Future Of Building Connectivity: Why Neutral Host Networks Matter


With more than 15 years of experience, Boingo is the go-to provider for connectivity solutions worldwide. We help venues, carriers and companies keep their customers connected. Put our leadership and expertise to work for you!

When navigating CRE technology and innovation, wireless networks are at the top of the priority list. Building automation, IoT, data, augmented reality, virtual reality, artificial intelligence—these are now trending buzz words in CRE, forcing building owners to rethink their wireless strategy.

There are many factors to consider when building or upgrading a wireless network to stay competitive and move with the times, but the one aspect that should take precedence over anything else is ensuring your property is benefiting from a Neutral Host model.

Building owners often ask me what Neutral Host networks are and why they matter. Here’s how I answer them.

It’s all about shared wireless infrastructure.

Neutral Host networks are used to solve poor wireless coverage and capacity inside large venues. They are owned and operated by a third-party provider like Boingo to support multiple carriers—AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile, Verizon, and others—in high-traffic commercial properties. Unlike monolithic networks that cater to one technology or one operator, Neutral Host is a carrier – and vendor – agnostic shared platform, supporting all wireless standards and protocols.

Opt for Neutral Host DAS and small cells.

Distributed antenna systems (DAS) and small cells are often deployed under a Neutral Host model to ensure seamless wireless coverage at office buildings, shopping malls, retail locations and other dense environments with challenging radio frequency (RF) scenarios. The shared infrastructure of these cellular solutions requires fewer resources because the network is designed via a single distribution backbone and not a series of independent systems from each of the participating carriers on the network. This translates into capital cost reduction and speed to market for service providers.

Neutral Host delivers a great cellular experience, regardless of carrier.

For property owners, Neutral Host networks are considered the best approach for avoiding limitations from the carriers and evening the playing field. This means all tenants can benefit from the network, enjoying better service and improved coverage, regardless of their cellular provider.

Take advantage of cost savings.

The economics are in favor of Neutral Host models because they drive down operating costs and enhance the overall efficiency and appeal of a building’s wireless offerings. The network is managed end-to-end by a specialized partner, preserving internal and business resources for other strategic initiatives and core competencies. Some properties can also generate revenue from carriers who are eager to improve connectivity within an in-demand location.

Everyone wins.

Neutral Host networks are advantageous for all players involved—property owners, tenants, carriers and managed service providers. They balance the need for coverage and capacity with cost, while meeting property owners’ end goal of giving consumers a great connected experience. Leading Neutral Host providers also invest heavily in R&D to ensure networks are designed to meet property demands of the future—a win-win. For example at Boingo, we’re working with our CRE partners to plan out necessary 5G upgrades that can handle the next decade of innovation, and beyond.

Boingo Wireless will be the featured CRE wireless solutions provider at DisruptCRE Chicago on May 3. Stop by our booth to learn how better connectivity leads to happier tenants.

Doug Lodder is senior vice president of business development for Boingo’s DAS, small cell, Wi-Fi offload and wholesale businesses. He oversees the strategy and development of wireless networks for Boingo’s new and existing venue partnerships, as well as the monetization of those networks through innovative partnerships with wireless carriers and wholesale partners. Lodder has more than a decade of experience in managing telecommunications infrastructure in large-scale, high growth environments.