Cell Phone Coverage - DAS
Information about Cell Phone coverage on Cornell's Ithaca campus.
This article applies to: Student Voice Service, Telephone Services for Faculty and Staff
The four major carriers (Verizon, AT&T, Sprint, and T-Mobile) provide "street level" cellular coverage on the Ithaca campus. This means that, when you are standing outside, you'll find an adequate signal in nearly all locations. In addition, coverage within most buildings is also good. However, signal strength within a building is influenced by several environmental factors, including
- location relative to the carrier's cell tower
- materials used in the building's construction
- your specific location above or below ground
- "shadowing," which can occur when another building blocks line-of-sight between a location and the cell tower.
A technology known as DAS (Distributed Antenna System) improves signal strength in specific locations where a need has been identified by deploying antennas inside the buildings and connecting them to a single shared connection point. Cornell has invited the cell phone carriers to participate in (and underwrite) such a system on campus. To date, only Verizon and AT&T have signed on.
DAS Locations (Updated February 17, 2020)
Frequently Asked Questions
Are all buildings on Cornell’s Ithaca campus served by the campus distributed antenna system?
No. Most campus buildings don’t require expanded cellular coverage; they receive more than adequate coverage from the cellular provider’s cell site. Locations are evaluated for cellular coverage and are targeted by the participating cell companies and Cornell when the investment needed for improved coverage is warranted.
Are there plans to add locations to the Ithaca campus DAS network?
Yes, see the chart above. Candidates for DAS additions must go through a process that evaluates existing coverage and gives the cellular providers an estimate of the costs of connecting the building to the campus DAS. The providers then decide whether to fund the additional connections.
Are all cellular providers licensed in the Ithaca area connected to the campus DAS?
No. At this time only two cellular providers, Verizon Wireless and AT&T Mobility, are connected to the campus DAS. While the campus DAS system was built to support any cellular provider, so far only these two providers have chosen to participate.
What cellular signals are distributed on the Ithaca campus DAS?
Verizon Wireless distributes 2G, 3G, and 4G (LTE) signals over the campus DAS network. AT&T Mobility distributes 2G and 3G, and has plans to upgrade their DAS connection to support 4G (LTE) in the fall of 2013.
How can I tell if my mobile device is receiving a cellular signal from the campus DAS or from a cellular provider’s cell tower?
Customers can’t tell whether the signal on their mobile device is from the campus DAS or from a provider’s cell tower. Cellular technicians and engineers can use special software applications on test devices to determine the origin of the cellular signal.
If I’m having issues receiving or making calls on campus from buildings that have DAS systems, who should I report them to?
All issues in receiving or making calls from your mobile device must be reported to your cellular provider. They will investigate and determine where the problem is. If they determine the issue is with the campus DAS, the cellular provider will dispatch cell technicians to address the problem.
I think my location should be added to DAS coverage. What should I do?
Contact the IT Service Desk and ask them to open a ticket with CIT's Voice Engineering group.