The Good Stuff


Neutral Host Networks: Definition, Benefits & Industry Use Cases

By Team Boingo
  • Article
  • 5 min read

Despite the prevalence of wireless connectivity solutions, coverage gaps are still a challenge that organizations must address. One of the most effective ways to ensure robust, continuous coverage is by deploying neutral host networks. In this guide, we explain what a neutral host network is, what industries can benefit and and how Boingo can help.



A neutral host network is a third-party mobile network that provides LTE and 5G wireless connectivity to users within a set area regardless of their mobile carrier. Neutral hosts allow multiple public and private users to boost their coverage using an open-access network, creating an even playing field for all carriers and users. Instead of each operator/carrier building its own cell towers and wireless configurations, neutral hosts invest in, maintain, and specialize in common infrastructure. The wireless system is deployed through a cooperative structure to multiple consumers and businesses in the service area.

Neutral hosts use technologies such as distributed antenna systems (DAS), multi-operator small cells, Wi-Fi and private networks to provide a seamless connectivity experience for users.

With DAS, multiple strategically placed antennas amplify and deploy signals from base stations. Using multiple antennas reduces latency, eliminates service gaps, boosts capacity, and expands coverage. DAS networks are robust with multiple carriers, bands, active heads, remote end components, and coaxial and fiber cables. Regardless of the carrier, all users can experience improved wireless coverage.

Multi-operator small cells use mini-base stations to create access points corresponding to a physical cell. Each operator receives dedicated capacity and combinations of spectrums can be layered to increase coverage. Small cells fill in coverage gaps in specific areas.

Neutral host Wi-Fi and private 5G/CBRS networks are not only useful for venue operations and consumer experience, but they can also provide coverage and capacity for carrier network users who can seamlessly roam on these “venue-owned” network infrastuctures. This provides a simplified neutral host network which can be used for additional monetization opportunities alongside operational improvements.



Large venues and enterprises use neutral host networks to meet their wireless connectivity needs. The neutral host model simplifies equipment requirements, can reduce deployment expenses, and streamlines ongoing maintenance. Here is a closer look at the industries that rely upon neutral host networks:

  • Airport and transit – Neutral host networks improve connectivity and communication for many different modes of transportation, from airports to railways, improving overall connectivity for passengers. Travelers, staff and security personnel can seamlessly roam throughout locations without dropped calls or data interruptions. Additionally, neutral host networks integrate public safety communications and prioritize emergency services when needed.
  • Sports and entertainment – Neutral host networks help enhance fan engagement. The open-access network solutions facilitate live streaming, ensure that ticket validation and access control systems work smoothly, streamline cashless payment systems for concessions and merchandise, and expand sponsorship and advertising opportunities.
  • Healthcare – For healthcare campuses and hospitals, neutral host networks address critical communication and connectivity needs, enable real-time patient care and monitoring, and help facilitate telemedicine services. Neutral host networks are also crucial for supporting IoT devices that conduct asset tracking, temperature control, and medication management.
  • Commercial real estate – In commercial real estate, neutral host networks enhance the value and appeal of properties to tenants and guests. With open-access connectivity through carriers of their choosing, tenants, guests, and staff can stay connected and be more productive. Additionally, buildings can utilize IoT for energy management, security, and automation.
  • Government and military – Neutral host networks help facilitate mission-critical and emergency communications for the government and military and power essential operational needs on base, including education, training and more. Furthermore, neutral host networks can be configured to meet the highest security standards.



Neutral host networks provide significant benefits for both service providers and consumers. Let’s examine six of the top advantages:

  1. Improves wireless network access – Neutral host networks provide a fair and competitive environment for multiple wireless service providers by providing equal access to infrastructure and reducing barriers to entry. This leads to improved service quality and choices for consumers.
  2. Lowered costs – With a neutral host model, infrastructure is shared, so there is no need for redundant, costly installations of extra equipment.
  3. Boosts signal strength – Wireless technology used in neutral host networks amplifies wireless signals so that coverage can extend everywhere within the coverage zone.
  4. Increases network capacity – With a neutral host network, both voice and data users can access the bandwidth they need with minimal latency.
  5. Preserves valuable internal IT and business resources – Neutral host networks are an efficient networking solution that allow organizations to reallocate financial, infrastructure, and logistics resources to other strategic initiatives and core business competencies.
  6. Supports public safety communications – Neutral host networks open public safety communication pathways for first responders and emergency personnel.



From the World Trade Center in New York to LAX and Soldier Field, leading organizations rely on Boingo’s neutral host connectivity solutions to connect people, business and things. Boingo provides unparalleled network focus and operational expertise, with a proven track record for designing, building, and operating wireless networks in high-traffic venues. Its neutral host solutions support all wireless standards and protocols – from 4G to 5G to 6G to what’s next. Our strategic partnerships with Tier 1 wireless carriers maximize carrier participation and we invest in research and development to ensure Boingo networks are designed to meet the data demands of the future.

To learn more about Boingo’s neutral host networks, contact Boingo.