Spotwave devices expand in-building mobile coverage

In an effort to realize its goal of providing devices that ensure “always-on” cellular coverage, Spotwave Wireless Inc. announced two products Monday that help solve in-building reception problems common to users of wireless voice and data services.

Providing coverage for office areas of 50,000 square feet and open spaces of up to 100,0000 square metres, these adaptive repeater products, the SpotCell 200 and the SpotCell 210, are self-adjusting. This means they adjust automatically to compensate for oscillation and variations in signal strength.

The company says it developed the devices in response to the need of its carrier customers to solve in-building coverage problems, and that the devices are ideal for large building spaces such as big box retail outlets or manufacturing facilities which require wireless coverage of 50,000 square feet or more.

For example, an electronics manufacturer could install a SpotCell unit inside its manufacturing facility to improve in-building wireless coverage.

The SpotCell 200 and 210 are composed of three components: one donor unit and two coverage units. The donor unit would be deployed where it could receive the strongest signal, said Steve Adams vice-president of marketing and product management at Spotwave in Ottawa. Often this would be on the roof of a building or mounted on a window.

The coverage units are connected to the donor unit by coaxial cable and would be deployed where signals are lost such as in the basement of a building or an elevator shaft, Adams said.

He added that the devices are easy to install – anyone with an understanding of LANs can deploy the devices and they require no management.

“Traditional systems have knobs and switches and you have to be able to understand what’s going on in the network, in the building, and how that might change over time, and really engineer it,” he said. “We’ve put the engineer in the box to take all that out of the user’s control.”

The SpotCell 200 and SpotCell 210 operate in the 800MHz and 1900MHz bands respectively, providing support for global system for mobile communication (GSM) technology as well as code-division multiple access (CDMA) technology, time division multiple access (TDMA) and advanced mobile phone service (AMPS).

The SpotCell 200 supports cellular-band, while the SpotCell 210 supports for personal communications services (PCS)-band. Adams said the 210 would be better suited to metropolitan areas while the 200 would be better deployed in rural areas.

The devices cost US$7,000 each.

In addition they are compatible with Spotwave’s previous line of adaptive repeater products, the SpotCell 100 family, released about a year ago. The SpotCell 100 supports cellular band, while the SpotCell 111 supports GSM and the SpotCell 112, CDMA. However, because they are composed of a donor unit and only one coverage unit, the devices only cover half the area.

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