Aspen Wireless Case Study

Vail Colorado

“Let’s Go To The Mountain”

Last Updated 9.22.14


Aspen Wireless ascended to the town of Vail in August of 2013 to start construction on one of the most advanced and forward thinking DAS deployments in recent history. The town found itself struggling to communicate after the recent surge of data hungry smartphones and growth of tourism to its magical slopes.

Getting Closer to Data Users

In the early days of voice driven cellular communications, minimal tower placement was often adequate enough for reasonable coverage at a workable price. As communications shifted to primarily data in the 90’s and on through the 2000’s, the systems have struggled to keep up. In 2014, these “macro” systems just simply can’t retain pace with the explosive growth and demand in highly populated areas. These systems simply weren’t built to handle the continuous onslaught of smartphones and data they are increasingly seeing. Carriers now want to have antennas closer to actual users since speeds are greatly boosted at shorter ranges.


The Town of Vail…..A Unique Challenge

The town of Vail, located in Colorado is one of America’s most picturesque and unique places to visit. Each year, thousands upon thousands of travelers from all across the globe visit to take part in the plethora of exciting activities including skiing, sight seeing, dining or just good old rest and relaxation. Some of the world’s most prestigious and unique establishments call Vail home and it has a very affluent and interesting clientele ranging from everyday adventurers to movie stars and celebrities. Vail is also home to some of the most challenging and difficult terrain in the United States. Long and harsh winters, narrow mountain passes, limited access and strict local zoning codes to protect it’s beauty make it a formidable situation for any communications provider.


Preparing for the Big Race

The Town of Vail knew that in order to host an event the size of the 2015 Vail Beaver Creek World Championships, it had to be ready on all fronts. How would a communications network that was hardly able to keep up during the off season handle more than 30,000 additional subscribers? In the era of “always on” connectivity, would the world be willing to accept the sparse coverage and slow data speeds of the legacy networks?

The town of Vail and it’s forward thinking IT department already knew what to do…….and they called ASPEN WIRELESS


Let the Games Begin

We worked with our network of partners and subsidiaries to deploy a team of qualified and experienced telecommunications experts to Vail for the purposes of discovery and conceptual planning. They quickly identified areas where coverage was an issue using advanced tools and methodologies. Aspen Wireless also helped facilitate and grow relationships directly between the town and leading wireless carriers. Through a series of discussions, planning sessions, town meetings and brainstorming sessions, our collective interested parties formulated a plan that made sense for the town, it’s residents, the carriers and all other interested parties. Aspen Wireless along with the town and other partners worked hard to make sure that the project would be aesthetically pleasing to town residents, tourists and guests.


Time to Get Things Moving

Vail’s outdoor DAS system (sometimes referred to as oDAS) was probably one of the most challenging designs to implement due to the formidable network footprint, terrain challenges and attention to detail required for “stealth” implementation. It truly takes a careful and almost surgical approach to implement the latest telecommunications in an area where aesthetics are so crucial. Aspen’s trained and dedicated workforce was up to the challenge. Over the course of the project more than 40 nodes will be delivered and more than 20 miles of new fiber laid. The carriers aging and inadequate infrastructure is being bolstered with state of the art 4G and 3G services that will take Vail to the forefront of wireless communications.


WiFi Opportunity

The town also leveraged the new stealth tower assets to update it’s existing WiFi system for free use in the city. Apsen Wireless is adding WiFi nodes to many of the DAS towers. This gives data hungry smartphones and laptops great speeds throughout the town and in many popular restaurants and establishments. The WiFi project was made possible by the DAS build, so the town wins again. Vail is shaping up to become one of the speediest towns for data there is!


More Nodes = Faster Data

Adding a considerable amount of nodes has greatly impacted the communications of this town. Residents and visitors alike all have access to blazing fast 4G LTE nearly everywhere in Vail. The fire station and public safety units that keep Vail safe on the mountains will have more reliable coverage with access to 4G LTE everywhere. The system is reshaping communications for everyone and making Vail ready to do more business with the world as growth continues steadily.

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