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July 25, 2018

City of Reno moves forward to allow small cells on city owned street lights

Filed under: CARRIERS


On July 25, 2018 the Reno City Council moved forward to allow the installation of small cells on city owned street lights. The agreements with AT&T, Verizon and ExteNet Systems, Inc. are projected to allow the installation of 100 small cell sites in the first year of deployment, and up to 5000 locations after 5 years. Additionally over 150 miles of fiber optic cable will be installed to support the small cells.

Some differences between a small cell and the more common “macro cell” are the size of antennas and equipment, and the range. While a macro cell will typically service a range of one to several miles with multiple directional antennas as large as 8 feet tall, a small cells range is typically no more than 1/4 mile with antennas just a few feet tall and hidden inside a shroud atop a street light or other tall pole.

A small cell pictured here was constructed in mid-2018 on an existing street light at the corner of Evans Avenue and Enterprise Road in Reno, and served as a demonstration of what future small cells would look like.

Edited 11/8/18 to correct that the small cell shown in the picture was a non-operational demonstration of the what small cells would look like. 

December 31, 2017

2017 Year in Review: Verizon adds 5 new sites, all carriers updating antennas

Filed under: Uncategorized

The year 2017 ended with Verizon continuing to add cell sites in the Reno area. Meanwhile all carriers have updated their antennas in the past year to help improve signals and coverage area.

Verizon Wireless added 4 new cell sites in the Reno area, and an additional site was nearing completion at the end of the year. The sites include:

  • I-580 & W Huffaker Ln.
  • ArrowCreek subdivision in suburban southwest Reno
  • Sky Tavern ski resort
  • S Virginia & Wells Ave – replacing a lower-elevation site across the street
  • (Nearing completion) Mt Rose Hwy (SR 431) near Mountain Ranch Rd.

All carriers have been replacing antennas on existing cell sites. The new antennas support additional frequencies and add multiple-antenna technologies that work with most newer smartphones.

A look ahead into 2018 currently shows a slowing of new cell site construction activity:

  • A new T-Mobile cell site is currently under construction at Vista Blvd & Los Altos Pkwy in Sparks
  • Two new Verizon cell sites have been approved for construction in Reno/Sparks.

November 24, 2016

How to improve wireless cell coverage at home

Filed under: CARRIERS

Do you have poor wireless cell coverage at home due to wireless carriers having trouble locating their cellular transmission antennas, towers and poles in residential neighborhoods? Resident complaints that cell towers will decrease property values or become eyesores within the landscape have persuaded elected officials to deny the permits needed to construct new cell sites.

Fortunately there are a few solutions that will improve wireless cell coverage within the home or other small-to-medium size buildings where coverage is weak. All four major U.S. wireless carriers now offer Wi-Fi Calling, which is available on many of the latest smartphones. Alternatively, the carriers also offer a small device that connects to your home broadband internet connection technically called a “femtocell” – which improves the wireless signal to cell phones located nearby. Each carrier has their own branded femtocell – links for the individual carrier’s femtocell offerings follow:

Wi-Fi Calling can be a better alternative – it uses the existing wi-fi connection in your home to connect your phone to the wireless cellular network through your home broadband internet connection. When connected, calls and text messages will typically be as clear and reliable as your wi-fi connection. Check with your carrier and/or smartphone manufacturer for instructions on how to setup Wi-Fi Calling.

The advantage of Wi-Fi Calling vs. getting a femtocell is that if you have a compatible smartphone and a Wi-Fi router, there is no extra cost to setup Wi-Fi Calling. A femtocell can cost up to a few hundred dollars, however carriers will sometimes discount or fully subsidize the cost for the device for their more profitable customers.

 

October 30, 2016

Verizon adds 3 more cells sites in the Reno area since July, relocates one

Verizon has launched three new cell sites since July and relocated one due to road construction. The new sites include:

  • Lemmon Valley – next to the water tower off Patrician Drive
  • Wooster High School – replacing one off the light poles on the football field
  • Summit Mall – a monopine located at a self-storage facility behind the mall

In Sparks, a cell site near Pyramid Way and Queen Way was relocated to a new church tower to the east due to the construction and widening of Pyramid Way.

