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What are indoor solutions

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Investing in an indoor solution is preparing for the future

The digital revolution has brought technology into every aspect of our lives. Big Data, Internet of Things (IoT), Artificial Intelligence, Machine Learning, Cloud Computing, Virtual Reality, Augmented Reality...technologies once considered science fiction have now become reality. However, none of these innovations work without connectivity.

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The customer experience is key to success

Our lives today revolve around technology. When a user first enters an establishment, they seek a connectivity experience that supports the technology-enhanced lifestyle to which they have become accustomed. It’s unacceptable to have no connectivity, just like it’s unacceptable to have no hot water or lights at night. On the other hand, great connectivity really improves our quality of life: the more signal bars, the higher our satisfaction.

Mobile connectivity has changed the way we live and work. When you add that we spend 90% of our lives and consume 80% of our data in indoor environments, it naturally follows that we need this essential service indoors more than anywhere else. Unfortunately, the wireless carriers cannot expand cellular networks to every individual building, since they have finite capital budgets and many competing coverage priorities. This means that owners and landlords—not the mobile operators—are now tasked with keeping users connected on their premises. Survey after survey shows that users agree: connectivity is the venue owner’s responsibility.

 

 

 

When technology connects to life

But when it comes to providing a desired connectivity experience, indoor environments pose unique challenges. Walls block antenna signals. High user density slows data flows. Picture this: you are getting lunch at the food court of a mall near your workplace, and while you’re standing in line, you can’t text your significant other because there isn’t enough signal. In these circumstances, a normal macro coverage solution cannot handle the additional demand for data.

 

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As a result, buildings need complementary indoor systems so that users can remain connected. The key is to invest in a solution that meets the needs of today and anticipates the use cases of tomorrow.

To address this problem, telecom engineers have developed an internal and dedicated signal distribution system that connects back to a wireless carrier’s network. If you’re thinking about Wi-Fi, think again. This cellular infrastructure is called a Distributed Antenna System (DAS).

 

Consumption through connectivity

Imagine...

  • A broker who tours a prospective tenant around a brand-new residential tower and pulls out her iPad to demonstrate all of the unique features of the building.

  • A shopper at a mall calls her husband over video to show him a product she saw in a store window. She wants to know his opinion on whether to buy the product.

  • A fan watches his favorite team at a stadium. During halftime, he decides to buy some souvenirs for his family. He wants to make his payment via his cell phone, as he usually does not bring his wallet to the stadium.

  • A hospital patient needs an emergency procedure and must inform family members that while everything is fine, he needs them to come over for help.

  • A hotel guest wants to share his beautiful view from the rooftop pool on Instagram, and there is no Wi-Fi coverage in the area.

All of the above examples are real, and they are likely happening right now all over the world. Now, imagine two scenarios: one in which everyone can easily connect to the mobile data network and get a great signal and the other in which there is no strong signal, limiting all connectivity. In this second scenario, a customer or potential customer will not only have a negative experience, but sales may be lost, impacting your business.

 

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It’s essential to understand each user deeply to build a close relationship with them, from the day they make their first purchase decision until they become a regular customer (and beyond). No moment of interaction can be overlooked. If you guarantee through seamless connectivity that the interactions these users have with your business will be pleasant and effortless, you will earn their loyalty. If not, you may risk giving your greatest asset to the competition.

 

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When Wi-Fi is no longer sufficient

Wi-Fi may be the first thing that comes to mind when it comes to wireless internet. It’s cheap, unregulated and fast to set up. However, Wi-Fi has its weaknesses.

First is network congestion. With hundreds of people and employees connected to a single network at the same time, this can lead to overload, slow speeds and unreliable connections. Since there is no regulation of the network, multiple Wi-Fi networks in close quarters can easily interfere with one another, further worsening the quality of the signal. Then there’s the issue of security: Wi-Fi security is notoriously vulnerable to threats, even with pesky password requirements. Wi-Fi also has no quality of service guarantees.

Since almost everyone today has a paid data plan, why not forego these strains by making better use of your mobile network? LTE has virtually zero network downtime, features robust service-level requirements, avoids any dropped calls, and is designed to accommodate seamless data sessions. LTE security is also the gold standard for encryption and user authorization, since it is based in unique SIM card identities, which means that your data stays safe no matter where you are connected.

Moreover, if there’s ever a problem with the WiFi network, the ensuing access problems could create real chaos. A good mobile network serves as an ideal backup should this occur.

The best user experience is when there are no breaks in connectivity. That is what a DAS guarantees.

 

What is DAS and how does it work?

