Can you hear me now? Cell coverage improves at NCRC

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aerial of NCRC campus
(NCRC)

Many of you are familiar with the Verizon commercial “Can you Hear Me Now?” Thanks to the partnership between ITS, HITS, and Verizon, the answer to that question for folks in the North Campus Research Complex is a resounding “Yes!”

A signal challenge

Many buildings on the Ann Arbor campus struggle with poor cellular signals and the NCRC is no different. Last month, ITS and HITS partnered to deploy a Distributed Antenna System (DAS) in four key NCRC buildings to improve their cellular signals. Once deployed, cellular providers had the ability to connect to the system to improve their signal. Verizon has completed their installation, and AT&T is planning to follow suit.

The NCRC, which currently houses groups from the academic campus and Michigan Medicine, should see an improvement in their ability to use their Verizon cell phones to communicate. The project also included installation of central DAS equipment in a key location that will allow improvements in other NCRC sites over time.This project was part of a remodeling effort and is the first step toward future expansion of DAS equipment to other buildings in the sprawling complex.

Building on key partnerships

Each cellular carrier has the full authority for the coverage and capacity they provide, whether it is on their networks or university enterprise networks. The university is able to provide enhanced coverage when a carrier is willing to partner with ITS to make improvements. At this time, both Verizon and AT&T have agreed to work with ITS in various campus locations. That now includes NCRC.

In addition to working with the carriers to encourage improvements to cellular coverage on campus, ITS is also working with U-M Architecture Engineering and Construction (AEC), to establish DAS standards for university construction projects to ensure that this technology is more consistent to deploy and support.

Stay tuned for more updates about ITS’s continued efforts to improve cellular coverage on the U-M campus.

One thought on “Can you hear me now? Cell coverage improves at NCRC

  1. AvatarGreg Long

    Over the past five years, a Capital Investment exceeding $30million, to enhance, expand and upgrade the campus Wi-Fi was completed. The project was to ensure maximum coverage inside and outside campus building and common areas. Wi-Fi provides VOIP and data services to most mobile devices, today. Is university tax payer funding being used, to build out / enhance three Billion dollar corporation’s infrastructure? Was the Wi-Fi project not successful in expanding coverage? Why doesn’t the three major cellular carriers foot the bill and pay for the new cellular DAS infrastructure? Why is this DAS project even necessary after Wi-Fi project? Why did ITS build out a DAS system, before working with AEC to engineer guidelines and specifications?

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