It’s hard to avoid seeing commercials these days for 5G from the various cellular network providers, but what impact will the technology have on the custom integration community? You might already have residential and commercial clients inquiring about 5G capabilities in their homes and businesses, and since their business is entrenched in cellular connectivity, CE Pro checked in with cell signal booster specialist SureCall to learn more.
In this week’s episode of the CE Pro Podcast, Eric Mercil, director of sales at SureCall, digs into the 5G topic as we discuss different flavors of 5G, what solutions are already available to facilitate improved signal capabilities, how integrators can talk to customers about it, potentially earn recurring revenue and more.
SureCall brings more than two decades of experience and innovation to the cell signal booster category, having been founded in 2001 in Fremont, Calif., as Mercil explains. Its portfolio offers 3G/4G/5G compatibility for any carrier’s technologies in North America, and can address a range of end-user environments seeking passive DAS (distributed antenna system) treatment to boost signals.
“Very, very cost effective – it’s anywhere between 50 and 75 cents per square foot, and a lot of times that’s including your labor,” Mercil says.
“So very fast, turnkey products, and one of the other benefits SureCall brings to the market is that we are FCC and carrier approved – we don’t need any fiber backhaul, very rapidly deployed into the marketplace and really can help extend coverage for almost any building type that’s out there.”
He adds that systems can have a lot of simultaneous users and that SureCall boosters help reduce the noise impact of cell towers.
Get Up to Speed on 5G Terminology, SureCall System Design Possibilities
Mercil mentions some terms such as DAS and BDA (bi-directional amplifier) that integrators should be familiar with when entering the cell signal booster category. When it comes to 5G, some education is needed as well.
“5G can be confusing – there are a multitude of types available,” he says. “We have nationwide 5G, we have ultra-wide 5G … so let’s look at what 5G really is first.
“We have two different types of 5G that’s available on the marketplace today – one is called frequency range 1 (FR1), or I also call it low-band; and frequency range 2 (FR2), or high-band, or millimeter wave (mmWave).”
He notes that we’re already used to using the sub-6GHz technology of low-band 5G data technology that carriers are rolling out rapidly and producing strong data speeds. (See SureCall’s Jon Bacon effectively demonstrate a speed test here.)
“Then we have what everybody’s ranting and raving about, which we refer to as that mmWave, and this is where we’re seeing extremely fast data speeds – almost up to 3-gig in some places, which off a wireless network is extremely fast,” Mercil says.
“But there’s some drawbacks to it, there’s going to be a lot more equipment that’s going to be needed, just because of a limited range with those higher frequencies [between 26GHz and 38GHz].”
SureCall makes solutions for all the low-band 5G, he adds, and the company recently was announced as one of the partners to supply Verizon “a lot of technology that’s going to help us bring mmWave to the home or to the business, and then later down the road we’ll have in-building solutions as well.”
As part of its innovation, SureCall launched a couple of years ago the Force8, the first multi-band 5G cell signal booster on the marketplace, to amplify 3G, 4G and T-Mobile 5G FR1 frequencies, while now its engineers keep an eye on that ultra-wide-band mmWave. Mercil says integrators should help set customer expectations on how they are using 5G data today and what’s ahead for home usage, such as what we’ve seen Verizon advertising lately.
“The question we’re really going to need to ask the customer is how are we going to use our phone … are we worried about data, are we worried about voice, or a combination of both,” Mercil asks. He notes the design services portal from SureCall can help dealers figure out the solution that best helps their clients, particularly helpful on the residential side today with home office demands.
For much more from Mercil on how dealers can deliver rock-solid network system design; enlist technology like SureCall Cloud solutions to manage the boosters and earn possible RMR; use demo kits for homeowners, MDUs and commercial customers to highlight speed upgrades; and prep for the incoming mmWave ahead, download or watch the CE Pro Podcast episode above.