BROADBAND COMMUNITIES is the leading source of information on digital and broadband technologies for buildings and communities. Our editorial aims to accelerate the deployment of Fiber-To-The-Home and Fiber-To-The-Premises.
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18 | BROADBAND COMMUNITIES | www.broadbandcommunities.com | MAY/JUNE 2014 WIRELESS DEPLOYMENT A Great Reception For London's Super Skyscraper Bringing high-performance radio communications to London's newest, tallest, most iconic skyscraper was a challenge. By Moti Shalev / Axell Wireless U ntil very recently, London was a defantly low-rise city. Tat all changed in the frst decade of the 21st century. Starting with 30 St Mary Axe, popularly known as "Te Gherkin," London began belatedly to develop a taste for tall buildings, and a slew of bold new skyscrapers began sprouting up around the city. However, the unprecedented (for London) height of these buildings raised a new problem for their builders – how to ensure acceptable mobile reception in the upper reaches of these glass-and-steel behemoths. Te problem with providing wireless reception in modern skyscrapers is threefold. First, the height of the buildings militates against obtaining a good signal. Mobile networks are set up to provide signals to where people are. In London, this has traditionally been at ground level or not far from it. As the city built upward, the new foors of ofce space were increasingly out of range of ground-level antennas. Second, modern building materials of glass and steel, coupled with environmentally friendly methods of construction, are extremely efective at blocking out wireless reception. Finally, these skyscrapers, giant as they are, have little spare space for communications infrastructure. Tese challenges were foremost in the minds of those designing London's newest, tallest, most iconic building – the Shard. LONDON'S BIGGEST WIRELESS CHALLENGE Te Shard has changed the face of London. Tis 1,000-foot-high building on the south bank of the Tames is visible from across London and stands head and shoulders above any other building. Te Shard's designers were at pains to ensure that the building would be as impressive to its residents as it would be to those admiring it from outside. Vodafone, the multinational telecom frm chosen to provide connectivity at the Shard, therefore selected Axell Wireless to help provide a network that could provide high- performance indoor wireless coverage to each of the building's 72 foors. From the outset, the Shard posed a big challenge for indoor cellular and public safety communications. As in many modern tall buildings, the construction materials and methods used were designed to optimize strength and environmental friendliness. Unfortunately, the Shard's triple-glazed glass, which includes a layer of sun-shielding glass sandwiched between the inner and outer sheets, is a highly efective insulator against wireless communications. Mobile networks are set up to provide signals to where people are. As London built upward, new ofce space was out of reach of ground-level antennas. BBC_May14.indd 18 5/29/14 9:15 AM