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Improving Construction Site Cell Reception and Data Using WilsonPro and Cradlepoint

I only know 1 guy who doesn't own a cell phone and everybody else I know has a smart phone. So when talking about construction sites, it's fairly safe to say that everyone there has access to communications and information right in their pocket. The question is, are these devices being used to their full potential at the construction site? Clearly there are big benefits of being able to make a phone calls and gathering information instantly.

Thinking about different scenarios, maybe I just got stuck in the basement floor IDF closet because door is jammed, or perhaps there is someone who walked in that's waiving a pistol around. The ability to be able to make a phone call could make the difference between staying the night somewhere you rather wouldn't or even life or death.

On the lighter side, access to data that you need on-the-fly utilizing high speed data rates can be the difference to getting a project on time and under budget. Most project plans and scope of work information is stored on the cloud. In technology you may be working with a piece of equipment and need chat support or firmware updates right now. Maybe you just ran out of the specific plenum grade wire for the job and need to order more asap. 

Above all you want your technology to work and work well on the construction site. Here I will show you a couple of solutions to give everyone on the construction site to ability to make reliable phone calls and help everyone or just key personnel dramatically improve data for whatever device they bring. We will do this utilizing Wilson Electronics branded products and Cradlepoint routers.  Here I will be separating cellphone reception and high speed data for better control, ease of setup and use, and on an as needed basis (maybe the phones are all fine and you just need fast data rates). The active units are rugged and durable enough to put up with harsh construction conditions and movements from one site to another. I will also be recommending some cable upgrades to make to make the system that much stronger.

Cradlepoint Routers

There are 2 units you'll more than likely want to choose due to their ruggedness and ease of use. Both of these are 4G LTE-Advanced for the fastest mobile data available. All you will need is a sim-card from your carrier or to buy a bundled deal that includes the sim-card.

COR IBR900 Series

Key Features:

  • 4G and 3G support for all North American Carriers
  • WiFi - Dual-band, dual-concurrent WiFi (802.11 a/b/g/n/ac)
  • Ruggedized Housing - IP54, Shock/Vib/Humidity MIL STD 810G & SAEJ1455
  • Operating Temperature - −22°F to +158°F
  • Contact Us for where to buy the correct unit
  • MSRP $549 - 899


Key Features:

  • Embedded LTE-Advanced 600 Mbps Modem & DC-HSPA+ Fallback
  • Supports Multiple Sim Cards from multiple carriers to choose the best
  • AT&T, Verizon, T-Mobile, Sprint
  • WiFi - Gigabit WiFi 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac wave 2 MU-MIMO – 3 radios
  • Ruggedized Housing - IP54, Shock/Vib/Humidity MIL STD 810G & SAEJ1455
  • Operating Temperature - −22°F to +158°F
  • Contact Us for where to buy the correct unit
  • MSRP $1299

WilsonPro Signal 4G

This unit is an absolute must add to either of the Cradlepoint routers listed. This is the only way (in my opinion) to maximize carrier aggregation with the least amount of bit errors. In other words, this will give you crazy fast speed. Another reason why we are choosing this unit over say an all in one wireless repeater (like the weBoost Connect 4G for example) is the ease of use and speed of setup. The Signal 4G is a direct connect amp which means you won't have to worry about all the factors of antenna placement. Just plug in the antenna, the cable to the Cradlepoint, and power up.

Key Features:

  • Bi-directional amplified signals to and from the cell tower
  • Auto-power control ensures maximum output
  • Passive RF bypass failover. If the Signal 4G loses power, the amplifier is "bypassed" so that the external antenna maintains connection to the modem
  • Self-optimizing design minimizes installation time
  • Rugged metal casing
  • Three year warranty
  • FCC and industry Canada certified
  • MSRP $249.99

Optional Upgrades:

weBoost Connect 3G-X

Finally, this is the unit to improve cell phone reception for everyone who walks onto the project site regardless of who they pay their monthly bill to. I am picking this unit over an all-in-one 4G unit for a couple of reasons:

  • Ease of setup - There are less bands to adjust for which will in turn speed up the setup.
  • I am greedy when it comes to 4G data and I want to have it and control access. A 4G booster under a heavy load will affect the boosters performance. If you are the one with the data, you should control access through your Cradlepoint router, otherwise other crews can get their own setup.

Optional Upgrades

  • Cable - Times Microwave TCOM-400-FS-DB terminated and tested $15 /ft made to order. This cable is intended to be used over and over again. The jacket is soft with good UV, abrasion and chemical resistance. It is also a fire retardant jacket. The braided coax is highly flexible.
  • Additional Indoor Antenna for extended coverage - Wilson Electronics 309906-50N Kit (to keep the setup simple, I'd only consider 1 additional antenna though kits for 2 and 3 additional exist).