SMU’s reliance on cellphone service is continually increasing as a primary form of communication. The growth of text messaging, video, and other multimedia applications are placing enormous strain on the cellphone providers’ network from a capacity point of view. Coverage on campus is impacted as a result of the number of LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) certified buildings with Low-E Glass materials. Even when high‑powered cell towers are able to pass through the reflective coating in the glass as well as the concrete in SMU’s structures, cellphones’ return signals lack the strength to consistently make it through those barriers. This is where a Distributed Antenna System (DAS)is extremely effective as antennas are strategically placed throughout the interior of a structure. This new coverage bypasses the barrier of concrete walls and Low-E Glass with a connection to a powerful exterior antenna that amplifies the signal. OIT is working with a third party firm, generating a detail design of a campus-wide DAS. We are negotiating with multiple carriers (AT&T, Sprint,T-Mobile, and Verizon) to participate in the DAS. The design relies on the newly established University Data Center and outside fiber cable plant. Implementation is dependent upon the completion of these two facilities. The Residential Commons and other student housing will be the first buildings upgraded to the DAS.
- Assessment and Design Phase: Cellular coverage assessment for cellular and SMU private radio is complete. Carrier approved, final designs are complete for the student housing facilities. Detail designs of the remaining Dallas campus buildings are targeted for completion this fall.
- Installing the antennae: The first set of buildings to be addressed is the new Residential Commons. The first group of buildings is scheduled to have its antennae installed in August with remaining buildings in September. The remaining Residence Halls will follow afterwards with a more detailed timeline provided at the end of the year.
- Wireless Carrier Equipment Room: Work is currently in progress for preparing a room within the University Data Center to house all of the wireless carrier equipment. Temporary solutions are currently being put into place this month with final work being completed by the end of the year.
- Carrier Negotiations: We are in contract negotiations with AT&T, Verizon, Sprint and T-Mobile, formalizing the relationship in order to participate in this solution.
- Wireless Carrier Equipment Installation: As formalized agreement is established with each wireless carrier, they will begin installing their equipment in the University Data Center in order to connect to the SMU DAS system. Once that is done, individuals with service provided by those vendors will begin seeing the improved coverage within the Residential Commons. We are anticipating the installation of our first carrier by the end of September with the remaining carriers online in early 2015.