IBW solutions are like Cinderella’s shoes. There’s no one-size-fits-all solution for every aspiring IBW’ers.
Why? Because buildings are different. The construction materials and the way they’re built are different. Their in-building dynamics are also different. The incumbent technologies the buildings have (or not) are also unique. (What else?)
So, architecting the same solution for all, and expecting them to be equally effective and efficient for all forms of spaces is like… sowing different seeds and expecting them to bear same type of fruit. Not possible.
So, how do we know what seed to sow?
The answer doesn’t quite depend on what fruit we desire. But instead, on how hungry we are, what tools we have (or not) to cut and peel. We may ‘desire’ a piece of raspberry, but will that be enough to sooth the grumbling stomach? You may really need a large pineapple, but do you have the right tools to help you peel, cut and prepare it?
The key step is to decide what type of technology you need. To define this, you need to also be able to outline what your unique circumstances are.
Type of space
One of the first question to ask is, what kind of space is it?
Is it public or private?
If it’s private, is it a residential complex, office building, factory, or industrial space?
If it’s public, is it a shopping centre, school, airport?
This will help determine the requirements as all spaces have their own dynamics. Some spaces are low, stretched and horizontal. Others are tall and vertical. Some spaces have a lot of underground/basement areas. Others do not. Some are indoors, some are outdoors, and others are a mix.
Where is your building located?
Is it in the metropolitan area, or is it fairly remote?
What are the cellular infrastructure like in the area on a macro level?
What are the type of construction materials your space is built with?
Are there a lot of building constituents that are thick and robust? It might be good for the building but some materials are the true enemies of the Radio Frequencies. So it's important to know what you're working with.
Are there basements? Are there any hard to reach spaces and tricky corners?
What type of infrastructure does it already have?
Are there any form of In-Building-Wireless solutions in the building already?
And what are the gaps?
What type of occupants will the building have?
What is the occupancy rate and what are the anticipated demand?
Are the occupants likely to be technologically driven, therefore pushing the per-user demand?
What is in scope in terms of the coverage area?
Is it going to be indoor only requirement? Or outdoor only coverage?
Or will it be a mix of both? If so, in what proportion?
What are the regulatory requirements?
Will the space need to support public safety networks?
So how well do you really know your space?
There are many questions to be asked, but the first step is to define all the requirements from many different perspective, and explore what options you have on hand that can satiate these requirements.
Also important to note that the answers to these questions will be simpler to answer if there's a thorough understanding of the space and its dynamics. This is a key reason why carrying out a comprehensive onsite survey is so critical to the success of the IBW project.
Just as much as it is vital to understand what your needs are, it's also pivotal to have the right partner to work through these with you.