Cell Signal Required by Car Charging Stations Must Be Delivered by Pros

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If you are one of the many building owners who has chosen to add (or is thinking of adding) EV car charging stations to your list of amenities, there’s something you should know: car charging stations require cell signal to communicate with a smart network and that communication is vital if your charging stations are going to reach their full value as assets to your property.

Public EV charging stations are hugely popular and can be a good idea for plenty of reasons, such as attracting new clients/residents, fulfilling the demands of current residents or aligning with your company’s sustainability plans and eco-friendly values, just to name a few. But EV charging stations with smart networks can do so much more, even become a monetizable amenity, allowing you to:

  1. Charge drivers for the electricity transferred to their vehicle.
  2. Publicize the building’s car charging station (vital for retailers, hotels and restaurants whose customers may be unfamiliar with the area).
  3. Generate reports to demonstrate support of the sustainability plan, track the property’s environmental impact, or gauge reduction of greenhouse gases.
  4. Notify drivers when a station becomes available and when their vehicle has finished charging so that the optimum number of drivers can use the stations.
  5. Monitor station usage so building owners/management know whether enough stations have been provided to meet demand. Monitoring also allows ownership to vary the charging costs based on peak usage times.

But none of this monetization or information exchange is possible without cell signal. The EV station’s smart network can’t communicate (or take payment) without solid cellular coverage which is why many of the charging station retailers will bundle a so-called “DIY” cell repeater together with their product and sell it to you as a one-stop kit.

At first glance that seems great. If you’re a building owner, you purchase an EV charging station/cell repeater bundle, thinking you’ve got all your bases covered. Then you hand the combo over to your electrician for installation – the charging station’s whole purpose is to provide electricity so an electrician seems like a logical choice to install it, right? For the charging station itself, yes. But nine times out of ten, an electrician won’t be able to get the cell repeater portion to work, which means the station’s network can’t communicate -– and that’s not his fault.

Here’s the problem: while the charging station operates with electricity, the cell repeater operates with RF signal. And RF networks are nothing like electricity. Asking an electrician to install a cellular repeater is like asking a plumber to install a LAN system; you’re probably going to get a pretty sketchy LAN system –- maybe something with faucets instead of routers.

Similarly, an electrician who installs a cell repeater isn’t going to know how to dial in the position of a directional antenna (hint: it doesn’t work when it’s pointed at a concrete floor). Even if the repeater gets installed correctly, the SIM card inside the charging station probably isn’t compatible with the cell repeater’s network so the system still won’t work and an electrician won’t know why or how to fix it. Again, NOT THE ELECTRICIAN’S FAULT, it’s just not his area of expertise.

But it IS our area of expertise. Adam, co-owner of Illuminati Labs, often jokes that electricians are ‘big screwdriver’ guys and cellular repeater installs are definitely made for ‘little screwdriver’ guys. That’s us — the little screwdriver guys.

So, if you’re one of the many building owners who has chosen to add super-efficient, in-demand, money-making car charging stations to your property, let us take care of the cellular repeaters for you. We can either install your cell repeaters right from the beginning or rework an existing system. Either way, we’re happy to put our little screwdrivers to work resolving all your charging station’s (or your whole building’s) cellular coverage needs.