RF Connect Overcomes Obstacles to Cellular and Public Safety Communications for New Illinois Hospital


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7 min

The Challenge

The new Memorial Hospital East, in Shiloh, IL, was designed to be resource efficient and environmentally responsible. Among the eco-friendly components included in the design was low-emissivity (low-E) coating on the windows. Thin low-E window coatings usually contain metals, which reduce the amount of ultraviolet and infrared light that can pass through glass without compromising the amount of visible light transmitted.

The problem came about when the construction company realized the eco-friendly glass obstructed cellular and other radio signals, including signals from handheld radios used by public safety/first responders, police, fire and emergency medical personnel.

Most fire marshals will not issue a Certificate of Occupancy until such an obstacle to public safety emergency communications has been removed.

Similarly, the hospital required reliable and robust access to cellular phone communications throughout the entire building.

The Solution

RF Connect, working closely with local contractors, designed and installed a carrier neutral distributed antenna system (DAS) to support both public safety and cellular frequencies. Now local fire and police frequencies are completely accessible throughout the hospital. The hospital enjoys five full bars of cell phone coverage in all areas of the building.

A DAS overcomes areas of poor RF coverage inside large buildings via a network of relatively small antennas. A DAS is completely transparent to mobile devices, providing both voice and data services. The DAS deployed at the hospital is served by an Over-the-Air signal transmitted from the commercial carriers’ macro cell site, and received by rooftop “donor” antennas. Because this deployment was designed as a carrier neutral system, all cellular users experience excellent service.


The RF Connect team created detailed mock-ups for each step of the project, going above and beyond standard installation procedures and surpassing expectations.

What Our Customer Said

“We’ve been very impressed with the attention to detail and the high level of professionalism from the RF Connect team. They identified our challenge and came up with the perfect solution,” said Ruth Holmes, administrator of Memorial Hospital East.

About Memorial Hospital East

Memorial Hospital East is a 207,000-square-foot, 94-bed full-service hospital with private patient suites, intensive care unit, cardiac catheterization labs, surgical suites, 24/7 emergency department and a family care birthing center. Construction began in early 2014, with first patients admitted in April 2016. Memorial Hospital East is affiliated with St. Louis-based BJC Healthcare. For more information, please visit www.memhospeast.com.