Parking garages on the surface and underground are NOTORIOUS for horrible cell phone reception. It’s frustrating and terrifying, especially at night when there is no one around.
Parking garage owners, building managers, and property managers should improve their parking garage’s cellular coverage with a commercial cell phone signal amplifier. Doing so increases safety at night, eases signal frustration for maintenance workers and attendant staff, and aids in facilitating IoT (“Internet of Things”) and M2M ("Machine to Machine") technology for a better experience as garages get smarter and smarter.
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Why is it Difficult to Get Reliable Cell Reception Inside Parking Garages?
Typically, cell tower distance, terrain, and building material are the main causes of poor cellular reception. Of these factors, it’s the steel, concrete, and assorted construction material that tends to be the main culprit when it comes to degraded cell signal in parking garages.
Think about it - parking garages are constructed out of thick concrete, steel, and brick, with some utilizing energy-efficient windows. Add ventilation ducts, piping, and wiring for parking sensors, hazard bumps and more to the mix - all of which are king at weakening or killing cellular signals - and this leads to limited or non-existent coverage in the garage.
Underground parking garages face additional challenges. For starters, they’re (obviously) underground. So, not only is construction material an issue, but so is everything above the garage, like roads, buildings, or additional parking. Now, cellular frequency waves are faced with additional obstacles. As a result, the chances of receiving usable signal in most underground parking garages are slim to none.
Why is it Vital for Parking Garages to Have Reliable Cell Phone Signal?
The #1 reason why you should improve cellular coverage inside your parking garage is safety. Tons of risks exist in parking garages – from vehicle accidents to criminal events. If a visitor is the victim of a serious crime or receives serious injuries from a vehicle accident, their instinct (as well as other), is to call emergency services. Without a reliable cellular connection, contacting emergency services may be difficult. As a result, crucial seconds are lost to save a life or catch a criminal.
You’re probably thinking that emergency calls can be made without cell service. After all, in areas without coverage, your phone says something along the lines of “No Service, Emergency Calls Only”. While the FCC requires all cellular providers to automatically tap into another carrier's network (assuming they have a usable signal) in the event service is lost for emergency calls, it doesn’t always work. If you’re in an area where every carrier’s service is too weak to make an emergency call, or coverage is simply non-existent, then emergency calls will not go through. Even if your parking garage offers the “emergency red phone” for assistance, most people do not even know to look for these. Plus, finding them often means looking for the elevator banks – and in certain situations, this is not feasible.
As you can see, poor cellular coverage is a huge public safety issue. By enhancing cell service inside your parking garage with a cellular signal amplifier, you’ll increase the safety of workers, security staff, clients, and visitors.
Better Experience for Users
Parking mobile applications are a game-changer. It gives users the ability to find available spots, reserve parking spots, and located their vehicle after a long workday, sporting event, or concert. This is not only convenient for customers, but by not having to aimlessly driver or walk around the garage looking for an available spot or their vehicle, it also offers peace of mind.
To enhance the user experience, workers, clients, and visitors need a reliable cellular connection to take full advantage of these revolutionary apps. Without data, the application won’t open and users will not be able to access directions to their reserved sport or vehicle. This leads to frustrated drivers, low ratings, and loss of profit in the long run.
Installing a cell phone repeater will enhance cellular data allowing the necessary applications to function as needed for an exceptional parking experience.
Facilitate IoT and M2M Technology
As a parking garage owner, you need consistent data to ensure security cameras, payment kiosks, smart parking sensors, parking guidance systems, EV charging stations, and all other smart parking technologies, communicate with each other and the IoT cloud database for real-time data on vehicles and parking spaces.
Consistent data is achieved through wired or wireless internet access. We often forget... wireless doesn’t just mean WiFi, it’s also cellular broadband.
IoT cellular boosters can be used to amplify the signal your cellular router receives to maximize coverage for constant communication between sensors and machines. M2M units can be directly connected to specific machines, like payment kiosks, for faster uninterrupted data transmission. Likewise, technologies that provide things such as “spot count” of the number of available open parking spaces per floor, carbon monoxide sensors, and garage traffic monitoring, all ultimately rely on speedy data transmission.
If your parking garage predominantly relies on wired or wireless broadband, IoT and M2M cellular amplifiers can help offload congestion from the WiFi network, which could potentially be slowing down M2M communication. This is done by connecting machines and sensors to a powerful cellular router or directly connecting an M2M amplifier unit to a machine.
In addition, IoT cellular can act as a secondary network. In other words, if your broadband network crashes, the cellular IoT network will kick in to make sure your smart parking technology is always doing its job effectively and efficiently.
About Cellular Boosters for Parking Garages
Cell phone signal boosters, also known as passive distributed antenna systems (DAS), use powerful outdoor antennas to grab the existing outside signal and high-grade coaxial cable to relay the signal to the commercial amplifier. The coaxial cable helps bypass any building material interfering with the signal. The amplifier boosts the signal and sends it to the system of strategically installed indoor antennas for broadcasting.
With improved coverage, users feel safer, mobile parking applications can be accessed for a smoother experience, IoT machines will remain online even if your broadband internet crashes, smart parking data can be accessed remotely, criminal acts may decrease, your garage will have more visitors, and profits will increase.
Our professional signal booster installers will visit your surface or underground garage to get an idea of how weak the signal is, your building's layout, and the garage’s size, to develop a customized system design to meet your needs. It’s likely you’ll need multiple amps to cover multiple floors. Each amplifier can support a certain number of indoor antennas without it affecting performance. Trying to use a single amp to cover the entire parking garage will lead to weaker signal distribution and limited coverage.
This may sound expensive, but the installation of one cellular amplifier per floor is more cost-effective than the alternative, an active distributed antenna system.