DAS is a telecom infrastructure solution that connects the networks of the mobile operators to users in a building. Through a system of small antennas installed throughout the property, the solution emits a quality signal that all users can enjoy.

DAS is not a system that “repeats,” “enhances” or “boosts” signals captured externally. Quite the opposite! A true DAS is a standalone system that offers a dedicated service. It is dimensioned to guarantee the best mobile connectivity experience for the site by accounting for characteristics unique to each enterprise, such as the architectural characteristics, flow of people and user profiles.

 

A DAS system consists of three main components:

 

 

Signal source

These units are responsible for both the signal generation produced by operators and also the signal reception by mobile devices. Signal sources manage signal generation and reception by interfacing with each carrier’s network core through which users connect to their desired applications and websites. This signal source is the same from both voice calls and data sessions.

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Interface System

In a dedicated coverage system, the signal produced from the carrier’s “head-end” needs to be applied homogeneously throughout the area that requires the coverage improvement. For example, in a mall, the signal level coming from the source must be consistent at all points in the mall so that the signal can be combined across various technologies and frequencies and multiple operators. As such, there is only one single transmission path, and from this one path the system spreads signals throughout the venue.

Irradiation points

This signal, which has been combined across a single distribution route, requires an irradiation point called an antenna. In cases of dedicated coverage, this antenna, which in reality is a set of micro mobile phone antennas, needs to fit in aesthetically with the surrounding environment

Who installs the DAS?

Historically, DAS was first developed and offered by the wireless carriers, who focused on providing coverage to the largest and densest structures. During the great expansion of mobile telephony, the operators were responsible for building their own infrastructure. A flourishing ecosystem of integrators, contractors and design and monitoring firms emerged to assist the carriers with their DAS implementations.

However, this dynamic quickly created a problem: many DAS installations from different operators competed for the same space, leading to architectural confusion and a recognition that it was much cheaper to build one system and share the infrastructure. But there is another central issue: telecom infrastructure is not the operators' core business. Through these DAS installations, operators were departing from their central focus of offering mobile phone services to the public.

As a result of these factors, neutral hosts like QMC came to the forefront as providers of DAS solutions. Neutral hosts specialize in shared telecommunications infrastructure, providing both capital and expertise to the complex task of orchestrating a DAS implementation and creating a level playing field for the carriers. These companies feature many different business models and levels of collaboration with the market—and QMC’s model is quite different from the rest—but most neutral hosts feature some common attributes that allow them to add value to a DAS implementation.


The advantages of having a Neutral Host DAS solution

Neutral hosts’ specialty in telecommunications infrastructure has given them deep experience and subject matter expertise:

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A multi-sided platform

Infrastructure expertise

Shared system

Centralized contact with operators

Optimize use of space

A quality expert now within reach of your business

The best neutral hosts are experts when it comes to telecommunications infrastructure. Neutral hosts in the past only offered this expertise to the wireless carriers due to market demands, but now that expertise is available other types of companies that require connectivity, since they have become a crucial piece of the end user’s connectivity experience.

In addition to offering the highest quality of telecom infrastructure engineering for your business, neutral hosts are also looking toward the future. 5G is already close to becoming a reality, so it presents a challenge that neutral hosts are as prepared as anyone to meet.

QMC: we are DAS experts

QMC has emerged in this environment as an American multinational wireless infrastructure company with an asset base of 2,500+ projects installed and under development.

We have demonstrated our expertise through turn-key solutions for various segments of the market. Unlike other neutral host providers, which are typically speculative in nature, we empower the enterprise to take control of their own destiny with guaranteed 5G-ready mobile connectivity after the system is installed.

How do we guarantee this connectivity, where so many others have failed? Part of the reason lies in our flexible financial model. We don’t require upfront capital from the enterprise. With QMC, enterprises can pay for the system and its long-term operational costs with a monthly fixed fee.

Another reason why we empower venues with connectivity is how we work with the rest of the wireless ecosystem. We align all designs with our carrier partners in advance, ensuring that our deployments meet their quality standards. Our full suite of capabilities allows us to plug in to projects that have already begun but are perhaps missing certain elements, such as system design, contract management, sparing programs, or long-term capital. We add value while also ensuring that our partners win. That is what “fostering growth” means to us.

Our approach enables connectivity for a wide variety of venues that typically haven't benefited from such a solution before. We help them turn pain points into strengths. In a time of surging data demand, we give venues a chance to improve their user experience and their competitiveness.

The QMC experience in numbers

70+mm
Covered square feet
56mm+
Number of served people
12k+
Number of antennas
Got DAS questions? We've got answers.

