QU to enhance cell phone reception

By on October 10, 2012

Around the residence halls, in classrooms and in the library there is one problem many students may encounter: bad cell phone reception. But that is about to change.

Quinnipiac has recently signed a commitment with a third-party company, American DAS, to put an in-building system on all three campuses which will enhance cell service inside the buildings.

“Right now [American DAS] is still designing the system,” said Jim Trella, director of information technology project management. “They are figuring out where the antennas need to be and how strong.”

The system is planned to be ready at the latest for the Fall 2013 semester, Trella said.

Trella oversees the QU Mobile Communications Program, a campus-based communications program developed by Information Services. Within it are applications like the QU Broadcast Alert, MOX, LaundryView and the QU Shuttle Tracker, which is coming soon.

QU Mobile’s mission is to “[e]nhance campus life by delivering useful content to mobile devices across the university community.”

“We want the information from the different apps to go out to everyone’s phone,” Trella said. “We realize that you need to get information in addition to phone calls, text messages and emails.”

The designing phase generally takes anywhere from six to nine months. Research on improving cell phone service at Quinnipiac began about a year and a half ago when surveys were sent out to the student body asking about the quality of cell service inside and out of Quinnipiac buildings.

The anonymous survey results rated cell service at 5 out of 10, or “average” for inside buildings and 10 out of 10, or “great service, no complaints,” for outside buildings.

One anonymous survey said, “[s]ervice is usually fine in my dorm but in some classrooms I get no service, especially in the Rec Center.”

“This system wasn’t the norm a year and a half ago, so we are on the cutting edge as we try to install the system,” Trella said.

There is currently a similar system installed on the Mount Carmel campus that only enhances service to Sprint users.

“This is a multi-pronged process,” Trella said. “We know we have a problem because students tell us. But now the carriers need to agree to help fix it.”

Sophomore Allie Penta spends most of her time in the library and the Carl Hansen Student Center where she has a lot of interruptions of cell phone reception.

“It would make things a lot easier if I could get a hold of people without having my phone cut out,” Penta said.

American DAS’s goal is to provide the system and get the four carriers: Verizon, AT&T, Sprint and T-Mobile to plug into the system.

“We encourage students to tell their carrier about the poor cell reception,” Trella said. “Carriers don’t want to see customers turn to a different carrier, they want to retain them.”

Trella said not to expect anything before January 2013, but they are working on getting the installation ready as soon as possible.

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