Two Projects, ONE™ Platform: How Connectivity Wireless is leading the way for Converged Networks in 2017

September 1, 2017

Brittanie Boyd, Marketing Specialist

ATLANTA, GA--(Marketwired - September 1, 2017) - Wireless network integrator Connectivity Wireless Solutions is leading the way for convergence as it completes three of the largest in-building networks in the country – University of Iowa and San Diego Convention Center.

From Comic-Con to kick off, the converged network systems installed at these sites are designed to support mobile connectivity for some of the largest crowds in the nation for years to come.

“These are two diverse venues with vastly different needs,” said Clayt Mason, CEO of Connectivity Wireless. “We are passionate about helping customers identify and implement the best solution to meet their immediate and future technology needs, and for these projects, the Corning ONE™ platform was the ideal fit.”

The fiber-based infrastructure supports the layering of additional technologies and allows customers the flexibility to take an incremental, phased approach toward converging multiple systems onto one network, as was the case with the University of Iowa and San Diego Convention Center projects.

This has become an increasingly “popular intermediary strategy for enterprises who seek to improve their wireless cellular network today, but recognize the industry shift toward convergence and want to prepare for 5G and the IoT future,” said Steven Morris, Director of Engineering for Connectivity.

Morris explained that the main drivers for a convergence system in dynamic, customer-centric venues such as these, are the flexibility that a fiber-rich infrastructure offers to venue managers and its future-readiness. “Today’s fiber-to-the-edge systems are the foundation for tomorrow’s connected world,” he said.

A Look at the Projects:

The University of Iowa system leverages 16.5 miles of fiber, 264 antennas and 528 remotes to provide robust mobile connectivity to students, faculty and visitors across the UI campus. As Iowa City expands to become the second largest city in Iowa on game days, the system was designed to support the influx of visitors and fans.

Part of a 10-year in-building wireless plan, the first phase of the installation utilized a distributed antenna system (DAS) to provide cellular coverage to UI Hospitals and Clinics, followed by this week’s completion of phase II, which extends 1.2 million-square-feet of fiber-enabled coverage and capacity to up to 85,985 mobile users throughout Kinnick stadium and Carver-Hawkeye arena.

Subsequent phases will extend coverage throughout the rest of the campus with the potential to add Wi-Fi and PON applications to the existing infrastructure.

Likewise, the ONE™ system installed at the San Diego Convention Center is designed to support multiple wireless technologies and currently utilized for DAS to boost cellular coverage and data capacity for visitors.

The SDCC system was completed in July, in time to support more than 130,000 Comic-Con-International attendees. Leveraging 26 miles of fiber, 304 antennas and 586 remotes, the Smart City-operated system boasts the first WCS DAS deployment in the area.

The fiber-to-the-edge solution allows for custom sectorization, as well as a design optimized to deliver robust, reliable download and upload speeds and coverage for AT&T and T-Mobile users throughout the venue; additional carriers are expected to join by year end.

“We’ve seen phenomenal mobile connectivity and data speeds at all three sites, and we’re proud to have played our part in helping our customers provide the best possible experience for their visitors by providing them with the best possible technology solutions” said Mason.

This customer-focus is what drives Connectivity’s success in the industry, suggests Keith Martin, Vice President of Channel Management for Corning: “Connectivity Wireless is a forward-looking partner that understands the needs of its customers like no other in the market. Ensuring its customers’ future readiness for the bandwidth and application demands is where the company truly shines,” he said. “This is precisely why Corning and Connectivity partner so well; delivering Corning ONE™ Solutions at a myriad of venues takes consistent collaboration and a focus on the same business values and principles.”

Connectivity was recently named Corning’s “Integrator of the Year” for the second year running and is the first and only integrator to achieve NPI (Network of Preferred Installers) status, granting a 25-year warranty on all Corning fiber solutions installed.