End-to-end indoor projects: your business covered at every stage

  • Planning
  • Implementation
  • Maintenance
  • NOC

The first step of any indoor system project at QMC is the solution design. Our team of highly qualified professionals uses top-of-the-line software tools to design a customized solution for your enterprise. Our team is flexible enough to meet your needs while still meeting the carriers’ uncompromising signal quality standards for coverage, quality, and interference. Because we design in-house, we don’t rely on any one vendor—that guarantees that you’ll get the best solution for your venue.

What venues are suitable for a DAS system?

The main types of venues where we operate include multifamily communities, office buildings, hospitals, hotels, universities, malls and airports.

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Multifamily Communities

Multifamily communities represent a new frontier for indoor connectivity. As the COVID-19 era has shown us, where you live is now where you work. If residents can’t work, study, and play from home, they may not stay residents for long. The sheer number of new applications for connectivity at home means that Wi-Fi no longer can support all of the use cases with the reliability that users have come to expect. QMC helps developers and landlords deliver the living experience that residents require, wherever they require it.

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Office Buildings

Commercial office buildings are home to sizeable numbers of subscribers who are always connected to their phones. They also feature large concentrations of pedestrians at the street level. The high density of simultaneously connected devices, various concrete barriers and numerous signals that are transmitted in these areas can impede any mobile signal from reaching inside corporate buildings. This presents an issue as staying connected is vital for businesses. Today, QMC offers solutions that can ensure connectivity for an entire building or even just specific floors.

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Hotels

Hotel guests and staff are constantly online. They use connectivity not only for check-ins and check-outs, but also for turning their smartphone into a room key, making online reservations, checking menus, receiving special discounts and, of course, sharing the experience of staying at the hotel. The future holds many changes for the hospitality sector, from more immersive experiences to a revolution in relationship management by collecting and processing new sources of data from guests. All of this will be completely dependent on mobile technology.

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Hospitals

It is common for hospitals to encounter problems with cellular signal because of the number of connected medical devices and other physical barriers. Other important issues for this segment include real-time access to patient data and ease of communication between hospital staff. Hospitals may care for hundreds of thousands of patients every year and process large volumes of tests. Delays in receiving test results can cause unproductive consultations, dissatisfied patients, or even fatalities. Above all, patients need to keep in touch with work, family, friends… Unfortunately, it is far from uncommon to find hospitals with no cell phone coverage at all.

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Universities

Education has undergone major changes in our lifetime, especially in the past year of COVID-19. The Internet broadened the definition of what a classroom is with distance learning and expanded the university structure by allowing for digital access to entire library collections, research, and classes. The commercial reach and potential of educational institutions has spread throughout the globe, which means that connectivity has become a crucial lever for universities to maintain their relevance and prestige. Campus safety has also surged to the forefront as a chief concern for educators, and cellular connectivity helps campus security protect student or faculty members in the case of an emergency. Connectivity also improves team communication, allowing students and faculty to become much more efficient and synchronized. The quality of telecom infrastructure offered underpins the digital success of universities.

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Malls

Shopping centers bring together large groups in one space that has many physical barriers. These are two factors that can limit the reception of a good signal from the external network. This common lack of signal directly affects two audiences: customers and salespeople. Both require good connectivity to maintain a positive business relationship. Customers, with smartphones always in hand, are regularly looking for different offers and experiences which sellers in this digital age can only provide if they are connected. It is also worth remembering that there is no sale without connectivity, since point-of-sale terminals, ubiquitous these days, cannot make a charge if no good connection is present. Payment in cash is becomingly increasingly rare; what matters today are credit cards and point-of-sale flexibility to accommodate them.

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Airports

Travelers and staff at airports depend on a good mobile signal. Between comings and goings, passengers and employees use their phones as routers for their laptops, surf the web while waiting to board, employ their phones during the boarding process and reach first for their phones as soon as the plane touches the ground. Whether to request a ride, warn of possible delays, work productively, or be entertained during a wait, the mobile network is the fundamental layer that enables our main activities at an airport.

Sound familiar? Get in touch!

DAS as a solution for your enterprise

Active DAS is ideal for large venues, such as malls, hotels, stadiums, hospitals, airports, universities and convention centers where considerable cellular capacity is required due to the high flow of people. It is an easily adaptable infrastructure for new technologies such as 5G technology and can be designed and installed for projects of any size. It also allows for remote monitoring. The active DAS system uses fiber optic cables to distribute the signal from a base station - which gathers all the signals from the operators in one place - to antennas distributed throughout the property.

