Broadly speaking, a distributed antenna system, or DAS, serves to boost signals where they're weak. According to Wikipedia, a distributed antenna system can be defined as "… a network of spatially separated antenna nodes connected to a common source via a transport medium that provides wireless service within a geographical area or structure."
Over the last few years, DAS systems have been developed to serve the needs of small spaces – like individual buildings. Implementing this technology in an office building yields several benefits … sometimes better coverage for mobile smart-phones, which are becoming more and more prevalent in today's business world.
You know that being able to receive email when you're not at your computer is a valuable benefit to having one of today's phones!
Cell-phone companies like AT & T, Verizon, Sprint and others, transmit voice and data through large outdoor towers, some of which are on top of rooftops, especially in larger cities. When the phone is outside and has minimal interference between it and the tower, the signal strength is pretty good most of the time.
But once you go inside to use your phone, signal strength drops noticeably and you're dropping calls and unable to send messages … Many of the materials used in construction many office buildings, like glass, unfortunately with cell phone and Wi- Fi signals. For data signals, it's worse once you go inside a building since they're delivered at a higher frequency.
Essentially, the quality of reception inside a building is a function of the user's proximate to the outdoor network, which is often times a significant distance away.
An indoor DAS network solves this problem by setting up a series of antennas that serve as a repeater system
Over the last few years, demand for mobile voice and data (3G and 4G networks) has skyrocketed. Businesses and individuals are moving to mobile applications in huge numbers.
The problem of course is that higher frequency data signals are blocked once the user is inside. Key to making mobile devices a good alternative is being able to use them anytime, anywhere. Without that, they're not much different than a desktop computer.
With that said, many large office buildings and other facilities are turning to indoor digital antenna systems.
In a very basic sense, the indoor DAS system works by having a master antenna on the outside of a building which connets directly with the cell phone tower. Many of these systems are compatible with both 3G and 4G networks from a variety of carriers.
Therefore, they help boost cell phone coverage regardless of which carrier the user has.
The master antenna is then interconnected with other sub-antennas located throughout the building. Where they're located is determined by where the heaviest demand will be. These interconnected antennas all relay voice and data back to the master antenna, which transmits it to the closest cell phone tower.
Application of an indoor DAS system has the potential to revolutionize how businesses work. The portability offered by devices like the iPhone, Android or iPad tablet makes collaboration, research and communication much easier.
No longer do you have to worry about not catching someone at their desk … your biggest worry may be making sure everyone keeps their phone on them !!