Active DAS are directly connected to the cellular network of one or multiple cellular carriers. Thus, they are more powerful and can provide more coverage and range. To connect them to the network, carrier permissions are required from every carrier whose signal you want to improve, which can take a minimum of 6 months per carrier. The job is very labor-intensive and expensive since installation plans can get very complex and costly equipment is needed. On average, an Active DAS costs between $5 to $10 per sq ft, while a Passive DAS costs between $0.50 to $1 per sq ft.
Click here for more information on the difference between a signal amplifier and an active DAS.
Recommended Cellular Amplfiers for Parking Garages
Best Professional Signal Amplifier
The weBoost Office 200 is a high-performance pro-grade amplifier, perfect for small to mid-sized single and multi-level parking garages.
It features up to +72 dB gain, with up to +25 dBm uplink and +15 dBm downlink. This allows the system to better communicate with distant cell towers, as well as enhance talk, text, and data speeds in parking garages up to 35,000 sq ft for all cellular devices and carriers. As a result, customers will have a better and safer experience when using your garage.
Coverage will vary depending on your outside signal’s strength. If your existing outside signal is weak (1-3 bars) because your garage is located quite a distance away from cell towers, or it’s surrounded by rugged terrain or tall buildings, a more realistic coverage estimate can range from 7,000 to 17,500 sq ft. On the other hand, if your parking garage is located in the city, or anywhere with especially strong outside signal, you won’t have to worry about the system overloading and shutting down like with other boosters. With XDR (eXtended Dynamic Range) technology, the system’s gain automatically adjusts to prevent the unit from pulling in too much signal and overloading. This way, visitors always experience consistent service.
If you have a small garage with weak outside signal or a mid-size garage with decent outside signal, and you’re looking for a customizable, versatile, and powerful unit, the Office 200 is a no-brainer. For extremely weak signal areas, consider upgrading the omnidirectional antennas to directional ones to maximize performance.
Best Commercial Grade Signal Amplifier
The WilsonPro Enterprise 1300 is amongst the most powerful commercial-grade signal amplifiers for medium to large parking garages.
It has the same amplification ability as the Pro 1100, up to +70 dB, with higher output powers, up to +26 dBm uplink, and +17 dBm downlink. This means it has farther reach to and from cell towers and can provide a large coverage area, up to 40,000 sq ft under perfect conditions. However, since coverage is determined by how strong or weak your outside signal is, a more realistic coverage estimate would be between 15,000 to 20,000 sq ft.
To help maximize coverage for all cellular devices and cellular providers, it features three outdoor antenna ports. Each antenna can be installed to communicate with different cell towers to pick up frequency bands from different carriers to collectively amplify cell signals for multiple carriers simultaneously. And with XDR technology, you are guaranteed constant signal uptime without experiencing system shutdowns due to signal overload.
The booster system's performance can be remotely monitored through the WilsonPro Cloud using WiFi or LTE. In addition, the color LCD screen offers information on outdoor antenna optimization, performance, and more.
Most Powerful Commercial Signal Amplifier
The WilsonPro Enterprise 4300 is hands down the most powerful commercial signal booster in the market. Instead of one amplifier, it houses four independent amplifiers in one unit.
Similar to the Enterprise 1300, this unit features up to three outdoor antenna ports. When installed properly, each antenna can pick up different frequency bands to amplify signals from multiple towers. Unlike the Enterprise 1300, the Enterprise 4300 also features up to four independent indoor antenna ports to maximize coverage. The amplifier offers up to +70 dB gain with up to +17 dBm downlink on each indoor antenna port, and up to +26 dBm uplink.
Under perfect conditions, it can cover parking garages up to 100,000 sq ft. If you have decent to poor signal outside your garage, expect between 40,000 – 60,000 sq ft of coverage.
Through the WilsonPro Cloud, you're able to remotely monitor the booster's performance, make adjustments to the system, receive updates on your phone, and so much more.
To choose the best booster for your garage, check out our Office 200 vs WislonPro 1300 vs WilsonPro 4300 review.
Recommended IoT & M2M Cellular Amplifiers for Parking Garages
Best IoT Direct-Connect Signal Amplifier
Best M2M Hotspot Signal Amplifiers
The WilsonPro IoT 5-Band unit is a wonderful M2M direct-connect unit. It’s intended to connect directly to LTE modems located inside machines, cellular-based security systems, etc. It’ll work best in areas with decent cellular signal to speed up the responsiveness of the machine it is connected to. Keep in mind, though, that it will not broadcast cellular signal for other devices to enjoy – that’s the job of a cell phone signal amplifier.
The hotspot M2M bundles are designed specifically to enhance the performance of cellular routers or modems. They’ll communicate with distance cell towers and bypass any building material preventing your modem/router from providing maximum wireless coverage. As a result, the cellular modem/router will receive superior cell signals and broadcast reliable internet service for your wireless interest-dependent smart garage machines. The M2M bundles can be used as a primary or secondary network.
Who Are You, and How Can You Help Me?
We’re Wilson Amplifiers, and we’ve been improving cellular signals in buildings since 2011. Depending on the size, scope, and situation, our experts can tailor a custom solution for you in time, under budget, and with a professional installation.
Services we provide:
- FREE consultation adhering to your requirements and budgets.
- Floor plan analysis with detailed heatmaps & coverage expectations.
- Equipment selection from only the best.
- Site survey from certified wireless technicians.
- Professional cell phone signal booster installation & expert project management.
- Better signal or industry-leading 90 money-back guaranteed. No questions asked.
- Lifetime technical support and a 2-year warranty for all products.
For more information on how our services have helped other businesses, check out our case studies.
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