What is a DAS?
Distributed Antenna Systems (DAS) are installed when existing outdoor wireless networks do not provide adequate coverage inside. In areas with insufficient coverage, a DAS effectively provides wireless coverage for mobile telephones, two-way radios and wireless LAN devices in buildings, tunnels, underground parking garages, anywhere outdoor radio signals do not reach. The size of the systems range from a single antenna and BDA/repeater to large scale deployments utilizing thousands of feet of fiber and hundreds of remote antennas covering millions of square feet.
There are many different types of DAS technology. Depending on the particular application, one type of wireless network infrastructure may be more effective than another. Below is a brief overview of DAS infrastructures:
Passive / Coaxial
A coax system is the most basic DAS. It has low installation and maintenance costs. The coaxial system consists of a signal source, cable, connectors and antennas. It has limited growth, but is an effective means to address wireless needs.
Radiating cables, which act as extended antennas, are also called Leaky feeders. Commonly used in tunnels, radiating cable is the best solution for long areas where discrete antennas would be ineffective.
With lower installation costs than coax and fiber, CAT5/RG6/11 systems are quick to install. They allow more discrete installations in locations such as hotels and other hard to cable locations.
DAS Systems with Fiber Optics
The most technically advanced option, these systems typically have a piece of electronics called a hub. The RF signal is fed into the hub and converted to light to be transported over the fiber. The fiber is connected to a remote hub that then feeds the remote antenna locations.
Incorporating Wifi into a DAS has both benefits and short comings that should be analyzed and determined on a case by case basis. Typically this is a separate system that can be implemented side by side with the DAS solution thereby reducing installation costs. For further information regarding frequently asked questions, please see our FAQ.