DAS, Wi-Fi and small-cell solutions are critical to the build out of wireless services and to meet the unique communication needs of our clients. Today, consumers demand consistent wireless broadband coverage and capacity across every setting. To meet this demand, the cellular network is moving closer to the consumer, using a variety of licensed and unlicensed technologies working in tandem. Today’s networks employ a variety of technologies from cellular towers, rooftop antennas, Small Cells, Wi-Fi and Distributed Antenna Systems. Together, these heterogeneous network (HetNet) technologies knit together the nation’s wireless networks.
At Optiglow we are technology neutral and will work on the solution that makes the most sense for our Clients. There have been many scenarios where Optiglow have recommended Small Cell technology over DAS or cell repeater solutions, it all depends on our customers unique needs, the specific market and the requirements of the Wireless Carriers network specifications.
Reliable wireless distribution is an integral part of business and pleasure, and a professionally designed system which may use one or more wireless technologies of DAS, Small Cells and Wi-Fi is optimal for a high quality wireless communication system.
Distributed Antenna System (DAS) Networks, small cells and Wi-Fi are being deployed to provide coverage in targeted locations, moving radios closer to the subscriber, and or to providing additional call anddata-handling capacity in areas with concentrated demands for wireless services.
Macrocell sites, DAS Networks and each of the various small cell technologies (microcells, picocells/metrocells,Femtocells) have unique characteristics and capacities that make them most suitable for deployment in specific environments and for resolving particular coverage and capacity challenges.
The needs of the wireless service providers and their subscribers and the application of cost-benefit analyses dictate where and in what combinations the respective solutions will be deployed. Together the combination of the macrocellular network with DAS Networks, Wi-Fi and various small cell solutions has been termed the “heterogeneous network” or “HetNet”.
A DAS Network consists of three primary components: (i) a number of remote communications nodes (DAS Node(s)), each including at least one antenna for the transmission and reception of a wireless service provider’s RF signals; (ii) a high capacity signal transport medium (typically fiber optic cable) connecting each DAS Node back to a central communications hub site; and (iii) radio transceivers or other head-end equipment located at the hub site that propagates and/or converts, processes or controls the communications signals transmitted and received through the DAS Nodes.
Depending on the particular DAS Network architecture and the environment in which it is
deployed, DAS Nodes may include equipment in addition to the antennas, e.g., amplifiers, remote radio heads, signal converters and power supplies.
In contrast, small cell solutions are typically deployed piecemeal to provide coverage or enhance capacity in much smaller areas with a single wireless communications technology for a single wireless carrier. While each small cell installation is similar to a single DAS Node installation in that it requires a communications link back to the larger network, an electric power source, and location space, an appropriately configured small cell can generally be deployed to provide an immediate solution to a more isolated and smaller coverage or capacity challenge in a manner that requires much less upfront design work, planning and capital investment than DAS facilities.
Wi-Fi technology allows electronic devices to exchange data over a computer network wirelessly using unlicensed radio frequency spectrum. Devices such as personal computers, video game consoles, smartphones, tablets, and TVs can use Wi-Fi to access the Internet via wireless access points, also called “hotspots”. Hotspots have a range of about 20-200 feet indoors. A Wi-Fi hotspot can contain one or more access points (APs) that deliver the connectivity to a specific network. In this instance, however, it is describing each AP as a hotspot, when in fact all the AP’s within a single
coverage area are part of a single hotspot, much like each DAS Node of a DAS is part of the whole.
To date, Wi-Fi has largely been a consumer-oriented technology not requiring professional installation and coordination. However, in large enterprise deployments (multistory buildings, entertainment venues and convention centers) RF engineers aid in installation especially when a DAS system will be installed with Wi-Fi.
Wi-Fi can ride on top of the wired element of a DAS.