Above the clouds in the name of DAS – mobile signal in high rise buildings

It is strange to think that working in the mobile phone business gets you to unique places before the public gets to experience it.

This experience happened in the tallest building in London, dubbed as a vertical village, 22 Bishopsgate.  We had been asked to design and build a PMR radio system that supported the Wi-Fi to carry their critical communications.

The job was great; the system was designed and built with no challenges, and the team at 22BG were super helpful and supportive; however, the best part of the job was the view; just amazing on a clear day and fascinating when cloudy.

On a clear day, you can see for miles all the way across to Wembley Stadium in the west and to Canary Wharf and the Olympic Park to the East.  With London sprawling at your feet, I was looking down on the Tower of London and the Thames snaking its way through the metropolis. The London Eye looked like a Ferris wheel, and HMS Belfast like a bath toy.

london skyline - mobile signal in high rise

The next day the weather had turned, and the capital was blanketed in a thick layer of cloud; we didn’t expect to see anything from our lofty position. But as we stepped out on the empty top floor, we were presented with a brilliant white blanket of clouds that had settled over the city; we were above the cloud layer, with just the point of the Shard poking through the clouds.

22 bishopsgate tip peeping through the clouds - mobile signal in high rise

As always, there is a price to pay for these magnificent views, and that, my friends, is many stairs. Don’t get me wrong, the lifts worked fine, and we used them to get to the very top floors, but the installation involved installing a feeder cable down the communications riser from the 60th floor to the basement.  We then had to install an antenna on every third floor.  It would have taken far too long to travel down by the lift, so we climbed up and down the three flights of stairs each time.  Now there are 62 floors in 22 Bishopsgate,  so essentially, we went up and down some 186 flights of stairs,  with 25 steps per flight, that is 4650 stairs for the whole installation.  Never say I skip leg day.


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