Mobile indoor coverage is a headache for many of our members, we discovered during the animated discussion at our well-attended session on mobile indoor coverage on Tuesday 21 October, in the presence of both Proximus and Mobistar.
Companies rely on the mobile operators for indoor coverage, but visitors expect indoor coverage for all mobile operators. However, finding a solution for all three mobile operators is complex and costly, for companies and public institutions alike.
The session was kicked-off by John Coudron from Colruyt who explained the challenges that company faces. With the exponential growth of GSM use, Colruyt is struggling with multi-operator coverage to service its clients. They expect to be able to use their mobile devices in all the warehouses. But indoor coverage does not work well in a warehouse filled with goods. Plus, with the stronger environmental rules, the buildings are increasingly well insulated, causing further difficulties.
Bart Baestroey from NGIS sketched in the landscape: before implementing mobile indoor coverage, you must make a prediction of signal coverage, do extensive testing and identify dead zones. This is not something you can fix yourself, because the BIPT does not allow you to. And be wary of technical DIY solutions, which have not been certified by the operators.
So what can you do? Firstly, inform yourself about the solutions offered today by the operators. If you want multi-operator coverage, you can consider building your own distributed antenna system, using carrier-grade equipment, and have its design validated by the operators. Again, this is expensive and complicated.
The presentations were concluded by Karel Van Oostveldt from the MIVB/STIB, who explained how they solved mobile coverage in the underground infrastructure and in their buildings. Some recommendations from Karel included writing out a RFQ for both mobile subscriptions and mobile coverage at the same time, and making sure that, after a certain period, the passive installation (antennas and cabling) belongs to you.
BELTUG members can view the presentations from the session here.