Sydney – 3G/4G Mobile Reception Antenna & Amplifier Installation

April 2019

The Client’s Brief

Following the successful installation of a Cel Fi GO amplifier (and related equipment) at their previous premises, this national car dealership wanted a similar installation completed in their nearby new car sales and service centre in Sydney. The client had a large portion of its site that had no mobile phone coverage for its company network, Telstra. Having been a newly constructed building, this was not a legacy issue, or an issue due to a change of network. There was always a lack of unreliable Tesltra 3G, 4G and 4GX signal (on all frequencies or bands utilised by Telstra). This was having a huge impact on its business in the following 2 locations:

  1. The Service Centre: This is the location where Service customers drop-off and pickup their cars during a routine service. It is also the location where the Service staff have their offices, where they use their mobile phones for incoming/outgoing calls, SMS messages and other general smartphone activity. Critically, it is also the location of the Service centre’s EFTPOS terminals, used to process all transactions. The issue here was two-fold. Service centre staff could not use their mobile phones in their own offices, and the stafff processing all card billing transactions were forced to walk outside in order to get adequate 3G reception for each transaction to ‘go through’. This was both frustrating for staff and also very unprofessional for a highly reputable car dealership. Not to mention the Service customers themselves that were on the Telstra network and waiting for long periods of time without any mobile reception!
  2. The Service Workshop: Once the cars are dropped off for a service, this is where the magic happens. The service workshop is where the mechanics get their hands dirty. If you haven’t seen one in action, it can get very busy, with many mechanics each working on 10-12 cars at any one time, moving them in and out of the workshop and constantly checking manuals and other head staff for advice and tips on how to maintain the best car condition. Mostly due to the reinforced concrete construction material and the fact it was located ‘semi-underground’ on the Basement level, this area was receiving no mobile phone reception and was a complete mobile blackspot for Telstra. It was critical to have 3G/4G reception for the staff as they needed to co-ordinate with each other (and other locations) on mobile phone calls, and they also needed a reliable internet connection in order to talk to their overseas manufacturer colleagues in the instance there was an unusual fault.

The task was set and Install My Antenna was contacted in order to provide a highly reliable and efficient solution to solve these two major issues.

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.

Initial Site Visit

The purpose of the initial site visit is two fold.

Firstly, it allows us to complete a comprehensive site signal measurement. We are able to take signal power and quality readings for all three networks, Telstra, Vodafone and Optus. Taking an onsite signal test and assessment is much more reliable and detailed compared to many online or desktop based signal measurements surveys. In this case, we were able to locate the precise location on the client’s rooftop for the appropriate donor antenna, where signal strength and quality was optimal, whilst also balancing the incoming cable run.

As a word of caution, having completed a number of onsite signal tests, we have found that these can vary significantly from the results of the desktop based signal surveys.

Secondly, during the initial site visit, we are able to map out and take notes on the work required to install any components of the system. This allows us to take our notes back to the office to formulate the optimal design, balancing both performance and cost. In this case, following a comprehensive walk-through of all rooftops, it was determined that the antenna(s) needed to be located on the top rooftop. This was no ordinary cable run, and one much longer than is typically required. With a ~70m horizontal cable route, the total incoming cable run was in the order of ~85m.

Office Design & Quote

With all the information now at our fingertips, it is time for the office engineers to create the optimal 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. The general theory with this is that the longer the cable run, the more loss of signal power. There are set calculations for this given the type of cable you are using, but the loss varies depending on what frequency you are tuned in to (the higher the frequency, the higher the loss). So, if you are using Telstra’s 2600Mhz 4G band, be careful that you are using the right sized cable to get sufficient signal into your mobile booster!

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, you can see below the final recommendation we made to the client.

Install My Antenna’s Solution & Installation

In this particular case, given the large floor space required to be covered (over ~2,000sqm), we recommended the installation of 2x Telstra Cel Fi GO mobile reception amplifiers systems. The install was identical, but for the location of the final coverage antennas, as one Cel Fi GO was designated for The Service Centre and the second Cel Fi GO was designated for The Service Workshop. The other components of the install were as follows (from top to bottom):

  1. Donor Antenna & Mast: 2x High Gain Log Periodic Directional Antennas for 700 – 2700MHZ, installed on curved fascia brackets, in order to prevent any unnecessary penetrations in to the client’s new kliplok roof.
  2. Lead-in Cable: 2x parallel ~85m cable runs in 50ohm Heliax LDF4-50A 1/2 inch coaxial cable. Each penetration point was waterproofed with dektites and silicon.
  3. Mobile Phone Amplifier: 2x Cel Fi GO mobile phone amplifiers for buildings, locked to the Telstra network.
  4. Splitters: High isolation, 2way and 3way splitters for 700 – 2700MHZ.
  5. Coverage Antennas: 3x ceiling mounted dome antennas and 2x wall mounted panel antennas.
  6. Other cabling: LMR400 cable, with a range of terminations for N-type and SMA connectors. RG58 patch leads were also used.

It is fair to say that this installation required much more cabling requirements than is usually required, due to the size and design of the building. In total, there was over 275m of cable run in a combination of rigid conduit, flexible conduit and on communications cable tray, as and where required. Given The Service Workshop had a ceiling height of ~4-5m, a scissor lift was required for all cabling and coverage antenna installation in that particular part of the 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’ and every last corner of The Service Centre and The Service Workshop now have full mobile phone coverage. The client is extremely happy and staff are enjoying their upgraded workplace.

If you are experiencing zero or 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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