It wasn’t long ago that the inability to get reception on your cellphone was a frequent annoyance and even a safety hazard. However, thanks to cellular boosters and distributed antenna systems (DAS), comprehensive coverage is now a reality for many people, whether they’re inside, outside or moving between locations in a sprawling corporate, health or educational campus.
Why Is Cell Coverage an Issue for Buildings and Campuses?
Today, building and facilities managers must contend with the demands of their customers and tenants by providing the infrastructure needed for widespread and consistent wireless coverage. Expectations have shifted to the point that whether people are walking down the street, through a store or up to their office, they anticipate uninterrupted connectivity for their mobile device.
If that isn’t the case, shoppers may not visit particular stores, companies may forgo leasing specific office spaces and prospective college applicants may look elsewhere for a better student experience.
Essentially, cell coverage has gone from being viewed as a perk to a necessity — and from a luxury to a utility.
Methods for Expanding Cell Coverage
To determine how you’ll provide a seamless coverage experience for building occupants, you’ll have to investigate a couple of different factors, the first of which is the size of your location.
Cellular Boosters Meet Many Needs
Much of the commercial real estate market consists of properties that would be deemed as being below the middleprise sector. For facilities 250,000 square feet or smaller, a carrier-preapproved cellular booster may be sufficient for satisfying coverage needs.
Otherwise known as passive DAS, these solutions can be installed by expert technicians — like the staff of Day Wireless Systems — for a lower price than carrier-provided technology.
Using passive DAS to amplify incoming signals may be a suitable coverage option for:
- Small businesses.
- Commercial offices.
- Shopping centers.
- Places of worship.
DAS Models Expand Coverage for Whole Campuses
Larger facilities require a more robust solution. Stadiums, college campuses, sprawling health care facilities and spread-out office parks may demand:
- A bidirectional amplifier (BDA).
- A neutral-host DAS.
- Remote units and fiber integration between sites.
Often, organizations face challenges in implementing these systems due to the size of their campus, which can include a large number of buildings, as well as due to the complexity of the undertaking and its overall price tag.
However, many facilities find that safety is a compelling reason for executing these initiatives. While public safety guidelines usually only dictate that infrastructure in the facility be capable of supporting the operation of emergency communications systems used by first responders, cellphones have a crucial role to play. A call from a cellphone may make it possible to summon first responders in time to avoid catastrophe.
In addition to these concerns, many campus managers and building administrators realize that there’s no turning back time. Coverage expectations will only grow in the coming years. This is evidenced by the fact that, according to a recent forecast from Research and Markets, the global DAS market was expected to grow from $7.9 billion in 2020 to $10.7 billion in 2025.
If funding is tight, it’s best to start small — perhaps with just a new building — and then grow from there.
In addition to starting slow, there are some creative funding opportunities available. Carriers are sometimes willing to participate in revenue-sharing agreements that allow them to operate on neutral-host DAS configurations. That was the case for a recent university athletics DAS and Wi-Fi implementation project in Colorado, according to an article from ISE Magazine.
If you do choose to participate in this kind of arrangement, it’s important to carefully consider how much control you’re willing to hand over to the carrier in terms of ownership over data and equipment, as well as other factors.
The rapid pace of evolution in the DAS space means that developments have progressed significantly over the past several years. For organizations that investigated the possibility of DAS implementation and decided against it even five years ago, they’ll be entering a whole new landscape today. It’s never too late to start.
Find an Expert Partner Capable of Implementing a DAS Solution for Your Building or Campus
Expert providers can help you navigate the complexities of passive or neutral-host DAS implementations. At Day Wireless Systems (DWS), we have significant experience designing and executing systems of various scopes and sizes. Find out more by contacting a DWS representative today.