Distributed Antenna Systems (commonly referred to as DAS) typically refer to two (2) different wireless communications operational applications: ERRCS/1st responder and in-house cellular.
ERRCS/1st RESPONDER DAS
The Emergency Responder Radio Communications System (ERRCS) application is designed to provide/ensure emergency 1st responders reliable wireless radio communication coverage between their on-site team members throughout a property in emergency situations such as fires and/or natural disasters. Common areas of weak or non-existent wireless coverage are parking structures (especially below-grade), and the lower floors of high-rise structures. As a result, most cities have adopted (or are in the process of adopting) building codes that mandate ERRCS DAS, typically for all below-grade through 4th floor above-grade situations. As these critical 1st responder applications are being rolled out by cities, several challenges are also developing, among them lack of uniform DAS standards between cities and different city radio frequencies to be used (i.e., VHF, UHF, 800MHz).
IN-HOUSE CELLULAR DAS
Many tenants moving into recently constructed LEED high-rise buildings, have discovered a potentially serious operational issue related to technology. The use of highly reflective glass siding (which unfortunately reflects radio waves as well as UV rays), combined with an increasing requirement for high dB signal-strength to drive the latest broad-band cellular services (i.e., 4G and 5G), has resulted in many new buildings having marginal and in some cases very poor interior cell coverage. With increasing business dependency on smart phones and tablets for cellular internet access as well as phone calls (even to the point of a growing trend toward cloud-based telephony displacing even VoIP), there is a tenant expectation of consistently strong cell coverage in all areas of commercial buildings. Unfortunately, this expectation is often becoming a flawed assumption that can lead to significant tenant dissatisfaction and real operational/communications problems negatively impacting their ability to conduct business. Unfortunately, the magnitude of the problem (if it will be a problem at all), is often unknown until the building is completed.
An in-house neutral-host cellular DAS system is a serious and expensive undertaking, whose complexity should not be underestimated. Designed or implemented poorly or by an inexperienced contractor could result in a great deal of wasted money, user complaints and a marketing problem for the property.
Bottom line, both DAS applications are complex. It is critical for clients to select an experienced consultant to design and contractor/integrator capable of ensuring that the system works correctly …. the 1st time! The PlanNet DAS team is experienced in doing both.