Feeds

No mobile signal? Blame hippies and their eco-friendly walls

Cosy rooms equal less connectivity - new study

Build a business case: developing custom apps

MWC 2013 Mobile networks are losing as much as 88 per cent of their bandwidth thanks to energy-efficient walls and windows, we're told. The insulation seals in the heat and keep out the coverage, according to a company flogging a solution.

The Spectrum Research Group compiled the figures at the behest of SpiderCloud, which hopes that greater exposure of the problem will prompt sales of its intra-campus cellular networks.

The Spectrum Research Group claimed the average university site only propagates 30 per cent of frequencies available to mobiles. And that even where indoor coverage is available, we're told handsets flicker between radio slots fast enough to cripple battery life and strain the network with excess signaling.

Company campuses are the worst, apparently, with one site blocking the aforementioned 88 per cent of signals, but it isn't just weak reception that's preventing decent indoor coverage as having too many signals can be equally damaging to one's connectivity.

Tower blocks have always been problematic to network designers: not only do they cast an irritating radio shadow but the mitigating ring of transmitters - which one is obliged to build - means that handsets used within the tower are offered either an unmanageable range of options or no options at all.

Getting a signal to those inside isn't just a matter of punching through the insulation; modern networks will happily take signals bounced off walls and radio waves refract through windows like ripples on a pond, making for an impossibly complicated radio map.

Spectrum Research Group told us these effects can force a handset to switch base stations 51 times while its owner walks between floors, assuming the battery lasts that long.

SpiderCloud's solution to this problem is to camp femtocells - small base stations - on the existing Ethernet cabling, and (unlike traditional femtos) integrate them into the wider mobile phone network.

This allows the smaller stations to juggle calls to and from users as they move in and out of the coverage area. The equipment is thus fitted and managed by a network operator.

If one is prepared to adopt a patch-work approach, and lose the occasional call between cells, then independent femtos work too, or one can just offload all the cellular traffic onto Wi-Fi networks that already exist.

Wi-Fi's lack of intelligence works in its favour here, in terms of preventing a handset from switching between various frequencies, as devices stick with a particular wireless network until the signal completely disappears from range.

But that makes it all but unsuitable for carrying voice calls while walking as connections tend to die before the device successfully latches onto another stronger network. Wi-Fi networks are also on the corporate LAN, cutting the user off from operator-provided services too, which is why some telcos are paying SpiderCloud to extend their network indoors. ®

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

More from The Register

next story
UK fuzz want PINCODES on ALL mobile phones
Met Police calls for mandatory passwords on all new mobes
Canadian ISP Shaw falls over with 'routing' sickness
How sure are you of cloud computing now?
Don't call it throttling: Ericsson 'priority' tech gives users their own slice of spectrum
Actually it's a nifty trick - at least you'll pay for what you get
Three floats Jolla in Hong Kong: Says Sailfish is '3rd option'
Network throws hat into ring with Linux-powered handsets
Fifteen zero days found in hacker router comp romp
Four routers rooted in SOHOpelessly Broken challenge
New Sprint CEO says he will lower axe on staff – but prices come first
'Very disruptive' new rates to be revealed next week
US TV stations bowl sueball directly at FCC's spectrum mega-sale
Broadcasters upset about coverage and cost as they shift up and down the dials
PwC says US biz lagging in Internet of Things
Grass is greener in Asia, say the sensors
Ofcom sees RISE OF THE MACHINE-to-machine cell comms
Study spots 9% growth in IoT m2m mobile data connections
O2 vs Vodafone: Mobe firms grab for GCHQ, gov.uk security badge
No, the spooks love US best, say rival firms
prev story

Whitepapers

5 things you didn’t know about cloud backup
IT departments are embracing cloud backup, but there’s a lot you need to know before choosing a service provider. Learn all the critical things you need to know.
Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Build a business case: developing custom apps
Learn how to maximize the value of custom applications by accelerating and simplifying their development.
Rethinking backup and recovery in the modern data center
Combining intelligence, operational analytics, and automation to enable efficient, data-driven IT organizations using the HP ABR approach.
Next gen security for virtualised datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.