shared 5G

Critical Urban Connectivity, Transforming Cellular Deep Underground 

Urban areas continue to be challenged with congestion of people, structures, and assets. Parking garages need to either be ‘constructed up’ by adding additional floors or built deep underground and under urban structures. The deeper underground facilities are, the harder it is for cellular signals to reach people and places. Critical infrastructure is connected to the cellular network to improve driver and parking experiences. The rise of 5G with towers that broadcast over shorter distances also contributes to increasing cellular coverage gaps and accentuates the interference caused by walls and other barriers. 

City residents, visitors, and workers deserve and expect seamless connectivity experiences from the drive to the walk and upon entering buildings or venues. This requirement is critical for urban structures including high-rise multifamily structures, office buildings, hotels, hospitals, and campuses. 

Millennium Garages and Dense Air Networks joined forces to test modern technology solutions to improve connectivity in one of the four underground parking garages in the heart of Chicago. These parking garages sit underneath the world’s largest green roof that offers 9,176 parking spaces across 4 million square feet. This collaboration includes a focus on targeting hard to reach locations, identifying connectivity gaps, and implementing solutions to enhance smart parking. The target location is a challenging area within the garage: a 200K sq ft area, 2 levels underground in Millennium Garages’ Lakeside facility, under Maggie Daley Park. This test bed uses one set of wireless infrastructure accommodating multiple carriers to provide a secure, flexible, and scalable network to ensure public safety and continuous connectivity underground. 

The overall underground parking environment can present cellular access challenges for many reasons. First, the deeper underground the garage, the more barriers, walls, and structures there are, which degrade cellular signal and can cause a complete signal loss. In addition, garages are constructed of heavy concrete and ready-mix materials that often block signals and present further disruption in connectivity. Highly trafficked urban areas can also present increased data usage that overwhelms the network and causes connectivity issues.  

In the case of Millenium Garages, the location is one of the busiest areas of Chicago. Large seasonal events bring volumes of visitors. The garages are strategically situated along vehicle, pedestrian, and public transportation thoroughfares. They serve as a gateway to Chicago’s world-class cultural institutions, tourist attractions, and central business district.  

Highly populated cities like Chicago focus heavily on innovation and are earlier adopters of digital and connected solutions. Urban structures including standalone parking garages are becoming digital, connected, and intelligent, and Millenium Garages is capturing this trend as it works with Dense Air. Cities like Chicago are also focused on green initiatives and sustainability practices that can bring added complexity as structures require modernization to meet sustainable development goals (SDGs). To progress SDGs, cities need to secure resources including utilities, as energy efficiency and the environment takes priority. Cellular connectivity becomes the fourth utility — alongside water, gas, and electricity — as cities innovate and digitize to create better experiences for locals and tourists alike, enhance city services, and modernize transportation in and out of the city.  

Highly populated and densely structured urban areas often suffer from dead zones, connectivity gaps, and interrupted cell signals. In addition to connectivity, safety and security of people and places is a high priority for owners, leaders, and managers. Connectivity is pivotal for critical communications and for response times as these entities lean on wireless for citizen and worker safety.  

Operations across city services and departments, from parking to transportation to trash pickup, are coordinated, planned, and dispatched using the cellular network. Providing optimal city and workplace services is foundational to the urban city experience. Other examples of buildings and structures that rely on wireless communications include everyday structures frequented for work, play, and living, including condominium and apartment buildings, hospitals, and sporting venues. For example, often just after we park, we are immediately grabbing our smartphone to review emails, to fill out paperwork, locate instructions, find the office number, or exploring where to walk. Having an obstacle for wireless access can frustrate the entire experience. Aging infrastructure and lack of connectivity make these challenges even more difficult to address. 

Dense Air addresses these challenges as a specialist in modernizing urban connectivity. The team works closely with customers to connect underground parking garages, multi-floor buildings, and dense areas throughout cities. Dense Air provides a unique solution for cities, building or structure owners, and facilities managers. We provide turnkey services to identify connectivity gaps, install hardware, implement software, and offer full-service management. This small cell Connectivity-as-a-Service (CaaS) solution removes the burden to city agencies, departments, and businesses.  

Dense Air’s CaaS solution strengthens cities by: 

  • Enabling multiple carriers at the same time, in the same location 
  • Facilitating easy, rapid, and cost-efficient integration into existing buildings 
  • Ensuring security and reliability of the cellular connection 
  • Providing a turnkey service 

Dense Air’s collaboration with Millenium Garages is a notable example of the commitment to supporting urban modernization. The project team will explore a variety of use cases as part of this project to connect customers, workers, and equipment. In addition to bringing two of the big three cellular carriers onto the network, Dense Air will support Millenium Garages in three areas:  

  1. Deploy multi-carrier small cell solutions to provide continuous cellular coverage in challenging underground environments.  
  2. Build the business and civic case for seamless, integrated connectivity. 
  3. Create replicable, scalable models to bring reliable cellular coverage to difficult-to-reach facilities, including CaaS offerings that unlock public and private value.  

