Redwood Credit Union Case Study – A Look At Signal Booster’s Effectiveness in The Office

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Case Study Overview

Cell phone conversations can at times be frustrating. But they shouldn’t be, after all doesn’t technology exist to make our lives easier. Why is it then that we submit ourselves to communication riddled with static, dropped calls, and echos? Obviously they are typically much more useful to us as tools, now not only for purely communicative purposes as many phones double as powerful computers that fit in our hands.  However no matter how useful they become they will always be limited by the signal they receive. Most of the time cell phones work exactly as expected, but today we are talking about one of those times when they do not. As we continue to advance the technology it will become increasingly important for the average person to understand how and why this happens.

 

Redwood’s Problem

Redwood Credit Union is located in Santa Rosa, California. A fairly large town nestled in Scotts Valley just north of the San Francisco Bay. It should also be noted that Redwood was not alone in their poor signal around town, according to CellReception.com the town has been rated by customers to be fairly poor in cell reception. With the carrier average rated at 2.1/5 stars and Verizon at the top with 2.8/5 stars. Despite the fact that this problem seemed pervasive Redwood could not sit by and allow themselves to continuously miss business opportunities because of dropped calls, staticky lines, or poor reception. So Redwood contacted HiBoostUSA to attempt to fix these issues.

 

Technical Assessment

Before providing a solution the first step was to asses the signal reception around the property and identify the nearby towers. During this assessment HiBoost found that Redwood was located within two miles of five signal towers. This came as no surprise because after surveying the signal on the roof it was found that they received decent signal, between -65 and -80 dB depending upon the exact location. However this was not the case indoors. Once inside the signal dropped considerably. With T-Mobile averaging a dB of -91.7, AT&T averaging -99.6, Verizon -87.6, and Sprint at -71.9. This included some large dead zones, one area even got as low as -107 with AT&T. After learning this information it was decided that the best course of action would be to set up a system of omnidirectional antennas and amplifiers throughout the Redwood Credit Union building.

 

Action Taken

HiBoost installed one outdoor donor antenna as the signal strength outdoors was strong enough to support a single antenna. Afterwards in order to distribute the signal across the entire building they ran the signal through a splitter that sent it to boosters on each floor and distributed around the building. The boosters Redwood chose were the powerful HiBoost Industrial 100k, this booster can cover up to 100,000 square feet of area and they claim that it is the most powerful 83 dB signal amplifier in its class as confirmed by FCC testing. This boosted signal was distributed by a combination of 17 panel and ceiling antennas across the entirety of Redwood’s office.

 

A diagram showing how the booster system was set up at Redwood Credit Union, the subject of the case study. The outdoor antenna was positioned on the roof and sends the signal through a splitter making it possible to distribute it to all five of the boosters which then sent the signal to the indoor boosters.

Results

As a result there was a large improvement in cellular service to Redwood Credit Union. Some areas of the building actually experienced a gain of up to 47 dB. Each carrier also experienced gains with Verizon increasing the most with a whopping 44.5 dB increase followed closely by AT&T with a 43.9 increase, and T-Mobile and Sprint increased by 29.5 and 11.2 respectively. This brought each carriers signal strength to an average of -62.3 for T-Mobile, -55.8 for AT&T, -43.1 for Verizon, and -60.8 for Sprint.

 

T-Mobile AT&T Verizon Sprint
Beginning Average Signal Strength -91.7 -99.6 -87.6 -71.9
Average Signal Gain 29.5 43.9 44.5 11.2
End Average Signal Strength -62.3 -55.8 -43.1 -60.8

 

Whereas before much of the area was covered by signal that would be deemed as low quality, now every single carrier was receiving excellent quality signal.

 

A chart showing signal strength in decibels and its corresponding relative strength. For example less than -70 dBm is excellent.

 

Conclusion

As mobile devices become more prevalent in our lives we also become more dependent upon them. Not only do we need them to function in our personal lives but they have an increasingly large role in our businesses as well. In the case of Redwood Credit Union their lack of signal was impacting their bottom line which can be deadly to a business. Thankfully the location of their business was close to cell towers enabling them to boost their signal that was not readily available to others in the region.After a quick assessment it was easy to set up a package to fix the areas that were lacking. Using an array composed of the powerful Industrial 100k boosters and indoor antennas they were able to take the outdoor signal and bypass the interference the building was creating. This produced results that exceeded expectations. Not only did it entirely fix the dead zones experienced around the building but it improved general signal strength and quality tremendously. Redwood was now in a position to properly utilize their mobile networks to maximize their business potential.