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DAS Matters Now More Than Ever

By Mike Collado
March 18th, 2014

As a manufacturer of indoor and outdoor wireless network densification solutions, we keep a bird’s eye view of the industry to spot market and technology trends. So it was with keen interest that we observed multiple articles and reports originating from the recently-concluded Mobile World Congress touting the comeback of DAS or Distributed Antenna Systems.

Really? We didn’t know DAS was purportedly on the outs.

Fact is, global spending on DAS deployments has been trending upward year-over-year for – well – years.

ABI Trend(Source: ABI Research, 2012)

And in spite of the justifiable industry attention to small cells, DAS matters now more than ever in ensuring capacity and coverage for wireless services.

Why?

The majority of wireless calls occur indoors where a combination of building materials and a high density of users at a specific location adversely impact the quality of service the outside tower-based macro cellular network. The requirement for coverage and capacity is amplified by the increasing trend toward Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) workplace policies.

DAS is inherently the best strategy for enabling capacity and coverage inside large buildings and arenas, campuses, outdoor venues and in dense urban environments.

Only DAS provides a single platform capable of supporting multiple wireless operators and other services such as essential 2-way radio and public-safety communications.

(We predict municipal codes will increasing require enhanced indoor public-safety communications to attain new building occupancy and will eventually extend to existing buildings.)

And building owners prefer the single infrastructure benefit of DAS. Put simply, deploying multiple, parallel infrastructure is not cost effective, it’s disruptive and it’s not aesthetically pleasing.

It’s these market problems DAS manufacturers seek to address in the evolution and revolution of DAS solutions.

In an evolutionary step, DAS is going to get smaller, lighter, greener, smarter, more powerful and provide more bands.

And in a revolutionary step, DAS will take the form of a single, all-fiber, carrier-grade and enterprise-ready platform with fiber-fed antennas and power at the edge to support RF (think cellular and public-safety communications) and IP (think Wi-Fi, CCTV, Building Automation) services and applications.

It’s going to require a ‘tool box’ approach to achieve network densification both indoors and outdoors. DAS, like small cells, will play a significant role.

What do you think?

(Note: This post was authored by Ken Sandfeld and was originally published on the Panduit Connections blog)

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