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Cornell University

Cell Phone Coverage - DAS

Information about Cell Phone coverage on Cornell's Ithaca campus.

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Cornell itself does not own or operate cell phone services. Since mobile devices are the property of individuals, service problems must be reported by the account owner to their cellular provider. Cornell technical support cannot report issues with cell phone services on behalf of individual account owners to cell phone providers.

The three major carriers (Verizon, AT&T, 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)

West Campus

  • Alice Cook House
  • Carl Becker House
  • Hans Bethe House
  • William Keeton House
  • Flora Rose House
  • Baker North
  • Baker South
  • Baker Tower
  • Boldt Hall
  • Boldt Tower
  • Founders Hall
  • Lyon Hall
  • McFaddin Hall
  • Mennen Hall

Other Locations

  • Companion Animal (Vet) Hospital

Central Campus

  • Sage Hall
  • Day Hall
  • MVR
  • Kroch Library
  • Baker Lab
  • Clark Hall
  • Gates Hall
  • Physical Sciences
  • Weill Hall
  • Wilson Synchrotron
  • Rhodes/ Grumman Hall
  • Duffield Hall
  • Cornell Health Services

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 evaluated by the cell companies and Cornell to determine if the investment needed for improved coverage is warranted.

Are there plans to add locations to the Ithaca campus DAS network?

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?

Both carriers distribute 4G and 5G signals over the campus DAS network.

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.


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