Connectivity Wireless Solutions is an industry-leading wireless systems integrator. With more than 400 years of combined industry experience and one of the first companies to break into the DAS industry, Connectivity has provided thousands of unique in-building wireless solutions to deliver reliable cellphone, data and multimedia connectivity to venues throughout the nation.

Better Kinnick Cell Service Expected for Football Season

Just in time for football season! Proud to be the integrator for the UI Carver and Kinnick distributed antenna system.

U.S. Cellular, Verizon and AT&T are paying to be part of a UI distributed antenna system

Full online article here: http://www.thegazette.com

IOWA CITY — For many football fans, it’s not enough to watch the action on the field. They want to take photos or video and text friends watching the game at home.

In past years, people watching games at Kinnick Stadium have had miserable wireless service because of too much cell traffic in the 70,000-seat stadium.

“Getting a transmission out of the stadium is sketchy,” said Derrick Richmann, 34, of Marion. “I’d say 50 percent of my messages are dropped.”

But starting Sept. 2 for Iowa’s season opener against Wyoming, Kinnick will have increased capacity for smartphone use because of a new distributed antenna system. U.S. Cellular, Verizon and AT&T have signed contracts and paid fees to be part of the system, so customers of those companies will see improved service at football games, said Steve Fleagle, UI associate vice president and chief information officer.

The UI now owns antenna systems at Kinnick, UI Stead Family Children’s Hospital and Carver-Hawkeye Arena. Service provider fees will pay for Connectivity Wireless Solutions to operate and maintain the networks, Fleagle said.

The Kinnick project involves more than 200 additional antennae, including many located on 25 new flagpoles around the top of football stadium, UI Athletics reported.

Texting, tweeting or web searching during breaks in the action at a college game is part of a “second screen” trend seen across most age demographics, but particularly with millennials.

Up to 87 percent of consumers surveyed by Accenture in 2015 said they were using TV and a second screen together. People watching a TV show may use their phones to look up actors or see what people are saying on social media about a particularly juicy episode.

At least 60 percent of at-home NFL viewers were looking at another device while watching professional football games, according to an NFL executive quoted in a 2014 GeekWire story.

“You can literally see the spikes in tweet traffic that are perfectly coordinated with interesting moments in the game,” Dick Costolo, then Twitter CEO, said in the story.

Richmann, the Marion Hawkeye fan, has missed only two UI home football games in 29 years. He likes to text with friends watching the games at home to tell them what he’s seeing in the stands, celebrate a great play or commiserate about a blunder. Other fans post selfies or pictures of the kids posing with Herky.

“We see that sort of behavior between classes,” Fleagle said about people pulling out their phones during short spurts of downtime. “People use their screens frequently.”

The UI has been trying to improve wireless service at athletic venues for several years, signing a contract with American Tower Corp in 2013 to develop networks at Kinnick and Carver. The UI terminated the deal in 2015, saying ATC failed to finish the project on time. The company sued the UI and the Board of Regents for breach of contract. That trial is scheduled for Jan. 22 in Polk County.

BICSI Fall Conference 2017

When: September 9-13, 2017

Where: Mandalay Bay Convention Center, Las Vegas, NV

Register: BICSI Fall Seminar registration


Join us for DAS Boot Camp: Next Generation Wireless Networks

Sunday, September 24   •   1:30 – 4:30 p.m.   •   3 CEC


At the advent of 5G, wireless possibilities are reaching unprecedented heights. What was once a dream will soon be everyday reality and enterprises are forced to ask, “Is my infrastructure able to handle the burgeoning demands?” In preparation of the coming IoT age, we will explore next-generation wireless technologies and trends, and the infrastructures needed to support them.

Healthcare Facilities Symposium 2017

September 18-20
Austin Convention Center
Booth #522

Join us in Austin, September 18-20 at the Healthcare Facilities Symposium! Looking to brush up on latest in healthcare technologies and trends? Join us for Next Generation Wireless Networks for Healthcare or stop by booth # 522 to speak with our representatives. Click here to register today!

