Living in the quiet metropolis of Ottawa, where BlackBerry Cool Tower is one of the tallest buildings in the downtown core, the BBCool staff takes our BlackBerry reception for granted — we rarely, if ever, have to worry about coverage.
So it was interesting to read this article from ComputerWeekly, about K&L Gates, a Washington DC law firm that went to some great lengths to ensure that their employees had BlackBerry coverage. Why did they have to work so hard? The firm was forced to build offices three stories underground to comply with Washington’s height requirements; the building’s construction also affected those working above-ground. Apparently, the lack of BlackBerry action was causing morale problems within the firm.
“When you move from an environment where you’re used to having coverage into one where you don’t have it, it’s a pretty big letdown,” said Rodney Carson, director of administration for K&L Gates. “It was pitiful, unless you [were] right next to the window.”
K&L turned to Richard Glasgow, CEO of Glasgow Group, a DC-based telecommunications and network consulting firm that specialises in communications infrastructure, telephony systems and datacentre technologies. Glasgow recommended the LGC Wireless InterReach Unison system.
Glasgow ran more site surveys and designed an antenna placement model, and LGC deployed the system’s cabling along with 24 remote antennas during the main construction work. Three Unison hubs were then added in the building’s communications center to drive the antennas. When K&L Gates moved into the space in January 2006, the last hurdle was getting the carriers — T-Mobile and Verizon — on board.
After a short time, T-Mobile deployed a mini base station in K&L Gates’ equipment room and linked it to its network via a T-1 line. By April 2006, BlackBerry service was up and running, providing coverage for the nearly 300 BlackBerry 7290 users in the D.C. office.
Sounds like a happy ending for everyone, although I wonder what the long-term affects of working beside a cellular base station will be. Oh well! At least now we have a surefire answer to why BlackBerrys should have Wi-Fi support!