The importance of coverage testing cannot be overstated when it comes to ensuring that all required wireless services are available within a given facility. It might act as a baseline test to compare the performance of your network before and after a distributed antenna system (DAS) is added to boost coverage. DAS systems are being built or may have already been deployed nationwide to address coverage problems. Cellular and public safety radio coverage is an issue for buildings of all sizes and types for convenience, safety, and code compliance.


In this article, we’ll delve deeper into the nature of coverage testing, explaining what it is, how it’s performed, who benefits from it, and why it’s essential.


Tests of DAS and Network Coverage:


Concrete, metal, and low-emissivity (E) glass reduce the strength of a wireless signal, making indoor coverage an issue for commercial establishments. Testing coverage involves gauging the quality and intensity of radio signals, most often for cellular and wireless networks. The system subsequently compiles the data collected in this way into reports.

The Authority Having Jurisdiction (AHJ), usually a Fire Marshal, will need proof of adequate public safety radio coverage to pass a fire code inspection. The acronym “ERRCS” stands for “Emergency Responder Radio Communication Systems” testing. As a result, you can be confident that emergency personnel present at your site will be able to receive and send messages as needed. A grid of 20 or 40 squares is often set up on each building level to assess the intensity of a public safety radio signal. 


Several features are shared by many fire codes:

  •  A measured signal strength of -95 dBm or above in that grid is considered adequate.
  • Coverage must be adequate in at least 90% of the grid cells.
  • A distributed antenna system (DAS) will be needed if coverage is inadequate in any of the cells immediately next to the failed ones.


If the building doesn’t pass the coverage test, a distributed antenna system (DAS) will have to be installed to fix the coverage problems. In most cases, the AHJ will approve if the building satisfies the coverage test without requiring further modifications. 

Regardless of the current in-building coverage, some jurisdictions mandate the installation of a DAS based on square footage or other conditions.

However, cellular service is not mandated by local ordinances. The majority of “proof” of inadequate coverage is anecdotal. An employee says “Verizon service in the Conference Room is relatively weak.” There are many moving parts in cellular coverage since there are many different carriers, distinct frequency bands utilized by each provider, and many different devices that may use various frequencies or have varying performances. Professional-grade test equipment is the only method to gather reliable scientific data for all carriers and frequencies for a complete picture of your building’s cellular coverage.


How Do We Test For Coverage?


Coverage testing is available from Global Communication Services, which uses cutting-edge PCTEL hardware and software. In the “walk test,” an inspector walks around a property while carrying inspection tools in a backpack. The instruments may measure various data types, but RSRP and SINR are paramount for our purposes.

Notes on Signals Comparatively, the Signal-to-Interference Ratio (SIR) measures signal quality rather than signal intensity (RSRP). A building’s infrastructure is monitored by taking thousands of readings at various points and then analysing the results.

Maps, charts, and graphs showing what now exists “organically” and what may be done to remedy low coverage regions can be generated in reports and sent to the client in an easily understandable format. If you have a complete landscape image, you can fix coverage issues without resorting to “cookie-cutter” solutions. You have pinpointed the areas that require emphasis. By over- or under-designing a system, you may save unnecessary hassle, time, and money.

All of our cellular carriers and bands can be measured (up to and including 5G on some of our newer test sets), in addition to private land mobile radio and public safety radio, using the same piece of testing hardware and software. Several of our clients have pressing needs for one of these tests, but they may also check the other signals simultaneously.


What’s the Big Deal About Testing Coverage?


Municipalities mandate that customers with a Public Safety DAS installed do yearly (or occasionally biannual) coverage testing of Emergency Responder Radio Coverage. First responders must have access to reliable means of communication to save lives. The DAS’s proper operation may be guaranteed by periodic testing.

Until recently, bad cell phone reception was something you had to live with. Tenants, workers, and consumers need their devices to function correctly for ease and security. Getting expert cellular testing done is the best way to get an accurate picture of your organic cellular coverage and a reliable scientific data point from which to build.

Many companies rely on Land Mobile Radio (LMR) for on-site communication, yet surprisingly few have ever mapped and tested their radio coverage. To increase efficiency and protect workers, LMR coverage testing is an essential tool.

By conducting a coverage test, integrators like Global Communication Services can pinpoint the precise locations of the issues their clients are experiencing and offer custom-tailored solutions rather than generalized ones. The consumer benefits from a better functioning system and reduced wasted time and money.


If you would like more information please feel free to Contact Us.

GCS Out!