July 28, 2016

Verizon Wireless continues to add new cell sites in the Reno area

Verizon Wireless continues to outpace other wireless carriers in the construction of new cell sites in the Reno area. Since February 2015, Verizon has added 4 new cell sites:

  • McCarran & Neil – atop the office building across from Meadowood Mall
  • East Lincoln & Howard, Sparks – a monopole near the Sparks Marina
  • Greenbrae Shopping Center, Sparks – a monopine behind the Post Office
  • Las Brisas Blvd. near N. McCarran – a monopine near the NV Energy power substation

Verizon currently has at least 7 additional cell sites in the planning, permitting or construction process.

January 1, 2016

T-Mobile adds new cell site near South Virginia & Patriot

T-Mobile has added a new cell site near South Virginia Street & Patriot Blvd. The site is co-located on an existing monopole which is also occupied by Sprint.

August 7, 2015

Reno ranks second-to-last in June mobile network test of 125 most populous metro areas

Reno ranks 124th of the most populous 125 metro areas in the United States in testing of overall mobile network performance according to a recent RootMetrics report.

Data for the Reno metro area only shows a virtual three-way tie between T-Mobile, Verizon and AT&T for overall network performance. Individual tests of Network Reliability, Call and Text are virtually tied between the 4 major carriers which include Sprint. According to the report Verizon is the Award winner in terms of Network speed and Data, while Sprint falls short of the other 3 carriers in those categories.

February 27, 2015

Cricket Wireless old CDMA network to be shut down by mid-September 2015

Filed under: at&t,CARRIERS,Cricket

Fierce Wireless has reported that the Cricket Wireless CDMA network will be shut down by mid-September 2015. AT&T bought Cricket in 2014 and has been transitioning customers to AT&T’s GSM/LTE network.

It’s possible that once the shut down is complete AT&T will transition the old Cricket cell sites to AT&T LTE sites and help fill-in coverage gaps in AT&T’s network.

February 23, 2015

Verizon adds 6 cell sites in the Reno area during the past year

Verizon recently completed construction on 6 new cell sites in the Reno area, mainly improving coverage in existing coverage areas. Those sites include:

  • Mately Lane – Co-located on a tower with other wireless carriers near the intersection of Mill Street and Terminal Way
  • Montello & 7th – Co-located on a tower with other wireless carriers near the intersection of Sutro and 6th Street
  • Moya Blvd. & Lear Blvd. – New monopine in the Stead industrial area
  • N. Virginia & W. Golden Valley Rd. – New monopole near the Raleigh Heights subdivision
  • Pyramid Lake Hwy & Sha Neva Rd. – New 100′ monopole covering the north part of Spanish Springs
  • S. Virginia & California Ave. – atop the Ponderosa Hotel

March 14, 2014

AT&T buys Cricket, advantages for both carriers

Filed under: at&t,CARRIERS,Cricket

AT&T has completed the purchase of Cricket. AT&T will gain additional spectrum to improve coverage and capacity. Cricket users will have access to AT&T’s 4G LTE network. It is unknown at this time if AT&T will utilize some of Cricket’s cell site locations for improved coverage in poor coverage areas. Read more here: wirelessweek.com/news/2014/03/update-t-completes-acquisition-leap-wireless

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Feedback

Thank-you! Thank-you!
We decided on Cingular wireless for our cell-phones based on this site and recommendation from a friend… We live in Fernley and needed good coverage in Reno, Fernley, and Fallon…The only place we have yet had no signal is deep inside the Fallon Walmart (standing inside the front door by the snackbar gave a strong enough signal to use our new Nokia phone). We had older AT&T service previously that was almost useless in Fernley and Reno and especially in the I-80 canyon between Fernley and Reno (mostly in the canyon our phones showed “no Service”). We are now able (with our new Cingular phones and service) to talk all the way through the canyon with absolutely NO dead spots!) It is also the same in Fernley and Fallon and all along Alt 50 between them.

I hope this info on our experience will in some way help with your site! You are providing a great and needed service to this area!

Thanks again, R.S.

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Thanks for giving the customer a better shot at choosing a carrier.

R.G.
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I recently tested a Motorola V505 flip phone… …where our Nextels barely worked. The V505 is a Quadband phone and it seemed to pickup a signal in more locations. It did have some trouble but by simply walking around a little, I found a strong signal to make a call. We then purchased 8 V180 Quadband phones for our company, and switched from Nextel to AT&T Wireless… .

Thank you, D. M.