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Solving the Wireless Signal Strength Problem

By Jeff Kagan
Dec 1, 2011 5:00 AM PT

I recently discovered Intermap, a company that helps wireless networks solve a growing problem -- poor signal quality and strength.

Solving the Wireless Signal Strength Problem

It has seen growth rates of 419 percent during the last year and, based on what I've seen so far, that may just be the beginning.

My Pick of the Week is the hot new Apple iPhone 4S. It's in short supply -- what's up?

Fading Signals

Did you ever wonder how wireless networks keep the best signal strength between their cell towers, and how they prepare for new towers and network expansion? It's an ongoing process.

Cell towers are scattered around every city. Wireless carriers spend a fortune and lots of time sending people up to the top of every tower just to visually see the connecting towers.

The reason they do this is to improve the connection you have with the network. As time goes by, things change. Trees grow, buildings go up, billboards and signs get in the way. All of this impedes the signal between towers. That's trouble.

Good connections start to become not so good. Service can slow down or even disappear. Blocked signals mean poor connectivity to the network. Remember, a wireless signal is only as strong as its weakest connection. Customers who don't get good service switch away, and wireless carriers lose business.

That is the problem that Intermap helps wireless carriers solve. Fixing this problem on an ongoing basis is key to keeping happy customers and sustained growth for every wireless carrier.

Location-Based Information

Yesterday, finding and managing all the bad cells took too much time and money. Unfortunately, too many wireless networks still use yesterday's solution.

Intermap has a modern day solution. It uses a variety of techniques. It has not only created, but also continually updates, digital maps of every city showing anything that can get in the way of a strong signal.

Simply put, it provides location-based information, or LBI, from 3D digital models showing the strength of connections between every tower. This makes it easy for every carrier to improve service quality by aligning its towers. Intermap has its own aircraft with special equipment to measure every mile called "NEXTMap LinkPro."

Intermap helps wireless companies both with network expansion and with keeping existing networks in alignment and at top strength.

What this means is that wireless carriers like Verizon Wireless, AT&T Mobility, Sprint Nextel, T-Mobile, C Spire, U.S. Wireless, MetroPCS and so many others no longer have to spend time and money sending people to the top of towers across their networks just to try and see the next tower off in the distance.

Instead, they can simply use Intermap software to get a detailed look at every cell site in every city and fix every problem. Then they can raise or lower or change configurations as needed -- quickly and inexpensively.

Intermap works in multiple industries, not just wireless. I will share more about its endeavors as I learn about them.

This is a great example of a company with a great idea. It sees a growing problem and has developed an innovative solution that, so far, is translating into a real growth opportunity.


Jeff Kagan's Pick of the Week

My Pick of the Week is the hot new iPhone 4S. Apple is having a hard time keeping carriers stocked with this device.

When you walk into an AT&T Mobility, Verizon Wireless or Sprint Nextel store to pick up a new iPhone 4S, you walk out with a promise that your iPhone will arrive in the next couple of weeks. What?

C Spire does not seem to have this problem. When you walk into one of its stores, you walk out with an iPhone.

So what is up? Is this a question of incredible demand or manufacturing problems? We don't know yet.

It will be interesting to see how this turns out, but even with these bumps in the road, it looks like the Apple iPhone 4S is another big success.

Congratulations all.


E-Commerce Times columnist Jeff Kagan is a tech analyst and consultant who enjoys sharing his colorful perspectives on the changing industry he's been watching for 25 years. Email him at jeff@jeffKAGAN.com.


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