Next-Generation Wireless Networks for Healthcare

What: A case-study guided presentation led by Patrick Duffy, University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics and Mark Niehus, RCDD, Connectivity Wireless
When: Tuesday, September 19 @ 4:15 – 5:15
Where: Room TBD

Click here to view full presentation details!


DAS Headed at San Diego Convention Center

Digital Antenna System Improves Cellular Coverage at San Diego CC

AT&T cellular data speed at San Diego Convention Center

AT&T cellular data speed at San Diego Convention Center

Connectivity Wireless is honored to be the the integrator of the Corning ONE DAS™ for Smart City Networks at the San Diego Convention Center!

Telecommunications provider for the convention industry, Smart City Networks, has announced completion of a new distributed antenna system (DAS) designed to expand the cellular service coverage and capacity at the San Diego Convention Center in California, USA.

“This new system is going to make a noticeable difference for everyone who attends an event or convention at the San Diego Convention Center,” said Julia Slocombe, vice-president of Western Region Operations for Smart City Networks.

“This was a massive upgrade, but it reiterates our commitment to deliver exceptional experiences through technology and San Diego’s commitment to be one of the leading meeting and convention destinations in the world.”

The installation of the DAS system involved plotting and installing hundreds of miniature antennas at secure points throughout the convention centre that connect to the networks of various cellular carriers, including AT&T and T-Mobile.

The DAS reduces gaps in coverage created by steel or concrete pillars, isolated niches, and other architectural features that disrupt the signal between the phone and the devices receiving the messages. The result is the elimination of dead spots and improved reliability of the network.

“We are excited to offer our guests and customers yet another amenity to continue to make our facility the region’s premier gathering place,” said San Diego Convention Center Corporation president & CEO Clifford ‘Rip’ Rippetoe.

Smart City also installed a two-way radio system throughout the convention center that allows communication anywhere in the facility.

Implementation of the project took just over two years.

The convention centre brings about 900,000 visitors to San Diego every year.

Checkout the online CMW article here: http://www.c-mw.net/digital-antenna-system-improves-cellular-coverage-san-diego-cc/


Sports and Entertainment Alliance in Technology

SEAT 2017

When: July 16-18

Where: Atlanta, Marriott Marquis

Want your chance to win a virtual reality headset? Stop by booth # 701 at the SEAT Conference in Atlanta! Speak to one of our representatives to learn about the latest technologies for sports and entertainment venues or contact us prior to the conference to arrange an onsite meeting with our team: sales@connectivitywireless.com

Join us for Challenges: Mobility and Meeting the Demand, a VIP Round Table Luncheon on Monday, July 17 to hear from the parties building in-building networks at your venues! Email bboyd@connectivitywireless.com to inquire about registration – limited seating available.

BOMA International Conference & Expo 2017

Join us in Nashville, June 24-27 for  the BOMA International Conference & Expo! Looking to improve cellular service in your facility and improve tenant relations? Join us for “My Cellphone Doesn’t Work in my Building. Help!” – Tuesday, June 27, 9:30-10:30 a.m.

Be sure to visit us at booth #321 for a glimpse of the latest in convergence technology and speak with our in-building wireless experts to learn how you can save time, space and money by converging your cellular, WiFi and IT applications onto one, fiber infrastructure!

