Herbert Retail’s Distributed Antenna System (DAS) solves indoor signal not spots. Colin Eddison Technical Director at the group explained to Mobile why its Zinwave DAS solution gives dealers and distributors the potential to provide coverage solutions to places network operators can’t.
Who are Herbert Retail?
‘We’re systems integrator providing everything from start to finish for in building mobile coverage solutions. This goes from initial design and surveying through to the installation and service of the solution.
’It’s a private family owned business, which is 250 years old. Our background is in providing IT related services for retail and we have had long term contracts with some of the country’s biggest names. We’ve held Tesco’s (PC) Scale & Printer contract for over 40 years as well as Sainsbury’s for over 30 years. You don’t retain those contracts without maintaining extremely high standards.’
Tell us about what you do?
‘We implement in-building mobile coverage solutions using the Zinwave Distributed Antenna System (DAS). Working in consultation with the three main operators, EE, O2 and Vodafone from the outset we are able to create solutions that can be quickly approved. We then source the equipment mainly from Zinwave, configure it, dispatch to site to our onsite guys who install it to the required specifications. We commission it, do the necessary testing and then provide ongoing support.
‘The business has a longstanding history in service and installation. So it’s normal to do a national roll out of equipment in a matter of weeks. The beauty of our solution is that the system tells us it’s OK every 30 seconds and if something changes we find out immediately. We handle 40,000 calls a year and 5,000 installations in our retail base. We have short response times and call out times including a 4 hour call to fix which in the mobile sector is unheard of and outstanding.’
Tell us more about Zinwave?
‘Zinwave are the designer and manufacturer of the wideband DAS equipment. As a manufacturer they work through system integrators. We were the first company to recognise the potential of Zinwave and the power of its DAS solution. The business was set up by a couple of university professors. From the outset we could see the potential, from the ease of installation to the future proofed nature of the solution.’
Can you explain how DAS works?
‘A Distributed Antenna System uses a small cell, or full Base Station, to obtain mobile call connection and capacity from the Mobile Network Operators. Effectively a small cell is a mini base station that connects to the larger network through a customer’s existing broadband connection and provides the RF transmit and receive signals mobile phones use over a small localised area. You don’t need a mobile operator’s costly base station and backhaul . The beauty of this approach is we provide the small cell which is then plugged in to the customer’s existing internet connection. Once the necessary firewall security settings have been implemented by the Customer the system automatically connects to the mobile telecoms network. The signals are transmitted to phones using Zinwave’s DAS.
‘It’s a very simple and easy install, we put in the low voltage power so there’s no mains in the ceilings. We can complete the install in a matter of days. It’s incredibly low cost to maintain too, I only have to carry four spare parts’
What are the benefits of a DAS system?
‘If the customer has a problem making and receiving and sustaining calls in their building, this solution is ideal. Particularly if a customer spends a long time trying to get through to a client and the call is dropped, the damage to the business can be significant. With the three main networks covered a DAS system takes the number of dropped calls down dramatically. It hands over to the main network extremely well so a customer leaves the building the connection is maintained. The quality of service and quality of satisfaction is unbeatable.’
Do you have any examples?
‘We’ve been told explicitly by Sky that at their Osterley campus where they introduced a DAS system our solution was one third the cost of the other multi operator solution. We’ve had hospitals, shopping centres and businesses all praise both the affordability and the effectiveness of our solution on a regular basis.’