Businesses and cities want their infrastructure to do more. Cities require seamless connectivity for emergency response, dispatching prompt maintenance and repairs, routing for a delivery driver, and real-time situational awareness. Dense Air makes this easy by bringing connectivity experts while providing “white glove” turnkey services to lessen the burden. Services include operating, managing, and maintaining connectivity to meet business service level expectations and provide performance reporting with insights into the customer and environment experience. Dense Air is proud to support the modernization of urban areas, changing the paradigm through trusted and secure cellular services. 

Link to Press Release:–millennium-garages-collaborate-to-transform-cellular-connectivity-underground-302141201.html?tc=eml_cleartime

Related Links and Recommendations for More Reading: 

Small Cell Forum Use Case: Dense Air’s pioneering use of Split 6 enabling scaled small cell deployment. 

Pioneering the use of Split 6 fronthaul for scaled deployment of small cell clusters in network blackspots

Dense Air presents Cutting-Edge Small Cell Solutions at London’s Small Cells World Summit 

Small Cells World Summit in London is just a day away, and Dense Air is excited to dive into informative discussions and insightful sessions. Our CTO, Andy Hobbs, will speak about the growing ecosystem of services needed for customers and how flexible, small cell solutions meet this expanding expectation. After this speaking session, Andy will be joined on stage with Radisys and Druid Networks to discuss open and inclusive, multi-carrier small cell solutions for in-building enterprise and targeted outdoor use cases such as “connected corridors.” 

As enterprises embrace digital transformation, mobile business solutions become increasingly robust, powered by cloud-native technologies, big data analytics, and artificial intelligence. Businesses today embrace both in-building wireless and workplace wireless connectivity as the foundation for productivity, connecting assets, and workplace efficiency. Dense Air partners with customers across industries and helps them advance their digital transformation journeys by strengthening their wireless connectivity. In pioneering the development of small cell centric technologies to deploy targeted clusters of small cells, Dense Air is enabling operators to provide pervasive connectivity in areas that were previously economically unviable.  

Why Dense Air? 

Dense Air, a Sidewalk Infrastructure Partners (SIP)company, is bridging the connectivity gaps across industries including manufacturing, hospitality, parking garages, healthcare, college campuses, commercial real estate, and multi-dwelling complexes. Our Connectivity as a Service (CaaS) solution augments mobile network operators’ existing networks to deliver optimal experiences to their customers, providing seamless connectivity for productive workplace activities and client engagement. 

Small Cell and O-RAN Basics 

Small cells support the densification of 4G and the adoption of 5G by delivering the flexible, scalable network infrastructure that is needed to bring higher capacity and lower latency services to end users and end devices.  

As mobile network operators adopt higher frequency bands for enhanced user experiences, they are faced with new challenges of shorter range and poor penetration. However, it is not cost-effective for carriers to build out additional coverage within a structure or building. This is where Dense Air steps in. Our solution ensures comprehensive coverage by mitigating the shorter range and poor indoor penetration associated with higher frequencies.   

Leveraging small cells that simultaneously use both licensed and unlicensed spectrum, we deploy clusters of low-power radio access points that are roughly the size of a small pizza box. Targeted deployments of small cells augment the existing macro network to strengthen coverage and capacity, while improving indoor and outdoor connectivity experiences. As the industry transitions to 5G and returns to the office/campus, small cell deployment will expand to improve connectivity where today’s solutions cannot.          

5G innovation and small cell advancements have led to the growth of Open Radio Access Networks (O-RAN), an open architecture that Dense Air has adopted in partnership with Radisys. O-RAN drives interoperability across equipment OEMs and vendors. In other words, radio equipment from varying vendors works together in an environment to enable plug-and-play flexibility and virtualization.  

Enterprise Relevance (The Neutral Host Approach) 

As enterprises shift from a ‘voice and data’ approach to a broader ecosystem encompassing automation, robotics, inventory management, real-time monitoring, critical communications, and immersive experiences, the need for optimized and flexible connectivity becomes critical. These businesses must leverage multi-carriers and dynamic solutions for both wired and wireless networking.     

Many in the industry are familiar with the Dense Air carrier agnostic approach and the ability to augment existing networks by identifying coverage gaps. Dense Air is also providing small cell CaaS solutions to enable enterprises to provide ubiquitous coverage and meet digital transformation goals.   

