The Good Stuff


01/07/2020

Distributed Antenna Systems for Airports & Transportation

By Team Boingo
  • Article
  • 5 min read

A Distributed Antenna System (DAS) uses a network of antennas that connect to a carrier source point to transmit seamless cellular and internet connectivity. The multiple antenna configurations create quality, reliable connections on mobile devices to facilitate communications in the 5G era. Antenna deployment configurations are customizable, and a variety of transport solutions are available to connect the antennas to the base station. The signal-amplifying antennas are powerful, but discrete. Multiple antennas translate to multiple line-of-sight channels for signal amplification and transmission. DAS resolves service gaps in settings with architectural, topographic, security, vast-square footage, and densification challenges. With DAS, even the most highly trafficked, spacious airports and transit facilities receive strong connectivity for end-users.

 

WHY ARE DAS SYSTEMS USED IN AIRPORTS AND TRANSPORTATION HUBS?

Airports and transportation hubs are a locality’s gateway to the world. Billions of people, cargo, and services rely upon these facilities. Within these crucial infrastructural centers, dead zones, dropped calls, and weak signals can pose safety and operational hazards, in addition to being inconvenient. Reliable, secure, strong wireless connectivity is important for these sites, and the sites pose unique challenges to standard connectivity systems. In airports and transportation hubs, there are usually multiple buildings both above and below ground, many businesses, many individual users, and significant safety demands. Furthermore, many transportation centers and airports are built to meet Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Standard quality. The energy efficient building materials used to meet LEED certification criteria can impact wireless signals. Traditional wireless services are not equipped for the vast and complex layouts, immense capacity demands, and rigorous security requirements of airports and transportation junctions. When macro networks cannot reach areas or cannot provide reliable and strong connectivity, DAS solutions bridge the gaps.

DAS networks resolve connectivity challenges. DAS helps airports and transportation facilities meet the need for increased bandwidth capacity, reliability, and coverage areas in dense urban environments where transportation centers and airports are often located. DAS can eliminate dead and drop zones in complexes with both above ground and subterranean features. DAS is ideal long-term because the wireless connectivity solutions are expandable, flexible, and secure. Both restricted and public areas of airports and transportation centers need stable cellular and public safety signals. The superior frequencies transmitted by DAS maintain the safety and performance standards required in these environments.

 

HOW TO INSTALL AND MAINTAIN DAS

Every transportation hub and airport is unique and requires a customized DAS solution. In a detailed consultation process, technicians evaluate the site characteristics and requirements including the architectural features, structural materials, terrain, carrier availability, patterns of use, security conditions and goals. Existing signals are mapped and recorded, and information about the carriers is gathered. The assessment data is used to create a custom design. DAS equipment can be installed without interfering with the aesthetics of the spaces. Antennas are small and discrete and can be disguised within the architecture. Depending on the conditions, coaxial, fiber, or ethernet cables can be used to connect the antennas to the base station. Once the connectivity feed is established, the network is tested for strength, capacity and dead zones. User feedback is collected and integrated. The system is launched after all gaps and issues are resolved. Once launched, the DAS network is monitored and maintained to ensure that coverage is reliable and seamless. An additional perk of DAS technology is that the configurations are scalable so that advances can be integrated, like upgrades to 5G.

 

THE FUTURE OF WIRELESS CONNECTIVITY AT AIRPORTS AND TRANSPORTATION FACILITIES

Every generation of wireless technology has dramatically altered society, but the next generation of wireless connectivity is revolutionary. 5G ushers in a wave of digital transformation across the entire business ecosystem. Mobile broadband is enhanced, mission-critical communications are expanded, and the Massive Internet of Things (IoT) is further connected. Latency, or the lag between sending and receiving data, is significantly lowered with 5G. The future of wireless connectivity at airports and transportation hubs will be transformed by the instantaneous access of cloud services and new solutions like edge computing and IoT.

Using comprehensive indoor cellular solutions, cloud and multi-access edge computing (MEC), Boingo is connecting airports and transportation hubs around the world. In the U.S., Boingo serves as the largest provider of DAS and Wi-Fi networks for airports and transportation facilities. For reliable, secure, and sophisticated connectivity solutions, contact Boingo.