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Frankfurt’s MAIN TOWER Goes Wireless With a Solution Featuring SPINNER Components

A 55-storey, state-of-the art office high-rise in the heart of downtown Frankfurt, the MAIN TOWER is among one of the more prominent features of the riverside cityscape. Its occupants – prestigious banks, international law firms and consulting companies – expect nothing less than ubiquitous coverage for mobile communications throughout the building. B.Schmitt mobile was tasked to plan and install a network that would meet these demands. It features components furnished by SPINNER.

SPINNER DAS Main Tower lFrankfurt’s MAIN TOWER goes wireless with a solution featuring SPINNER components

The MAIN TOWER is not just one of Frankfurt am Main’s tallest skyscrapers. Capped with a 40-meter, candy-cane striped antenna, it is a familiar landmark easily recognized from afar. “An icon on the skyline of the Hessian financial center,” says Tobias Trageser, the building manager tasked by the Gesellschaft für Gebäude-Management (GGM) to look after this skyscraper. “The Tower’s exclusive office ambience simply demands a state-of-the-art wireless network that is cost-effective and ready for future mobile applications.” He adds that he was keen to spare tenants any added operating expenses or annoying noise from fans that cool network components.

A state-of-the-art network for all services

B.Schmitt mobile’s brief was to upgrade the building’s network infrastructure to accommodate high-volume traffic and state-of-the-art data services such as LTE and 5G. Noise produced by added fans and the heat generated by active network components were also a concern for the building manager, who was unwilling to entertain any comprises in that regard. The best way to resolve those issues was to go with a passive distributed antenna system (DAS) featuring SPINNER network components.

This solution’s price tag was another persuasive selling point. A passive network is far more affordable – an active network costs around twice as much – and its operating expenses for both electricity and maintenance come to a grand total of zero.

More than 60,000 m² of office space, but hardly any room for equipment

Even in a 200-meter-tall office tower has little room to spare for communications equipment. In this case, there was just part of one rack available to accommodate the combining system. To shoehorn all the requisite equipment into such a tight space, B.Schmitt mobile would need a custom system the likes of which had never been seen before. “SPINNER designed and built us a mobile network combining system that funnels 32 inputs for different radio bands and operators into 12 outputs. Squeezing a lot of systems tech into the tightest of spaces, it fits precisely into the available slots and has excellent technical specifications,” says Markus Jung, project manager at B.Schmitt mobile. “The great isolation and minimal PIM [passive intermodulation] ensure that the network operator is able to make the most of the maximum bandwidth and actually achieve the highest possible data throughput.”

Saving money with uncompromising product quality

B.Schmitt mobile drew up its network plans based on the required coverage quality, created a detailed 3D model, and made the rounds to coordinate with building operators and network providers. With all these preliminaries marked off its to-do list, the team was ready to draft an installation plan. That is no easy feat in prime locations where occupants do not look kindly upon disruptions. Installation work during normal office hours was out of the question. The various crews picked up their tools when office staff left for the evening, tidying up the building site after their night shift and before those staffers returned the next morning.  
Tight schedules like this hinge on the availability of network components. “We can always count on SPINNER’s delivery promises. The high availability and short delivery time of SPINNER network components – everything from assembled jumpers to the combining system – is a key factor for the success of this type of project.”

B.Schmitt mobile’s installation crew worked its way up from floor to floor, making liberal use of components pre-assembled specifically for this project to stick to the schedule and minimize disruptions along the way. Rolling out the system was a major stride, but there were still some measuring left do: “Time really was tight,” says Jung. “If we had discovered a fault while taking our measurements, we would have had to localize the problem and replace the defective component, in which case unexpected expenses could have run high, soon putting us over budget and behind schedule. But we didn’t have to replace a single installed SPINNER component in this project. That’s the quality we expect and appreciate from SPINNER.”

It was a smooth and rewarding collaboration for B.Schmitt mobile and SPINNER at the Frankfurt MAIN TOWER. Both enterprises are looking forward to major projects to come with that in mind.

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