• John Barrett on Cellular Antennas and Digital Billboards

    A reader asks if digital billboards interfere with cellular antennas or vice-versa.  This is a timely question because out of home companies are trying to generate new revenue by installing wireless antennas on billboards.  Insider asked Barrett Outdoor’s John Barrett who has deployed wireless antennas on several billboard structures what he thinks about whether digital billboards and cellular antennas interfere with each other:

    John Barrett, Barrett Outdoor

    John Barrett, Barrett Outdoor

    Yes.  There are many components in digital signs that have the potential to radiate signals in prohibited frequencies including cell phones.  The culprits can include but are not limited to poorly connected powerlines, CPU boards, and power supplies.  All such devices operating in the US are required to be certified compliant with CFR Title 47 Part 15 so as not to create this problem.  Unfortunately there are a great many foreign manufacturers who are non-compliant.  If you are an unintended emitter, the entities who hold the license will eventually hunt you down and if you fail to resolve the problem, the FCC will get involved and you will be required to shut your display down until the problem is resolved.

    Part 15 also applies to cellular telephones.  They are far less likely to be non-compliant because the downside risk to the manufacturer and carriers is very high.

    Cellular equipment can be mounted in proximity to a properly functioning display.  Unlike a static display there is no way to transmit through the face so you are likely to impact the aesthetics of your display

    Daktronics has a huge RF quiet room for testing all of their components and assemblies.  (Your cell phone won’t work in there!)

    Have cellular antennas impacted the operation of your digital billboard or is there no impact?  Let insider know using the form below.

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    One Comment

    1. Setting the antennas’ frequency on the billboards completely out of range to that of the cellular antennas in that area might be the one temporary solution to avoid the interfering.