The Good Stuff
Types of Distributed Antenna Systems (DAS)
- 5 min read
A Distributed Antenna System (DAS) is a network of strategically positioned antennas that connect at a carrier source point to distribute seamless cellular and internet connectivity within an area or structure. Within DAS networks, the collective power of multiple antennas are seamlessly harnessed to create exceptional quality for voice and data communications. While the antennas are powerful in amplifying carrier functionality, they are small and discrete. The end result is strong fidelity in connectivity for end users in high-traffic areas. DAS excels in settings with zoning, architectural, densification, or topographic challenges. DAS signal distribution technologies serve indoor and outdoor environments through passive, active, hybrid, and digital systems.
Indoor DAS (iDAS) networks provide coverage for spacious indoor facilities such as office buildings, airports, and entertainment venues. In these systems, multiple signals are sent through single fibers using coaxial cables, taps, splitters and couplers. This allows for low power usage . Additionally, multiple carriers can be supported without extra equipment.
Outdoor DAS (oDAS) networks provide coverage for vast geographies. The architecture and landscape in environments served by oDAS are typically complex, deploying oDAS networks requires expert skill and a multilayered approach. The systems require substantial power, weather-proofing, and expansive coverage that typically involves Remote Radio Heads (RRHs). Active DAS are used when logistics dictate that the signal needs to transmit directly from the fiber to the RRHs. Active DAS do not utilize coaxial cables so they are easily expandable; however, they do require dedicated power. Active DAS networks are ideal for densely populated outdoor spaces that require exceptional performance.
Hybrid DAS (hDAS) refers to the distribution system that blends passive and active strategies. The solution architecture is scalable. HDAS are ideal for sites that require both indoor and outdoor wireless service. Multi-building complexes such as hospitals, colleges, military bases, and corporations can depend upon hDAS for data and voice connectivity. In a typical hybrid configuration, a remote radio unit (RRU) converts the digital signal to an analog radio frequency (RF). Coaxial cables then connect the RF signal to multiple antennas. Both coaxial and fiber optic cables can provide signal because the antennas and RRUs are separate. Using both types of cables eliminates any and all service gaps. HDAS networks can be utilized for densely populated spaces because they can sync multiple carriers and technologies. Off-air hDAS networks are ideal for vast, sparsely populated areas. Power options are flexible and the natural convection cooling of the units is silent.
HOW TO CHOOSE THE RIGHT SYSTEM FOR YOUR NEEDS
The customizability of DAS guarantees the ideal network for even the most complex, high-stakes environments. Each site receives a uniquely designed DAS solution. There are many types of DAS systems and many different configurations. Choosing the right system involves assessing the square footage of the service area, carrier availability, population density, usage rates, security needs, building materials, and structural characteristics of the environment. To amplify the signal, DAS systems work from a main antenna, a Base Transceiver Station (BTS), or small cells. In small cell networks, each node has an exclusive power supply. Boingo simplifies the DAS configuration selection process by conducting a comprehensive assessment to inform the overall solution design. Ahead of rapidly evolving technology, Boingo is focused on employing the most advanced solutions.
HOW TO MANAGE A DAS
DAS networks are integral to connected society. People rely upon DAS networks to conduct business, engage in entertainment, communicate with emergency services and more. Due to its expansiveness and customizability, DAS operate in complex environments that are often vulnerable to strong network signals. When DAS connected sites host major events, additional wireless capacity, connectivity, and power are provided to support the usage increase. Preventative maintenance programing strategies and real-time troubleshooting are critical. Once installed, DAS need to be monitored and configured to maintain seamless connectivity. All types of DAS can be remotely monitored and managed by network leaders like Boingo to ensure 24/7/365 wireless connectivity for people and things. With 20 years of experience as an industry leader, Boingo excels at designing, building and managing DAS networks. Boingo is the largest provider of indoor DAS in the U.S. Learn more by contacting Boingo today.