Delivering cellular and two-way radio coverage to Bloomberg London
Bloomberg’s European headquarters, located in the City of London, was designed by Foster + Partners to bring people together in ways that promote collaboration and communication. Being involved from the early stages of construction enabled Pan RF to deliver a discreet but effective distributed antenna system to provide the mobile and two-way radio coverage integral to delivering this vision.
Seamless mobile coverage between the outside and inside of building
Designed and installed to be invisible and not detract from the building’s aesthetic
Single distributed antenna system provides both cellular and two-way radio coverage
To find out more about our mobile and two-way radio coverage solutions please get in touch
Strong mobile coverage for the office of the future
Foster + Partners’ vision for Bloomberg’s London HQ anticipated and accommodated new flexible ways of working. The building includes a vast “greeting, relaxing and collaborating space” for staff, more on the scale of an airport terminal than a traditional open plan office. To support staff and visitors working more flexibly – i.e. untethered from desks and working on their own devices – necessitates robust mobile coverage. Pan RF’s brief was to ensure effective coverage for all mobile users throughout the Bloomberg building – delivering coverage from all four major network operators – and to provide two-way radio coverage for facilities management and security.
Planning for an invisible solution
To maintain the intended aesthetic of this state-of-the-art building required planning and a flawless execution by Pan RF to deliver an effective but invisible system. From the early stages of the project Pan RF worked in collaboration with the architects, builders, interior designers, ceiling contractors – finding ways to ‘lose’ antennas and system infrastructure above ceilings etc. whilst still propagating signals effectively – which was essential to achieve what was required in terms of a visually discreet system and minimising the impact on any other aspect of the construction or the construction schedule.
Correcting an absence of cellular coverage can be very disruptive. Usually an equipment room has to be accommodated on the roof or in the basement, where it can take the equivalent of up to six parking spaces. Remote equipment units have to be located around the site and connected back to the main equipment room by fibre optic cabling.
With forward planning, the location and installation of the required infrastructure and cabling can be programmed into the critical path of the project to avoid disrupting critical timings and causing additional costs.
Those responsible for delivering the project understood that getting a site survey and advice about cellular coverage at the planning stage pays dividends in terms of saving time, money and disruption . Site testing carried out before the project established the coverage available for all four major networks operators. Discussions with the architects enabled Pan RF to take into account the effects of intended building materials and occupancy to design a system to deliver robust coverage in the completed development, and early involvement enabled Pan RF to co-ordinate with other relevant parties.
The challenge of thermally efficient buildings
The Bloomberg headquarters in London, one for the most environmentally friendly office buildings ever conceived, was designed to use 40% less energy than a typical office block. Winner of the 2018 Stirling Prize, it has a BREEAM Outstanding rating – the highest design stage BREEAM rating of any major office development in the world. Obviously thermal efficiency is a major contributor in achieving this. Unfortunately, whilst great for the environment and obviously something that those responsible for any building should aim for, thermal efficiency, which aims to minimise the movement of heat between the outside and the inside, also restricts mobile signals.
The materials used in the construction of Bloomsberg London – sandstone, glass and bronze – and the design of the building – big external bronze baffles and a low surface area to volume ratio – have a detrimental effect on the mobile signals available at the site being accessible inside the building, as does the frequent high concentration of mobile users within the building.
Reliance on comprehensive access to the mobile networks, ambition for increasingly thermally efficient buildings and the use of modern building materials and designs that can deliver thermal efficiency make the requirement for a distributed antenna system, particularly with the uptake of 5G, virtually inevitable for buildings like Bloomberg London.
Forward plan for an aesthetic solution
Giving consideration to cellular coverage early on in a construction or regeneration project undoubtedly pays dividends in terms of both cost and aesthetics. Pan RF has considerable experience providing bespoke, effective solutions to cellular and two-way radio coverage issues on large scale projects, including Bloomberg’s London head office, Battersea Power Station, and the Savoy Hotel.
For a no obligation discussion on planning for communication coverage get in touch.