Gain Grid Parabolic Directional Antennas for 700 – 2700MHZ, installed on tri stay bar roof mounts.
- Lead-in Cable: 2x parallel ~45m cable runs in Heliax LDF4-50A 1/2 inch coaxial cable.
- Mobile Phone Signal Boosters: 4x Cel Fi GO Telstra signal boosters, 2x Cel Fi GO 2 Optus signal boosters, 2x Cel Fi GO 2 Vodafone signal boosters.
- 4×4 Port Hybrid Combiner: 2x combiners to feed each Cel Fi cluster
- Splitters: High isolation, 2way, 3way and 4way splitters for 700 – 2700MHZ.
- Coverage Antennas: 16x ceiling mounted dome antennas.
- Other cabling: LMR400 cable, with a range of terminations for N-type and SMA connectors. RG58 patch leads were also used.
In total, over 800m of cable was used for this installation, with over 50 N-type connector terminations! This was a real testament to the technicians who worked on this installation.
Following the physical installation of all cabling and other components, with registration of the Cel Fi GO devices complete, the building is now ‘live’ with full coverage throughout the building. The client has received fantastic feedback from the students and other staff members, who are enjoying checking their Facebook accounts from their very own beds!
High Quality Mobile Signal Booster Installation
It should be stressed that for a commercial mobile signal booster installation, it is very important to engage with an experienced, quality focused installation team. There are many design floors that we come across out in the field, as well as execution issues. In particular, poor treatment of cable can cause permanent damage to that cable and result in underperforming systems, and bad installation techniques can cause passive intermodulation (PIM) issues, as well as noise and other quality issues in the installation that can dramatically reduce voice and data speed performance.
If you are experiencing poor mobile phone reception, contact Install My Antenna today. Install My Antenna are the Australia wide experts for the installation of mobile reception antennas and amplifiers. Contact one of our design and installation experts on 1300 800 123. We can help with all aspects of your project, including design, installation and commissioning. With over 35 years experience, you are in safe hands with our office staff, design experts and technicians.
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