Register today! BOMA Registration Page

Peering Into the Crystal Ball: The Future of Wireless Technologies for ICT Professionals

View the online magazine version here [ICT Today, September/October Issue]



he CTI industry is entering a new era of incredible growth in wireless demands, number of users and devices, access technologies. Designers, installers and advisors must accommodate all of these factors as help our clients plan new building structures. Key to providing good guidance is a thorough understanding of wireless technologies and where we are going. Developing an understanding of these trends is particularly important now because:

  • Wireless technologies can provide the needed bandwidth for almost all business and personal applications. No longer does a user require a dedicated category or fiber cable to their computing device. In fact, very few of today’s laptops and tablets come with an RJ-45 port.
  • User demand for mobility has created a “new normal” where everyone uses their cellular device(s) everywhere, for almost anything, all the time. According to CTIA, heavy users now spend 225 minutes per day on their phone.
  • New demands for device-to-device connectivity (much of which is embodied in the Internet of Things or IoT) will drive future wireless requirements. Machina Research estimates there will be 18 billion mobile-to-mobile connections by 2022.
  • Moore’s Law (which states that the number of transistors in a dense integrated circuit doubles every two years) continues unabated, driving down the cost of computing systems and increasing their capability and relevance.


For ICT professionals, these factors must be taken into account, along with the reality that we live and work in buildings, and thus we should design and construct the ICT systems in these buildings with this in mind. Modern building designs follow Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) criteria which usually include shell and skin materials that are thermally efficient but that also block RF signal. Among other requirements, an RCDD® or engineer must figure out how to get the wireless signals in and out of the building.

They must also specify:

  • Media (cabling) used to transport wireless signal to antennas or access points (Aps)
  • Power and space requirements for wireless active network devices.
  • Density of users


There are three main classes of technologies that experts agree will be critical to the future of wireless. These classes consist of wireless personal area networks (WPAN), Wi-Fi and cellular. Not all of them are applicable for every building, every user, and every device, but they are all critically important.



WPAN (IEEE 802.15) covers those networks that will be needed for many of the devices in the IoT and is an excellent choice for areas inside buildings. WPAN devices are made up of sensors, chips, radios and long-life batteries. In many cases all of these components are combined into what is called a system on a chip (SoC). Sensors provide information for a wide range of inputs, including temperature, light, motion sensing, gas and particle detection, and other environmental factors.

With the majority of these devices, the amount of data captured and shared is small (think kilobytes, not megabytes). Thus, the wireless networks that enable them do not need to be high capacity. Picture an IoT device that monitors temperature in many areas of a factory that produces heat-sensitive widgets. The sensor might measure temperature every 15 minutes and sends that data to a controller. WPAN technologies like Bluetooth® LE (low energy) is ideal for this application, with a range of ˜50 meters (m [164 feet (ft)]) and low-data capacity.

Just as importantly, these sensors require very little power to send and receive the wireless signal; if engineers can continue to create systems powered by very small and very inexpensive (yet long-lived) batteries, the return on investment of these devices becomes compelling. In many cases they are supported by tiny coin cells or power supplies that can last five or more years. Designers are also striving to make them self-sustaining by means of ambient energy harvesting, in which the devices themselves derive their power from solar cells, kinetic energy or heat. Picture an IoT sensor in a factory placed on a motor that vibrates – no power supply is needed.

WPAN are generally mesh or peer-to-peer networks. They communicate directly with each other and do not require an infrastructure to support them, thus building designers do not really need to account for them in terms of cabling media or power. ZigBee™, for example, has a line-of-sight range of ˜10-20 m (33-66 ft). Z-Wave is a wireless protocol designed to operate between nodes up to ˜30 m (100 ft), with a capacity up to 40 kilobits. Many current and future applications inside buildings can be well served by these low-capacity, low-range,and low-power wireless networks.



Wi-Fi is the second class of network that is critical to our wireless future. Users have come to expect Wi-Fi in every building, regardless of type. Wi-Fi is also crucial because, unlike WPAN networks which are low-speed, future Wi-Fi promises optical fiber-like speeds. One of the next versions of Wi-Fi just around the corner is 802.11ad (also known as WiGig) which will operate in the 50-60 gigahertz (GHz) range and offer multi-gigabit throughput to each user device. Several challenges with 802.11ad today are that it may be limited to very short range (˜1-10 m [3-33 ft]), and this V-band frequency does not penetrate building structures very well. In addition, the capacity of the network will be increased using a technique called beamforming, in which arrays of antennas will be pointed or formed more directly from sender to receiver, as opposed to today’s omnidirectional antennas which distribute wireless signal in a circular or donut-shaped fashion.

