Setting the Benchmark for Wireless

Articles & News

Articles & News



By Sean Kinney, Managing Editor on MAY 31, 2017

Hybrid DAS/small cells, neutral host small cells and lower-cost DAS are helping serve the enterprise in-building wireless market

Many marquee venues like stadiums and airports already have in-building wireless connectivity systems, often an active distributed antenna system (DAS), that provides multi-band, multi-carrier support — albeit at considerable expense. These types of systems are often funded by carriers or neutral host providers. However, for smaller buildings like hospitals, retail centers and other enterprise spaces, the return isn’t attractive enough to draw carrier investment, which is increasingly putting the impetus on building owners and enterprises themselves to solve for in-building wireless connectivity. Here we look at three trends in the vendor community that are impacting the way cellular is provisioned indoors, where the majority of mobile traffic originates.

Hybrid DAS/small cell systems

Acquiring a baseband unit from a carrier and installing it to support an active DAS system is a huge cost and time element associated with a deployment–this isn’t something an enterprise can unilaterally do. This has given rise to a hybrid approach to distributing signal throughout a building. Instead of the baseband unit, a small cell is used as the signal source to feed the distributed antennas of the DAS. With Verizon Wireless recently asking its DAS suppliers to integrate SpiderCloud Wireless small cell units into their systems, there’s growing interest in this hybrid approach to serving the enterprise space with coverage and capacity.

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Neutral host small cells

Small cells provide connectivity at a much lower cost than an active DAS, but come with some limitations. Chief among those obstacles is the lack of broad availability of multi-carrier small cells that could support a common infrastructure, which has a straight line correlation to ease of install and building aesthetics among other important factors, such as enabling a wider range of neutral host deployment models.

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Taking the cost out of DAS

SOLiD Technologies, which has labeled the “middleprise” as buildings between 100,000- and 500,00-square-feet, is working to address this valuable market through an innovative take on DAS: GENESIS, which provides a multi-carrier solution, but further shifts ownership to the venue owner and provides a marketplace for carriers to purchase capacity back from the system owner. “It’s a totally new approach to in-building wireless where the building owner outfits their properties with affordable, new generation DAS solution, including the signal source component,” according to the company. SOLiD Americas President Ken Sandfeld called GENESIS a “game-changer.”

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Amanda Duffy