Why Universities & School Districts Invest in Cellular Connectivity

Why Universities & School Districts Invest in Cellular Connectivity

Written by Wilson Amplifiers
14th Jun 2019

The dreaded loading screen.

At it’s “best,” it’s a minor inconvenience waiting for data to load in the era of connection anytime, anywhere.

But at its absolute worst?

It’s vital during times of an emergency: a text message to mom to tell her you’re all right, a phone call to the authorities to report immediate dangers, searching for vital information when each second counts–all dependent on a STRONG wireless connection.

See complete cell signal booster kits for your situation:


Most Schools, Colleges, and Universities Have Terrible Cellular Connection

It’s the 21st century and connectivity is the new necessity. Unfortunately, most schools are still stuck with yesteryear’s problems.

While 4G LTE signals from all carriers freely propagate in open areas, inside buildings, it’s severely limited by century-old heavy building material that blocks, absorbs, reflects, and degrades cell signal– thus limiting your coverage and creating dead zones.

Think of the layers of brick, thick concrete walls, various metal lining, and energy-efficient glass multiplied by the numerous classrooms and other interior interference. It’s already difficult to get signal inside any building let alone a large building such as an auditorium or parking garage.

Building Material / dB Loss

-32 to -50
Tinted & Low-E Glass
-24 to -40
Concrete & Cement
-10 to -20
-8 to -28
-8 to -16
Solid wood
-5 to -12
-4 to -6
Clear Glass
Fiberglass Insulation

But Doesn’t WiFi Cover Everything I Need for Indoor Coverage?

WiFi is the standard for wireless communication. However, it does have its drawbacks.

First is congestion. With hundreds to thousands of students, admin, teachers, and guests connecting to one single network at the same time, it leads to overloaded networks, slow speeds, and unreliable & unsecure connections.

Since nearly every person has a smartphone and paid plan, why not offload congestion and improve security by providing better use of their own network?

Second, in the case of a downed WiFi network, coverage across every campus and building would have no access.

Third, cellular networks are varied with AT&T, Verizon, T-Mobile, and Sprint having independent frequencies and networks to provide alternate connections.

Why STRONG Cellular Coverage is The New Water, Air, and Gas.

Connected Education

connected education

Fast-changing times introduces fast-changing technology. The Internet brings new possibilities to teaching and learning with the evolution of smartphones, smart devices, and IoT.

Students and faculty need immediate answers, and in today’s world of immense digital resources, real problems can be solved through online research, collaboration, and organization.

At the hub of the modern connected classroom and its high-quality advanced learning is wireless connectivity. With faster wireless speeds, more technological advancements can happen from self-driving cars to remote healthcare to smarter classrooms.

Ideas move fast and so should the technology to support it, not spotty coverage and weak signal.

Public Safety

When severe storms and tornadoes slam into homes, schools, and neighborhoods, immediate safety is a concern for all people as they brace for life-threatening disasters and flash floods.

Accountability is one of the most important key points as being injured and trapped are real concerns during this time of emergency.

Having reliable signal provides people to call loved ones and inform them of the situation and to stay up-to-date to all developments.

In dangerous situations with rising floods, fierce winds, and immediate danger, being able to call first responders for help and rescue is the only thing that matters–all of it dependent on having signal.

This is also include scenarios with on-campus safety. With 188 school shootings since the turn of the century, campus security needs constant connection to stay up-to-date with critical information during lockdown and security.

Committing to Technology That Provides Reliable Reception

As mentioned above, WiFi will always be the standard for wireless connection. However, having reliable in-building cellular connection is equally important as a secondary system, reducing WiFi congested networks, and providing different sources to connecting to the internet.

Let’s look at which technology IT managers and schools choose use to deliver indoor cellular connectivity.

Active DAS (Distributed Antenna System)

DAS stands for distributed antenna system. It’s a system of antennas and remote nodes that improve cellular coverage inside any building.

Active DAS uses fiber optic cables and converts analog RF signal to digital for longer cable runs and wider coverage. It also connects directly to the carrier network thus providing the best coverage. Equipment must also be powered individually.

However, it’s expensive, with up to $5 per square foot covered and deployment time is long due to getting carrier permission and necessary requirements. Also, permission is limited to only ONE carrier at a time, so having a multi-carrier active DAS system requires 4 independent requests for permission to connect to AT&T, Verizon, T-Mobile, and Sprint.


  • Basically adding a mini cell tower inside the building
  • Strongest indoor coverage for cellular
  • Good for big campuses and buildings


  • Expensive
  • Requires permission from each carrier
  • Long installation time.

Passive DAS (Distributed Antenna System)

Passive DAS pulls in off-the-air cellular signal and amplifies it to and from the cell tower. Because it is already using existing carrier signal, it does not require permission and is cheaper and faster to install–about $1 per square foot.

However, it’s not as powerful as Active DAS and is 110% dependent on the quality of outside signal. For smaller buildings (less than 250,000 sq ft), passive DAS can be used.


  • Amplifies outside signal and brings it inside
  • Cheaper than active DAS & fast installation time
  • Good for small buildings up to 250,000 sq ft


  • Not as powerful as active DAS
  • Dependent on outside signal

Wilson Amplifiers: The Trusted Name in Boosting Signal

Active or passive DAS, which is the best solution for you? Wilson Amplifiers always has the answer. Depending on the size, scope, and situation, the experts at Wilson Amplifiers can tailor a custom solution for you in time, under budget, and professionally installed.

Services we provide:

  • FREE floor plan analysis with detailed heatmaps & coverage expectations.
  • FREE consultation adhering to your requirements and budgets.
  • Equipment selection from only the best.
  • Site survey from certified wireless technicians.
  • Professional turnkey installation & expert project management.

Contact us today to get the best solution for improving your 4G LTE cellular signal indoors.

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