Today designers plan for robust Wi-Fi by following either a honeycomb grid pattern (ISO/ IEC TR-27404) or a square grid (TIA TSB-162-A) in the building for placement of Aps and media to support them. In the future, RCDDs and network planners might have to account for a more dense design of Wi-Fi APs, as well as using optical fiber rather than category cable to accommodate higher capacity Wi-Fi technologies.


Licensed Spectrum

The third class of wireless network connectivity important for building designers is licensed spectrum owned and managed by cellular carriers. Cellular coverage is key, because it will serve users and devices inside and outside every building. We want to use our smartphones, and soon-to-be super-smart phones, anywhere we may go. The field of personal mobile digital assistants is growing to include wearables and medical monitoring devices. Additionally, other devices will require connectivity in the outside world; for example, the next 20 years will see the introduction of self-driving cars.

Future development of smart cities will drive the need for connectivity of systems and devices outside of building structures. Cellular technology will be critical to the enablement of such applications as monitoring of outside entities like electric grids and pipelines for water and energy. IoT devices will monitor and measure these systems, reducing waste, leakage, theft and component failure. There is tremendous potential gain in agriculture with the control and monitoring of crops, from the precise GPS-enabled automated planters which direct the exact optimal placement of every seed, to targeted application of herbicide and fertilizer based on unique soil conditions down the square meter. Most of these systems and equipment will need outside and inside connectivity that is best served by cellular networks.

5G is the next generation of cellular, and with a standard expected in 2021. Network operators and cell phone manufacturers are planning for systems that offer 10 to 100 times today’s data rates and five to 10 times reduced latency. Users will have fiber-like connectivity to their mobile devices, and reduced latency (in the range of 1 to 5 milliseconds [ms]) means that they will be able to interact with cellular devices in a manner that mimics the response times of the human nervous system (this has created the term “the tactile internet”). This will open a wide range of possibilities to enable virtual reality, gaming and training and simulation exercises.

Reduced latency means that device and system engineers will embed haptic (touch) interfaces in devices, some of which exist already in today’s phones. Users will be able to interact with their devices by tapping, pushing and gesturing, and receive a response from actuators that make it feel like the device is an extension of themselves. For example, today’s virtual reality devices like the Oculus Rift have a latency of 15 to 20 ms, which is why many users get sick or disoriented from the experience.Reducing latency to the 1 ms level in tomorrow’s 5G network will drive new methods of immersive interactions with our machines.

Accommodating 5G indoors may be challenging for ICT building designers. The planned spectrum for 5G, like future Wi-Fi, will be the V-band of frequencies that range from 30 to 80 GHz, and these bands do not penetrate today’s modern building materials. Range of 5G antenna arrays may be limited to an extremely short distance of 9 m (30 ft). As with future Wi-Fi, for 5G we will likely use beamforming and create systems that employ massive multiple-input, multiple-output (MIMO) technology, which is being employed today to increase capacity of cellular systems. Massive MIMO simply means a much larger number of antennas in both handheld devices and system APs. In 2015, Samsung® created what they called their first 5G phone and integrated 32 antennas within the device. In the ceiling AP, massive means hundreds of antennas arranged in an array. The future may see APs that are as large as today’s light fixtures.

Distributed Antenna Systems (DAS) will continue to be deployed to support tomorrow’s licensed spectrum and offer building owners complete 5G coverage from all operators, in every corner of the facility. Network designers will continue to accommodate base station or head-end equipment, but in the future there will be advances to drive down both the size and cost of head-end equipment, providing better economies of scale for customers. Future DAS will utilize more optical fiber-based media than today’s legacy coaxial cable systems, and likely have lower power requirements, driving down building operational costs and making systems more affordable.

