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Use distributed antenna systems to complement small cells

John Spindler, VP Marketing and Product Management, Zinwave | Sept. 13, 2016
Using small cells and DAS together improves cell coverage within a building and overcomes the limitations of using either alone

* There is no need to over-provision. All antennas in the DAS have access to all of the feeder cell’s capacity, so there’s no need to add new small cells for higher capacity requirements in high-density areas.  If additional capacity is needed throughout the building, additional small cells can be added in a central location at the DAS head-end.

* Deployment is less expensive. It is much less expensive to deploy a DAS for coverage and capacity in a large building requiring multi-operator support than to deploy dozens or hundreds of small cells. At the same time, using small cells as the RF signal source saves the cost of a base station and attenuators that would sit between the base station and the DAS head-end.  It also eliminates the need for any specialized HVAC and power, which is common for base station deployments.

* Backhaul costs are lower. A group of centrally located small cells feeding a DAS head-end can be combined to use a single backhaul connection. This contrasts favorably with needing a separate backhaul connection for each of several dozen or several hundred distributed small cells.

DAS solutions continue to be popular because they are the most efficient and economical way to provide multi-frequency in-building wireless coverage in larger venues. Small cells are a preferred solution for residences or smaller buildings, but given their current limitations they will not replace DAS at the higher end. Rather, small cells and DAS can work together to reduce the cost of deployments in terms of equipment, cabling and real estate.

Spindler has over 30 years of product management and marketing experience in the wireless and telecommunications industries.


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