Dense Air’s advantages include:          

  • Ease in complementing existing networks 
  • Carrier-agnostic and CBRS-ready “shared wireless” 
  • In-building and near in-building connectivity optimization 
  • Reducing overall costs  
  • Simplified integration and automation 
  • Greater flexibility through dynamic and distributed architecture 
  • Data-driven and cloud-native 
  • Versatile spectrum utilization 
  • Equitable and sustainable solutions 
  • Expertise in targeting outdoor connectivity gaps 
  • Scalability for both carrier and the enterprise 

The future of work depends on equitable, inclusive, and seamless connectivity experiences to work anywhere, optimize operations, deliver engaging customer experiences, and innovate. Dense Air is proud to support the carrier community, while providing the carriers and their enterprise customers with CaaS solutions to advance next-generation connectivity use cases. To learn more about our solutions, please visit our site at or connect with us on social channels. 


Additional Resources and Related Links: 

Dense Air: Bridging infrastructure and the cloud; shaping the ecosystem of shared wireless services 

5G Networks: Revolutionizing the Future

Dense Air is honored to be the recipient of the Mobile Customer Experience Award for the 12th Annual CompassIntel Awards.

40 Tech Companies/Organizations honored in the 12th Annual CompassIntel Awards.

SAN ANTONIO, April 10, 2024 /PRNewswire-PRWeb/ — Compass Intelligence is excited to announce the 12th annual award winners of the annual CompassIntel Awards to honor the top companies, products, and technology solutions in mobile, IoT, business tech and emerging technology industries. This year we received 112 nominations coming in from companies, public relations, and corporate communications firms, editors, journalists, analysts, and other colleagues. These awards were voted on by a group of leading industry-leading press, editors, journalists, thought leaders, and analysts in early April. A total of 40 awardees are being recognized this spring.

“This year, we are seeing an emergence of new business deals, continued consolidation, and the dust settling among industry participants as the market focuses on AI,” states Stephanie Atkinson, CEO & founder of Compass Intelligence. “The marketing cycle has moved from IoT to Edge to AI. The industry will continue to be pressured to demonstrate client wins, revenue growth, and real profitability. I would like to personally congratulate the 12th annual award winners for their leadership, innovation, and success!”

The marketing cycle has moved from IoT to Edge to AI. The industry will continue to be pressured to demonstrate client wins, revenue growth, and real profitability. I would like to personally congratulate the 12th annual award winners for their leadership, innovation, and success!

The award recipients of the 12th Annual Compass Intelligence Awards are as follows:


  • Connected Building: Smart Lighting – Signify
  • Connected Building: Smart Development and Design – ABB
  • Connected Building: Commercial Product Innovation – GridPoint
  • Connected Solution Leadership: Fleet Management Tracking – Samsara
  • Connected Solution Leadership: Asset Tracking – CalAmp
  • Top IoT Standards Body of the Year – IEEE
  • IoT Data: Edge Computing Company of the Year – Akamai’s Gecko Platform
  • IoT Data: Data Analytics and Software Company of the Year – Very
  • IoT Vehicle Telematics Company of the Year – KORE Wireless
  • IoT App Dev / Platform of the Year for the Enterprise Market – Snowflake
  • IoT Emerging Company of the Year for the Consumer & B2B Market – iApartments
  • IoT Emerging Company of the Year for the Enterprise Market – Armis
  • IoT Enablement Company of the Year for the Enterprise Market – Netmore Group
  • IoT Security Platform of the Year – Device Authority
  • IoT Semiconductor Company of the Year – Cavli Wireless
  • IoT Sensor Company of the Year – Arm
  • Industrial IoT Company of the Year – ObjectSpectrum


  • Workplace Device Innovation – Samsung Galaxy S24 Ultra
  • Operations Automation – Prologis
  • Mobile Customer Experience – Dense Air
  • Enterprise Communications – Oracle Enterprise Communications Platform
  • Team Collaboration – Salesforce’s Chatter Application
  • Augmented Reality – Lenovo’s ThinkReality
  • Mobile Equipment/Hardware Innovation – GXC Onyx Starter Kit
  • OpenRAN Innovation – Mavenir
  • Mobile Technology for Good – Samsung Galaxy for the Planet
  • Work from Home Product of the Year – reMarkable 2
  • 5G Innovation Product – T-Mobile Connected Workplace
  • 5G Innovation Service – Ericsson Private 5G
  • AV Innovation – HP | Poly Voyager Free 20 Wireless Earbuds
  • Enterprise Solution of the Year – TEAL


  • Machine Vision Technology – Cognex Corporation
  • AI Chatbot – ClearBlade’s GenAI Assistant for Intelligent Assets
  • Artificial Intelligence: Enterprise Solution – CoPilot AI
  • Natural Language Processing – emtelliPro+® AI assistant by emtelligent®
  • Autonomous Systems – OTTO Motors by Rockwell Automation
  • Sustainability Innovation – ION Clean Energy
  • Digital Twin Innovation – NVIDIA Earth-2 climate Digital Twin Cloud Platform
  • Intelligent Data & Analytics – Databricks
  • Physical Digital Experience – CSG Xponent

NOTE: All company and product names are the property of the companies or organizations listed above.