DAS will also be needed in many cases to support tomorrow’s public safety radio requirements. There has been a proliferation of new building codes (IFC, NFPA) that mandate coverage for police, fire and first responder radio systems inside buildings in most areas of the US. Local authorities having jurisdiction (AHJs) will continue to enforce these rules, which they deem critical to life safety, as noted for example in the City of Marlborough MA fire code:

Research and investigations into Line of Duty Deaths (LODDs) and injuries to Fire, Police and EMS personnel show that the loss of reliable communications inside of such buildings is a contributing factor in death and injuries to emergency personnel.

Frequencies for public safety radios range from 150 megahertz (MHz) to 800 MHz today. Tomorrow we will have FirstNet, the nation’s first all-new interoperable radio system that allows all first responders to utilize the same network.  FirstNet is the last recommendation of the 9-11 Commission and is now finally being planned. FirstNet has bandwidth at 700 MHz allocated for operation, and there is strong interest to enable higher capacity, commercial LTE technologies for first responders in the future. LTE will allow for richer, multimedia applications, mobile video and other tools that will give first responders greater situational awareness and the capability to do their jobs better.



Lastly, light fidelity (Li-Fi) could be a significant game changer in the indoor wireless space. Li-Fi is wireless, but instead of using RF for data transmission, it uses light from blinking LEDs to provide high-speed communication. Applications would be limited to in-room systems, since light cannot penetrate walls, but the capacity could be enormous. The spectrum for visible light is 10,000 greater than the spectrum for radio frequency, and early tests have indicated significant data throughput.

The new normal of wireless everywhere is fast approaching. Cisco cites global mobile data growth at a compounded annual growth rate (CAGR) of 63 percent per year. The current licensed wireless spectrum is saturated, and it takes almost a decade for network operators to build and deploy on new bands from the time they are first identified, including the incentive auction of 600 MHz spectrum taking place in mid-2016. Users are demanding advice about how to incorporate future technologies in the structure being designing—the same structure that will not be occupied for another two or three years.



Given all that is known about greater demands for bandwidth for every type of connected device, the discussion centered on “when is optical fiber to the desk going to make sense?” comes to mind. Many in the ICT industry have debated this topic for the last 20 years, as various cycles of copper category cables have emerged. The question was prompted by the fact that the desk was where a user workstation or terminal was located. Perhaps the time has come for the same type of discussion, but instead of fiber-to-the-desk, it should center on fiber-to-the-user. Passive optical LAN (POL) might be one solution for some building or campus owners who want to leverage their infrastructure and be prepared for tomorrow.

Single mode fiber optic cable remains unlimited in terms of bandwidth. In the public network, carriers drive terabytes over hundreds of kilometers. Why not deliver an infrastructure for buildings that brings singlemode fiber as close to the user as possible? Imagine optical fiber from the facility entrance all the way to the edge, to allow for the very near future needs of LAN, cellular and Wi-Fi that will all have multi-gigabit network capacities.  The term “future proofing” is arguably one of the most overused terms by ICT professionals, but in reality an optical fiber-to-the-user or fiber-to-the-edge strategy may offer the longest useful life and lowest overall cost to a facility owner with long-term plans that include these wireless technologies.

Author: Mark Niehus, RCDD – Mark is a Director of Strategic Accounts for Connectivity Wireless Solutions. He has more than 25 years of ICT installation, project management, and sales and marketing experience. He has been an RCDD since 1997 and has a BA in English from the University of Iowa and an MBA from the University of Phoenix.

Bridging the Gap: Connectivity Wireless Feature Article

Check out our latest feature in Construction Today magazine for a snapshot of our cutting-edge services and operations in today’s growing in-building wireless market: http://digital.construction-today.com/nxtbooks/knighthouse/ct_201610/index.php#/38