Imagine you are a consumer who just bought a beautiful high-rise condo in a city like Manhattan, Miami or Chicago. Picture your company just moving into class A office space in downtown Los Angeles, Atlanta or Philadelphia. In several recent cases these customers had a rude surprise. They are in a beautiful new facility they paid good money for and yet have little to no cell service.

“Consumers expect everything to be wireless,” Squan CEO Leighton Carroll says. “Customers more than ever demand cellular service and expect it when they spend their money for high-end space. Ironically newer energy-efficient building materials can dramatically hurt cellular signal quality from legacy tower networks. In urban centers and densely populated areas, many newly constructed spaces may end up with coverage and capacity issues that impact customer satisfaction and ultimately sales.” 

And consumer demand for wireless coverage only continues to grow. According to the Cellular Telecommunications Industry Association, North American mobile traffic grew by 45 percent in 2014. Moreover Cisco projects that mobile traffic will continue to grow 47 percent annually through 2019. 

“And unfortunately, wireless carriers just can’t keep putting up endless cell towers to add capacity, particularly in major cities,” Carroll says. “Private enterprises and commercial real estate are also seeing the need to solve this issue for customers.”

The Rise of DAS and Small Cells

The need for powerful in-building networks to support increased traffic is only continuing to grow as wireless devices and applications become more sophisticated. Distributed Antenna Systems (DAS) and Small Cells are two key technologies that help solve the issues brought on by increased demand, new building materials and continued population growth. 

“While we have always worked with the major wireless companies, we are seeing new customers in sectors like commercial real estate, major companies, hospitals and universities. And the wireless carriers are looking to us bridge the gap with these groups to bring DAS systems online,” says Carroll.

DAS is what the name implies – a distributed antenna system. By placing small DAS antennas throughout a facility, coverage and capacity can be dramatically improved for all wireless carriers. Small Cells are similar to DAS but differ in one important way – they tend to be only applicable to a single wireless carrier. Regardless of solution these antennas, typically the size of a smoke detector, work in even the most remote corners of any given building. The antennas are connected to a central location in each facility where wireless carrier specific equipment is installed for connection back to the carrier’s core network. All of this requires strong planning, design, engineering and wireless carrier coordination and certification.

Commercial real estate sees DAS as important to ensuring high rents, sales and satisfied customers. Private enterprises see the need for ubiquitous high quality coverage. AT&T, Verizon, Sprint and T-Mobile see the technologies as complimentary to their traditional tower based wireless networks. 

“Many private enterprises are funding systems themselves because it is an amenity for their tenants,” Squan’s President John Celentano says. “They come to us for consulting and installation, and we can do everything from design and project management to installation and working with carriers to bring the systems online.”

Squan’s DAS networks are designed to provide optimized coverage inside and out. Recent project examples have included several university campuses, Madison Square Garden, JFK and BWI Airports and several new commercial real estate projects in Manhattan. 

“Private enterprises and commercial real estate need partners who understand the wireless ecosystem,” Squan’s Director of DAS Engineering and Delivery David Rundella says. “Wireless carriers look to us to ensure the system deployed by enterprise and real estate integrates seamlessly with their existing networks while ensuring a quality customer experience. As such we have built a team that is dedicated to the growing DAS space.” 

Squan has the planning, engineering, resource management, and organizational skills required for each project to reach its individual goals and objectives. The company’s deep relationship with wireless carriers is also an important strength.

“Building managers are looking for someone that can relate to their issues and educate them on their options,” Rundella says. “In existing space we perform baseline testing, survey their buildings and show the existing coverage levels. In new construction we design solutions using the latest technology and by partnering with GCs, architects and the wireless carriers. We then design end to end coverage solutions and ensure quality solutions for our customers. Every job we do has a dedicated project manager, and our teams have construction, wireless (RF) engineering, and electrical backgrounds. We are onsite and manage projects from inception to completion.”  

The continued investment in DAS capabilities is an important area for Squan. “We have continued to add qualified engineers and project managers that know the space, and we’ve invested in the equipment and software necessary to serve enterprise customers and carriers,” Rundella says. “We have a significant focus on keeping up with technology, staying educated and investing in employees.”

Service Differentiation

Founded in 2008, Squan provides complete solutions for every aspect of wireless delivery. By building strong partnerships with clients and wireless carriers, Squan takes a cooperative approach to providing high-quality, cost-effective solutions. 

“The business has grown by being focused on quality delivery and ensuring that we understand how to control the size, price and cost on jobs,” Carroll says. “Carriers have taken notice, and we are winning work on a national basis.” 

With a focus on wireless infrastructure, Squan works with a wide array of clients. This includes telecommunications carriers, tower companies, neutral host providers, commercial landlords, government entities, universities, healthcare institutions and other organizations looking for increased coverage and capacity. 

To date, the company has built a portfolio of more than 10,000 projects across the country. Squan oversees construction, design, testing, optimization, and maintenance of a wide variety of wireless networks including in-building systems such as DAS and Small Cells. Recent examples of high touch customer environments include Walter Reed Medical Center and Walt Disney World.

In fact, Squan moved into the DAS space largely due to its heritage and customer demand, having started in northern New Jersey just outside of New York City. The need for innovative solutions in Manhattan was a natural fit for DAS solutions. Through the experience with New York metro area customers, Squan was asked to grow geographically. Today Squan has performed work from coast to coast and works through offices in the New York City metro area, the Baltimore-Washington, D.C. corridor, Chicago and Atlanta.  

“We are only as good as our last job, and we don’t have too many layers of management,” Carroll says. “Our customers expect us to be quick to react, own any issues and perform with quality. All of this starts with hiring, developing, and retaining the best people.” 

As Squan looks to the future, it can take advantage of the lessons learned from the work it has already done. Additionally the continued investment in the quality of Squan’s people will have a positive long-term impact on its ability to execute for all of its customers, including carriers, private enterprises and beyond. 

“All of our customers want quality performance and on-budget projects,” Carroll says. “We will invest in each of our vertical markets as well as our people so we will be able to develop the right teams and continue to deliver.” 

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