Better cell coverage for T-Mobile customers


Published February 24, 2017 This content is archived.

T-Mobile subscribers should see improved coverage at several locations on the North Campus — including Ellicott, the Student Union, Knox Hall and Governors — now that the cellular carrier is subscribing to the Verizon Wireless Distributed Antenna System (DAS).

T-Mobile is the first competitive cell carrier to subscribe to join the Verizon Wireless vendor-neutral DAS system on the North Campus. The system, which is expanded yearly, is designed to take cellular traffic at the North Campus off local cell service towers. This frees up more bandwidth for the larger surrounding community, while giving customers on the North Campus their own dedicated bandwidth.

“Much like Wi-Fi, the signal goes from your cell phone to the nearest DAS antenna through the DAS cable wiring, as opposed to trying to connect from the nearest cell tower,” says James Giardina, network analyst for Network and Classroom Services, part of UB Information Technology. “UB buildings are made of reinforced concrete with rebar, which makes it hard for today’s cell-signal technology to penetrate.”

While the DAS infrastructure has been in place and expanding each year for about seven years, T-Mobile is the first non-Verizon carrier to join in order to improve its customers’ service.

“Verizon Wireless first started building the DAS in Ellicott, then moved on to Governors, then followed up with Student Union and Knox Hall,” Giardina says, noting the vendor-neutral system design allows T-Mobile to utilize the same physical DAS infrastructure that Verizon Wireless is using.

The two providers will be working on different cell frequencies on the same DAS system, which will help to improve service coverage and capacity around campus for both cell companies.

The extended service boost will make cellphone service more readily available in high-demand locations on the North Campus.

“What good is any device if it doesn’t work when and where you need it?” Giardina says.