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When the new Jim Green Track & Field Center was completed, University of Kentucky Information Technology Services UK ITS installed equipment to bring the building online.

Depending on building materials and design, sometimes these materials inadvertently obstruct cellular signals, making reliable mobile phone service a challenge. That’s where UK ITS comes in.

UK ITS Cellular Engineer John Lange redistributes already existing cell service or service supplied by the carriers by making the signal stronger within a building. The technology that makes this possible is known as a Distributed Antenna System (DAS).

“I come in and I take their signal and I reroute it through various objects and devices and fiber optics,” Lange said. “I send it where it doesn’t normally go and recreate those signals where it’s needed.”

Inside buildings there are communications closets. It’s where network cables from various areas are placed into terminals and connected to networking equipment. It’s also where equipment that feeds access points and boosts signals for the DAS is installed.

It’s Lange’s job to expand the cellular signal.

Starting with outside antennas that receive signals from major carriers like AT&T, Verizon, and T-Mobile, Lange said the signal is then transported over fiber optic cable. These signals are then redistributed to remote units (amplifiers) strategically placed throughout the building, effectively rebroadcasting the signal and eliminating dead zones.

To achieve this, Lange communicates with major mobile carriers throughout the process.

"The carrier’s signal is not UK’s signal. So, we have to work in conjunction with Verizon, AT&T, T-Mobile to say, ‘I need to install this equipment here, and I'm going to retransmit it here, and then they approve it," Lange said.

Another benefit of redistributing cellular signals — seamless communication in the event of emergency situations.

Thanks to the work of Lange and UK ITS, DAS solutions help the university community stay connected and making dead zones a thing of the past.

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