About The Annual Spring Awards

The 12th Annual 2024 CompassIntel Mobile/Business Tech, IoT, and Emerging Tech Awards honors companies, vendors, and organizations demonstrating innovation, leadership, disruption, and excellence in the technology industry. There are three primary areas of awards including Mobile/Business Tech, IoT, and Emerging Technologies, along with the CompassIntel personally selected awards. This year, there are 40 general award categories.

Learn more about the Awards:

Small Cell Forum Use Case: Dense Air’s pioneering use of Split 6 enabling scaled small cell deployment.

About the deployment  

Dense Air is pioneering the use of Split 6 fronthaul and smart antenna technology for the scaled deployment of small cell clusters to support or infill existing holes in carrier networks, or to provide densified, dedicated private mobile coverage, enabling a range of use cases and applications.  

The development of streetCell was supported through the UK Government’s Future RAN competition. Dense Air led the development, design and trial deployment of small cell clusters which would enhance network resilience and robustness – this project was called CoMP-ORAN, which stands for Coordinated Multipoint – Open Radio Access Networks.  

One key use case for Split 6, an architecture championed by Small Cell Forum (SCF), is in high performance scenarios such as Connected Automated Vehicles (CAV). Using smart antenna technologies like CoMP, Dense Air’s small cell cluster design reduces the frequency of handover, providing contiguous connectivity to the vehicles, minimising the chance of data drops or disconnect.  

Trial deployments and field testing happened in both Millbrook Proving Ground in Bedfordshire and at Teesside International Airport in the north of England. However, the technology being developed is versatile and applicable to various global markets. After gaining Federal Communications Commission (FCC) approval in 2023, streetCell is currently being deployed at scale across the United States. 

The impact 

The development of streetCell brought together several SCF members – Dense Air, Radisys and Airspan – not only to design and develop the hardware solution but also to deploy an effective end-to-end Open RAN solution, built on industry partnerships. This model, proven at the Millbrook trial, can now be offered as a complete neutral host solution where each cell within a cluster using licensed spectrum can provide densified carrier services or private secure connectivity. Although at Millbrook the use case centred on automotive, Dense Air is now deploying for enterprise and industry and working closely with a number of local government bodies, utilising existing street infrastructure to cost effectivity bring mobile service to areas in need of service. 

This video illustrates a vehicle (represented by the blue dot) driving around the city course at Millbrook Proving Ground in Bedfordshire at the Cenex Expo event in September 2023. The dynamic white lines illustrate the constant connection to the vehicle from multiple cells within this cluster of 5 cells (represented by the hexagon).  

The technical details  

CoMP takes lead from macro level Multi Input, Multi Output (MIMO) technologies, provides significant advantages, such as: 

  • Each streetCell can provide both 360-degree coverage, or multi directional sectorisation with adaptable beam patterns. 
  • Enables the remote optimization of streetCell clusters via a Radio Intelligent Controller (RIC) to the targeted coverage and capacity objectives. 
  • Multiple Transmit Receive Points (Multi TRP), designed for CoMP, maximise the gains from spatial diversity and spatial multiplexing. 
  • Compliments macro cells by providing additional in-fill. 
  • Improves deployment robustness. 
  • Removes the need for pre-deployment radio frequency (RF) design phase to consider antenna alignment / placement. 
  • Eliminates nulls in target coverage area and optimises cell footprint post deployment. 
  • Designed to support multi-sector 2×2 MIMO operation. 

The outcome  

To support new 5G use cases, the industry is required to become increasingly innovative in how to reduce cost while at the same time provide enhanced reliability. By augmenting the existing network, identifying, and targeting network weak spots, Dense Air has enabled carriers to tap into seamless, low-cost additional coverage and capacity through a scalable, flexible small cell deployment model.  

Their use of Split 6 fronthaul and switch beam antenna significantly reduces the cost to deploy clusters of shared network infrastructure in supporting diversified use cases. This technology which is an integral aspect of their streetCell product line, initially tested and proven at UTAC Millbrook Proving Ground, has been implemented into Dense Air’s end to end As-a-Service solution with partners Radisys and EdgeQ, currently been deployed to support several CAV use cases across the United States.  

