This article was first published on Warehouse and Logistics News in March 2021.

Warehouse mobile connectivity is the key to improve productivity

Warehouses and distribution centres have tried and failed, to resolve mobile connectivity. That’s why Nextivity’s Cel-Fi Quatra solution is a game-changer.  

The world’s supply chains are becoming more interconnected. The business case for warehouses and distribution centres to invest in mobile technologies and integrate mobile solutions throughout the supply chain has been well documented. Those who have designed mobility into their everyday work processes are reaping the benefits of real-time information, effective communication, improved productivity and increased profits.

Ordinary smartphones and tablets have turned into powerful business tools. Warehouse employees are seldom deskbound and rely on handheld devices to make and receive phone calls and to access text and data services. Intuitive warehouse management apps on these smart devices provide seamless collaboration to effectively manage the complex ecosystem of constantly moving parts. Adoption rates are quick, as employees are already familiar with these modern devices. This makes them easier and cheaper to deploy than older technology, like two-way radio solutions (RF) or hardwired systems.

As the use of digital tools increases, so too does the need for reliable mobile connectivity.

Businesses have tried and failed, to resolve mobile connectivity. Common solutions include building a network on signal boosters that are intended for smaller spaces or deploying expensive large enterprise solutions. Others rely on outdated legacy network solutions which pose security risks and often have compatibility and performance issues as more devices and systems are added to the network.

There is no true one-size-fits-all solution to in-building mobile connectivity. That’s why Nextivity’s Cel-Fi Quatra solution is a game-changer.

Cel-Fi Quatra for warehouse connectivity

Cel-Fi Quatra is a distributed antenna system (DAS) hybrid solution that combines the strength of passive and active DAS technologies to deliver high-quality mobile signal in buildings of up to 200,000 ft² in size. With flexibility in configuration options, quick to install timelines and simplicity in IT maintenance, it has put enterprise-class mobile signal boosting within reach of many businesses at a price that is aligned with their budget. Cel-Fi mobile signal boosters are the only licence-exempt solutions available in the UK and Ireland and fully meet the regulatory requirements set out by OFCOM and ComReg.

Cel-Fi Quatra deployed in a regional supermarket warehouse

In July 2020, one of the UK’s fastest-growing supermarket chains built a new 450,000 ft² distribution centre in Peterborough. From the outset, they identified that a robust and stable mobile EE connection would be imperative for the operational efficiency of the supermarket. This would allow the admin staff to do away with fixed-line telephones.

The main building was constructed with large span fabricated steel trusses and metal cladding. To accommodate the 3rd-floor mezzanine, long-span steel beams with metal floor decking were installed. New building regulations introduced after the Grenfell disaster stipulate that all new buildings must include more fire-stop partitions. These modern construction materials effectively created a Faraday-cage effect and prevented mobile signal from penetrating the building. This resulted in little to no mobile coverage available inside.

Recognising that mobile connectivity was crucial for business operations, the customer had the foresight to involve Frequency Telecom and Pan RF from the outset. Pan RF had a very short time window between practical completion (PC) and the customer occupying the building in which to deliver a solution and a limited budget to work with. Therefore, the Nextivity Cel-Fi Quatra Solution was presented as the ideal solution to provide voice and data services on the EE network.

PanRF deployed this cost-effective, OFCOM licence-exempt solution in a short space of time. Warehouse employees now enjoy reliable voice and data connectivity inside the new building.

What happens if I install a mobile booster that does not comply?

According to Ofcom: “Repeater devices transmit or re-transmit in the cellular frequency bands. Only the mobile network operators are licensed to use equipment that transmits in these bands. Installation or use of repeater devices by anyone without a licence is a criminal offence under Section 8 of the WT Act 2006. Any person found guilty of installing or using such devices without a licence would be liable on conviction to a fine of up to £5000 and/or up to 51 weeks’ imprisonment (Six months in Scotland and Northern Ireland).”

Frequency has been called to many premises where unlawful boosters disrupted the effectiveness of the Network’s performance and Ofcom inspectors demanded the booster to be removed.

What about Cel-Fi?

Cel-Fi has a range of mobile signal solution available for any size building. The Cel-Fi commitment is to protect the operator’s network, deliver the best in-building mobile performance, and be the easiest solution to install. Unlike other unlawful products on the market, Cel-Fi products are the only mobile signal boosters available on the market that can be used without a licence and that fully comply with the regulatory requirements set out in Ofcom IR 2102 (UK).

Frequency Telecom is the master distributors of Cel-Fi products in the UK and Ireland. When you partner with Frequency and buy from us, you can be confident of buying a product that is UK licence-exempt, legal to use and comes with access to a UK technical support team who can help you every step of the way.

The Cel-Fi promise is to protect the operator’s network, deliver the best in-building mobile performance, and be the easiest solution to install.

Contact us to find out more

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