DAS vs. SMALL CELLS FOR IN-BUILDING WIRELESS
By Sean Kinney, Managing Editor on MAY 30, 2017
The need for robust in-building wireless systems for enterprise users is well-established. The vast majority of mobile traffic originates inside buildings, and, particularly in the context of an office, retail center, hospital or other enterprise environment, the common approach of providing coverage from the outside-in just isn’t enough.
To understand the tremendous potential related to in-building wireless systems, consider the multi-billion-dollar growth outlook provided by industry research firms. Austin, Texas-based ABI Research, in a report published last year, projected the in-building wireless market to exceed an annual value of $9 billion by 2020 with North America leading in spending. That’s a conservative estimate compared to forecasts published by Markets and Markets, which pegged the 2015 in-building wireless market as worth $4.83 billion and estimates a compound annual growth rate of 28.1% to a yearly value of $16.71 billion in 2020. Researchers with Markets and Markets hit on the increasing prevalence of mobile-first enterprise users as “businesses realize the impact of pervasive coverage and effective communication environment on individuals’ productivity.”
One key challenge faced by enterprise decision makers is technology selection, which can be tricky in terms of striking the appropriate balance between needs, cost, complexity and other factors. Cellular in-building wireless solutions include distributed antenna systems (DASs) and small cells.
DAS for the enterprise
Distributed antenna system vendors are working to the make products more enterprise-friendly by reducing the cost of complexity while still providing the multi-operator, multi-band support that’s needed by many businesses who have embraced the bring-your-own-device trend and adopted bandwidth-intensive applications such as a real-time workflow sharing, video conferencing and other tools.
Tim Moynihan, vice president of marketing, SOLiD Technologies, said, for the enterprise, user experience is key. “We tend to talk about technology,” he said. “Let’s talk about user experience, let’s talk about what the enterprise IT departments want. It’s all about the application; it’s all about the user experience and how it’s supported by enterprise IT. They want happy customers, they want a happy CEO, they don’t want to take [complaint]phone calls. They want to manage it, work with it and work with as few vendors as possible.”
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