JOINT BASE SAN ANTONIO-FORT SAM HOUSTON, Texas –
The Medical Education and Training Campus Information Technology and Multimedia Division (ITMD) recently completed a project that provides METC users with robust cellular service from AT&T, Verizon Wireless, and T-Mobile (which also includes Sprint and Google Fi
) in medical instructional facilities across the campus, ensuring better cellular connectivity for safety and productivity.
The Directional Antenna System (DAS) voice solutions project originally began as a requirement in May 2019. The METC Operations Division recognized a communication and notification deficiency during planned emergency management exercises. The operations team identified a failure in the notification process with the METC academic and support staff via telephone and wireless connections. The lag in the notification process was traced to a signal deficiency from the analog telephones located in the classrooms, as well as significant cellular interference which prohibited the use of personal phones. Following extensive research and planning, the lead IT project manager, Ms. Markesha Knox who turned the project over to Ms. Paige Davis upon her departure from METC, concluded that the most effective solution was the installation of a DAS to further the campus’ commitment in ensuring life, health, safety, and security excellence.
ITMD partnered with the 502nd Contracting Squadron and Brook Army Medical Center throughout the lengthy project. The 502nd CONS was responsible for awarding the contract in mid-2020, with construction commencing in the fall. BAMC was also a key player in the project by allowing the ITMD team to utilize their existing head-end unit – the main hub that takes a signal, digitizes it, and distributes it to other hubs and radio heads through a high-bandwidth fiber optic network – thus enabling the antenna system to expand and extend throughout METC MIFs 1 to 5. The DAS voice solution reached its completion and acceptance in March 2023.
The implementation of the DAS solution is a huge accomplishment for the ITMD and most importantly, the METC. Users who have been assigned to the campus prior to the year 2021 can attest to the lack of cellular availability in the MIFs, especially in the lower floors. For the students, staff, and instructors who spend the majority of their day in these buildings, it provides not only improved personal and work connections, but a safer work and training environment.