This video provides an overview of the Dense Air small cell deployment at Millbrook Proving Ground in Bedfordshire. 

To read more about this use case click here.

5G Networks: Revolutionizing the Future

5G is not just faster 4G – it offers up a broad range of new network architecture, operational and service options that go beyond smartphone connectivity, and it can take full advantage of cloud platforms, open architectures, semiconductor innovations and more. In this panel discussion, held during MWC in Barcelona, James Estes, CEO Dense Air, Arun Bhikshesvaran, CEO Radisys Corporation, and Vinay Ravuri, CEO EdgeQ Inc. explore the revolutionary potential of the many 5G options available to enterprises, mobile operators, cities and communities, and other indoor & outdoor public and private use cases.

Building more inclusive wireless networks: An interview with Brenna Berman

This summer, Dense Air welcomed Brenna Berman, a globally recognized expert on cities, technology, and urban innovation, as our Executive Vice President of Strategic Partnerships. In this role, Brenna brings her public and private sector leadership experience to bear in identifying opportunities for Dense Air to partner with cities and harness our innovative technology to strengthen connectivity for all residents.

We recently sat down with Brenna to discuss her new role, why equitable wireless access is so important, how Dense Air partners with cities to advance digital equity, and more.

Welcome to Dense Air, Brenna! A major reason why you decided to join the company was the opportunity to focus on expanding access to wireless broadband. Can you explain what this means and why it’s important?

In today’s interconnected world, access to broadband is critical to enabling individuals to work, study, engage with their community, and more. Unfortunately, due to the traditional way that infrastructure has been structured and built, many communities across the country lack equitable access to broadband, including uneven wireless coverage. Without reliable connectivity to digital services, this digital divide exacerbates existing inequalities.

While we can all agree that closing the digital divide is important, the real challenge lies in making it happen. Expanding networks requires significant investments in physical infrastructure, such as fiber optic cables and cellular towers. Geographical remoteness and inadequate funding make it logistically difficult and economically unviable for private providers to extend services to areas that are already underserved, such as rural and low-income communities. And when providers do expand their networks, they pay a high price to build duplicative infrastructure that disrupts city life.

This sounds like a daunting challenge. How can we address it?

It’s time — in fact, it’s long overdue — for us to fundamentally rethink this system to make digital equity achievable. Through new technologies, strategic funding models, and innovative public-private partnerships, we can support communities in reaching this important goal.

Achieving broadband equity will require a concerted effort from governments, private sector entities, and communities to overcome infrastructure challenges while ensuring affordability. It will not be a quick and easy process, but it will help to bring us closer to having an inclusive and equitable society.

What role does Dense Air play in this effort to advance broadband equity?

Dense Air is uniquely positioned to help communities tackle this critically important challenge because we take a holistic new approach to enabling carriers to expand their wireless networks. Our solution focuses on four main pillars:

  1. We deploy and operate innovative shared network infrastructure, which introduces, for the first time, the unique ability for multiple wireless network operators and private users to utilize the network simultaneously. This decreases the cost of building and managing the wireless networks over time.
  2. We leverage existing physical infrastructure, such as light poles, utility poles, and roofs, to reduce the cost of building the network, to deploy faster, and to reduce disruption to the community.
  3. We use data-driven coverage gap analysis to help us understand where a community lacks coverage today and to build a roadmap for the future. Our denseWare analytics tool evaluates coverage at the call level to help us and communities determine where best to make investments.
  4. We think holistically with our investments, which allows us and our partners to build a balanced business case across entire cities, not just the wealthiest neighborhoods.

How does Dense Air work with cities and other key stakeholders?

Combining technology innovation with strategic funding models is an excellent start to solving cities’ network challenges, but it isn’t enough. I know from years of experience as the Chief Information Officer of Chicago that cities can only achieve their innovation goals with strong partnerships based on aligned incentives.  That’s why, at Dense Air, we are focused on creating highly collaborative partnerships with cities as we help them solve intractable challenges. Through these partnerships, we contribute our technology and ingenuity to create new business opportunities. In turn, the cities and communities share infrastructure assets and help us streamline processes to drive down the overall cost and time of network deployment. As a result, communities receive reliable and affordable broadband access, in a shorter timeframe and with less disruption.  

Digital equity has been a rallying cry for cities for many years, but today, we have the ideal conditions to achieve the networks of the future that residents deserve. Dense Air is focused on delivering that future, and we look forward to partnering with the cities that share our vision.