Distributed Antenna Systems Expand Wireless Options

Michael Vizard

With the ever expanding proliferation of smartphones and other handheld devices, the ability to access wireless broadband services consistently is becoming a much bigger priority. Unfortunately, right now service is inconsistent, so what carriers are looking for is some way to enhance their services, particularly in high traffic areas where large numbers of people will be contending for a limited amount of bandwidth.

For a lot of chief technologists, the logical answer to this problem is to deploy access points to create an 802.11n wireless networks that a lot of these devices can access alongside cellular data services. But for obvious reasons, the carriers would prefer to keep as much of that traffic on their existing cellular networks. To accomplish that, the carriers are turning to new distributed antenna system (DAS) technologies from companies such as ExteNet Systems to extend their cellular networks.

According to Jon Davis, vice president of business development, sites such as the McCormick Place convention center in Chicago are turning to DAS to enhance wireless access using one central hub that is a lot easier to deploy and manage than a raft of 802.11n access points. ExteNet works with local carrier companies to amplify their cellular signals alongside providing 802.11 access inside crowded locations such as McCormick Place to expand the amount of available bandwidth.

For the carriers, Davis says DAS allows them to provide customers with a more robust, seamless experience without having to introduce what some carriers see as a competing wireless technologies or having to manage dedicated 802.11n equipment.

Whatever approach is ultimately taken, it's becoming clear that with the rise of both DAS and 802.11n wireless technologies, the mobile computing experience is about to become a whole lot richer in 2010.

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Jan 18, 2011 6:01 PM Anonymous Anonymous  says:
Could someone explain the different options? From the web page: http://www.lbagroup.com/associates/in-building-wireless-distributed-antenna-system.php There are several technical solutions available for in building wireless coverage and capacity. They include: 1. pico and microcells 2. high and low powered passive repeaters 3. passive coax-based transport 4. low and high powered active distributed antenna systems 5. Radio over Fiber (RoF) Reply

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