System installed to improve indoor cell phone reception

Washington University recently installed a system in several buildings on the Danforth Campus to enable cell phone providers to direct their signals into interior spaces.

The underground garage at the Danforth University Center, the Knight Center and parts of Simon Hall will benefit from the initial installation of this system.

Each licensed carrier in the St. Louis area has been invited to connect its cell network to the Washington University equipment. T-Mobile has become the first carrier to connect to the system, and T-Mobile customers are now able to more reliably make and receive cell calls inside these buildings. Sprint plans to complete their connection to the system by the end of the year. Discussions with Verizon, U.S. Cellular and AT&T Mobility are under way.

The system uses antennae placed throughout targeted spaces to capture cellular signals and relay them though a network to the point of connection to the cellular companies’ devices.

Each cellular service provider uses different technology, and each connection has unique challenges that require design efforts and investment by the cellular carriers.

An implementation proposal for the Danforth University Center is being reviewed. Once construction of the building was complete, an engineering study was conducted, and system specifications have been defined for the building.

In addition to the improvements resulting from this multicarrier in-building system, cell phone providers in other areas of campus have made several investments.

Sprint has a cell tower on the intramural fields located on the South 40 and recently installed a signal enhancement system inside Eliot, Liggett, Koenig and Village House residence halls.

U.S. Cellular also has a cell tower located on the intramural fields and is installing a system to boost the signal strength in the residential area on the northwest corner of the Danforth Campus.

Verizon recently activated a new cell tower on Mudd House, along the southern edge of the South 40 housing area, with a goal of improving reception in residential buildings. Verizon also has a cell tower on the Knight Center.

AT&T Mobility has several cell sites on University buildings near the Danforth Campus and is discussing additional improvements with the University.