Small towers to improve cell service at PSU

  Tuesday, August 11, 2015 2:00 AM

Pittsburg, KS

Small towers to improve cell service at PSU

In 2014, an average of 9,813 fans filled Pittsburg State University’s Carnie Smith Stadium on football game days -- the third highest average attendance in NCAA Division II. The only downside to great attendance at Gorilla football games, according to Angela Neria, chief information officer at PSU, is that all those fans with all their cell phones has been too much for the existing cellular companies servicing Pittsburg to handle.

That’s about to change. The university and the City of Pittsburg have worked with Verizon to facilitate the installation of four “small cell” towers around campus, which should significantly improve coverage on game days and all year ‘round.

“We were worried about safety issues at big events like football games,” Neria said.

The plan, which has been in the works for a year, relies on the use of “small cell” towers, a rapidly growing trend in the wireless industry. New technology allows for the compression of major components of a cell tower into a device that can be mounted on the side of a building or a small pole.

“They are very small and quite non descript,” Neria said. “They look like the university’s light poles without the light.”

Installation of the new towers began this week.

Neria said she can imagine other parts of campus, such as the Bicknell Family Center for the Arts and the Robert W. Plaster Center, where similar installations could be effective.

“The proliferation of smart phones and tablets has driven the increasing demand for data over wireless systems, which means we are always working to increase wireless coverage,” Neria said.

That demand isn’t expected to abate anytime soon. A recent report by the IT company Cisco Systems estimated mobile traffic in the U.S. would increase seven times by 2019.



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