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JOTS-NHIB - what it means for Real Estate

JOTS-NHIB - what it means for Real Estate

If you’re involved in real estate or the built environment and the technology that goes into them, you may well be familiar with the term JOTS in relation to legal, licensed indoor mobile boosting.

You may not be aware that the UK Mobile Network Operators (MNO’s) have gone a step further and created JOTS for Neutral Host In-Building (JOTS-NHIB). This is of huge importance to property owners, occupiers, operators, architects and consultants, smoothing the way for the new cheaper, more agile technologies of the Open RAN era ahead of us.

First, let’s quickly set the scene with a recap of the original Joint Operator Technical Specification (JOTS).

JOTS, formulated in 1999 is the criteria required to meet the UK national standard for design and performance as set out by all 4 MNO’s (EE, O2, Vodafone & Three UK). This allows independent and competent Radio Frequency engineering companies to install systems that deliver indoor 2G, 3G & 4G at a carrier grade standard.

A ‘JOTS pack’ is a submission to the MNOs which includes the system architecture, performance, radio spectrum, schematics, equipment room layouts, heat maps, health and safety information and everything the operators need to ensure whatever is being proposed and installed, will work correctly. Other countries conducted as part of this analysis, don’t have a process as well defined as JOTS in the UK. The idea of providing systems integrators with exact guidelines to gain operator approval and to ensure the building owner or tenant procure a system that works in the correct manner for guaranteed voice and data is a fantastic innovation by the UK mobile industry

In terms of technology, JOTS was applicable to the design of Distributed Antenna Systems (DAS) fed via 2G / 3G / 4G Base Station Transceivers (BTS) for buildings The JOTS pack needs to detail the Main Equipment Room (MER) layout showing dedicated cabinets for the mobile operators, typically a minimum of 47U per operator as well as the power and cooling requirements. For landlords and tenants, the space, power and cooling required by each MNO was often a barrier to entry as a multi-operator system. Connecting all mobile operators would likely need 4 x 47U cabinets, masses of power and dedicated cooling, all of which is very expensive (£50k - £100K per MNO).

The Next Generation of In-Building Mobile System Design

The UK MNO’s have again come together to innovate further and devised JOTS-NHIB. This sets out how an independent company can design, build and operate a cloud-based infrastructure that virtualises the BTS, removing the need for the MER cabinet space and utilising Small Cells for indoor 4G & 5G coverage and capacity. This new design standard and criteria reduces on site cabinet requirements to as little as 2U for all 4 MNO’s, a 3-pin plug for power and no dedicated cooling, all at a dramatically reduced cost.

JOTS-NHIB outlines the following:

  • Platform architecture (how the infrastructure is put together)
  • Radio Requirements (4G & 5G frequencies & Small Cell performance)
  • Testing and Acceptance (ensure it works to carrier grade standards)
  • Operational Process (Managed service standards for operational excellence)
  • Fulfilment (high level principle roles of the building owner, operator and neutral host)

Why is this important?

If you design, develop, regenerate, build or manage real estate, JOTS-NHIB is the most up to date, innovative, fully approved and forward-thinking design criteria available for boosting indoor mobile signal, whether it is a single large building or across an estate.

Space, power and cost have always been a barrier to entry for the in-building mobile coverage industry which has slowed the deployment of much needed dedicated indoor mobile signal. These new standards as set out by the MNO’s overcome these issues. They also better anticipate the needs of 5G and beyond.

Vilicom have made considerable investment into an Open Radio Access Network (OpenRAN) cloud-based platform and are proud to be the most advanced owner and operator of a JOTS-NHIB compliant infrastructure in the UK. We can deliver the most cost effective, space and power efficient indoor and outdoor 4G and 5G systems on the market. Our cutting-edge technology allows us to deploy Private LTE and 5G for highly secure, ultra-low latency private cellular networks as well as dedicated coverage and capacity for O2, EE, Vodafone and Three UK to the real estate, pharma, logistics, energy, manufacturing and health care sectors. At present, no other service provider or systems integrator in the UK has that capability as proved and tested with a UK MNO.

Vilicom are experts in the concept, design, installation and management of indoor and outdoor 4G & 5G systems and are working closely with architects, developers, landlords and tenants to design these technologies into the fabrics of buildings across the UK and beyond. Guaranteeing connectivity to private cellular networks and all major mobile operators from day one of practical completion is what we do.

Liam Graham – Senior Sales Manager UK - Liam.Graham@vilicom.com +44 7597 800622