HITEC NEWS: Convention Hotel JW Marriott Austin Sees Improved Cell Voice and Data Coverage with DAS

HITEC attendees will not have to worry about inadequate cell coverage for 3G Voice or 4G Data if they are staying at the JW Marriott Austin downtown hotel. The largest JW Marriott in the Americas and the second largest in the world with 1,012 guestrooms, is a game-changer for conventions in the Austin market. Prior to its opening in February 2015, property owner White Lodging began noticing that as construction progressed, cell signals on the upper floors weakened. Although there was an initial agreement with a carrier to correct the problem, they eventually went in a different direction with RoamBOOST to correct the problem, according to White Lodging VP of IT Ken Barnes.
"Based on past history with sites of this magnitude, we recognized early on that we would have problems with appropriate cellular voice and data coverage at the Austin property," Barnes said. "Results from our site survey validated that something needed to be done to boost the cell signal throughout the property, but with construction progressing quickly, we had little time to waste to find a solution. We called on RoamBOOST to help us prepare for the opening and set us up for success."
 RoamBOOST is a Distributed Antenna System that uses a network of neutral host antennas strategically placed inside a hotel (in corridors, common areas, meeting spaces, etc.) to address signal strength issues. The system proactively removes obstacles that could potentially interfere with mobile calls or data transactions. The system works by taking an existing mobile signal and amplifying it throughout problem areas of a hotel. In the case of the JW Marriott Austin Downtown, RoamBOOST continuously transmits superior cell signal strength across 1.2 million square feet.
 Typically a DAS installation of this magnitude would require at least a 30-day planning period with 60-90 days to schedule the installation. The RoamBOOST team was given a window of 45 days to complete the entire project, which consisted of installing 516 antenna locations across all 35 floors and multi-level below ground parking deck.
"Although it was controlled chaos from the onset, RoamBOOST completed the installation under the deadline, and the team exceeded our expectations," Barnes said. "Contrary to popular belief, hotels can't install a DAS and forget it; cellular management is a science that requires continual care. Hotels need to adjust signal strengths; they need to be turned up and turned down depending on events at the property and things happening in the city. In the event that a temporary cell tower is placed in downtown Austin to support a large happening, we need to adjust accordingly. Also, if a guest or meeting planner brings a coverage issue to our attention, we will fine-tune the service to ensure that we are meeting expectations across the board.”
In addition to visiting the RoamBOOST booth, Hoteliers attending HITEC are encouraged to tour the JW Marriott Austin to see what a DAS installation looks like, including the antennas on the floors, the donor antennas on the roof, even the head-end equipment the carriers look at when their equipment is put in. RoamBOOST can install for smaller hotels to entire multi-site, multi-story properties. Typically, guests can immediately see a three-bar improvement on their phone’s signal strength meter, according to the company.
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