The Good Stuff


Neutral Hosts & Multi-Operator DAS and Small Cells

By Team Boingo
  • Article
  • 5 min read


An enterprise building their own cell towers and wireless configurations, neutral hosts invest in, maintain, and specialize in the infrastructure. Through a cooperative structure, the wireless system is then deployed to multiple consumers and businesses in the service zone.



Wireless cellular service is as important as the air we breathe; however, a multitude of coverage gaps exist that impact daily life and professional operations. Even when operators build out radio access networks and enhance in-building infrastructure, significant gaps in coverage still occur. Additionally, macro cell sites can fail to provide indoor users with satisfactory service. The construction materials used in new buildings such as concrete, steel, low-emission glass and brick significantly disrupt and hinder radio signal transmission. Indoor wireless connectivity solutions are already critical to communications through smartphones and IoT devices. As 5G advances revolutionize production, business, and communication, neutral wireless networks are needed to actually make use of the technology. 5G technologies cannot function on substandard wireless connections and require strategic partnership to bring more coverage to more places.



Neutral host solutions like distributed antenna systems (DAS) offer high-quality, seamless wireless connectivity alongside enhanced monitoring, real-time maintenance, and 24/7 customer support. Neutral host DAS can overlay network upgrades and improvements on existing technology frameworks so the installation and deployment is typically faster and flexible. This allows for varying budget and technical requirements to be met. Furthermore, during installation, the disruptions to service are minimal. Within the neutral host model, there is only one network so there can be more small cell units than if there were multiple operators. This translates to stronger signals and more reliable connectivity for all users.



Large venues and hospitals can also benefit from neutral host DAS. The neutral host model simplifies the equipment requirements, reduces deployment expenses, and oversees ongoing maintenance.



Neutral host works through technologies such as DAS and multi-operator small cells. DAS and small cells can be used singularly or in coordination, depending on the requirements of the environment.

For indoor cellular service, DAS are the most prevalent solution strategy. Within DAS, multiple, strategically placed antennas amplify and deploy signals from base stations. Using multiple antennas reduces the energy requirements, reduces latency, eliminates service gaps, boosts capacity, and expands coverage. DAS networks are robust and complex. There are usually multiple carriers, multiple bands, active heads, remote end components, as well as coaxial and fiber cables. Regardless of the carrier, all users can experience improved wireless coverage.

Multi-operator small cells are the structures through which neutral hosts deploy wireless solutions inside buildings. The standalone small cells are mini-base stations, and each access point corresponds to a physical cell. Each operator receives dedicated capacity, and the configuration infrastructure is IT-based. Combinations of spectrums can be layered to increase coverage. The small cells mimic residential routers, but they are significantly more powerful. They can fill in coverage gaps in specific areas using either ethernet or DAS.

As technologies continue to advance, capacity and coverage demands will only increase. To meet these rapidly escalating data requirements, neutral hosts are critical. Neutral host simplifies and streamlines wireless solutions. No matter what carrier a consumer prefers, all users should have phenomenal wireless connectivity experiences. Through Boingo, all carriers are considered equal. Enterprises should focus on what they do best and leave the cellular solutions to a trusted partner. To streamline your network for the 5G era, contact Boingo.