Passive DAS uses passive components (hence the name) such as coaxial cables, splitters and diplexers to distribute the signal, which originates directly from the operators' radio equipment through the low power antennas. It does so without converting the signal from RF to optical signal as in an Active DAS. The passive system does offer lower costs in relation to an active system, but it cannot be easily upgraded to new technologies or support other adaptations, such as changes in layout and the inclusion of additional coverage areas. It also does not allow for remote monitoring and is not recommended for larger projects. Passive DAS systems work best in smaller venues where the flow of people is more limited.

C-DAS is a centralized solution that incorporates a DAS solution within an existing QMC installation. Whether with DAS or LITE DAS, when combined with a centralized solution, significant savings can be obtained by eliminating certain CAPEX costs and reducing OPEX.

A C-DAS offers the same quality as a DAS but enjoys the economy of a centralized solution.

Lite DAS is a customized DAS solution to cover only one or a handful of floors. It’s a quick and easy installation, ideal for corporate offices that are concentrated in a particular set of floors.

QMC has coverage solutions not only for different segments but also for different floor plates and sizes. This allows us to guarantee high-quality signal in any situation.

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See who else already has one of our dedicated indoor connectivity solutions

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Torre Koi and QMC: supplying cellular coverage from day 1 onward

At 919 feet in height, Torre Koi is one of the tallest buildings in Latin America. The building is a mixed-use skyscraper with 64 floors situated in San Pedro Garza García in Monterrey, Mexico. Given its status as a symbol of the city of Monterrey, Torre Koi’s management knew from the beginning that they needed to supply high-quality services to tenants, and that included cellular coverage to all of the building complex.

Read the case study
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Viva Barranquilla and QMC: improving the client’s shopping experience

Viva Barranquilla is a prominent shopping mall situated in Barranquilla, Colombia. It’s part of the largest network of shopping malls in the country, Viva Malls (of Grupo Éxito), which draws from more than 110 years in retail and 20 years of expertise in real estate. Viva Barranquilla has several high-quality stores and receives a large volume of tourists, who seek an outstanding shopping experience—and that is directly related to cellular connectivity.

Read the case study
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São Paulo Expo and QMC: indoor coverage for the foremost events destination in Latin America

São Paulo Expo is located on the Rodavia dos Imigrantes, in the neighborhood of Jabaquara in the southern region of the capital city. After its inauguration in 2016 and increasingly high frequency of events (up to 120 in 2019), the existing telephony infrastructure in the building could no longer support the large volumes of people. As with the supply of electricity and water, São Paulo Expo needed cellular coverage to function perfectly throughout its pavilion.

Read the case study
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Vila Galé and QMC: the challenge of bringing connectivity to remote areas

The Vila Galé Group is the second largest hotel group in Portugal and ranks among the top 200 hotel groups in the world. One of its ventures, Vila Galé Cumbuco Hotel, is an all-inclusive resort on Praia do Cumbuco located 3km away from the nearest village. The resort was built far away from the state capital, Fortaleza, and seeks to bring development to the region - and that includes cellular infrastructure. In order to bring their guests the best possible experience, Vila has come together with QMC to create the best possible connectivity solution for the resort.

Read the case study
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“QMC was the best choice to implement the DAS system to solve the communication issues that we had in our mall. Professionally done, without interference or unforeseen events, our clients now have a better connectivity experience."

Ricardo González
Real Estate Asset Manager, Grupo Éxito

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“We must always work to improve the quality of the guest experience. We do not want mobile signal to be the issue that makes the customer choose another destination over us. QMC helped us, through  capillarity and flexibility, to achieve this goal.”

André Corcos
Infrastructure Director at Vila Galé Group

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“The great advantage of having QMC as a partner is the ease of having a person on call to meet the client’s every need, without bureaucracy or infinite layers of customer support, in addition to its great technical know-how.”

Daniel Galante
General Director at São Paulo Expo

Mini FAQ

Is the project implementation simple?

Does DAS need maintenance?

Is QMC a Wi-Fi company?

Are the antennas like cell towers?

Why do we need to have antennas inside the establishments? Is the mobile tower outside not enough to guarantee cell phone connectivity?

Can we choose the antenna model that best fits our mall design?

Is it necessary to break the ceiling to install the antennas?

Is an antenna required for each operator?

Where does the mobile signal from operators come from?

What is the advantage of working with QMC and not the operators directly?

Do you maintain the equipment room?

Are these antennas repeater signals?

Do you collect location data from the devices?

Are you responsible for users data?