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Hetnet: In-building DAS, small cell, Wi-Fi set to surge

As people increasingly rely on their smartphones to get through the day, there’s a growing emphasis in the wireless industry on providing robust indoor coverage from DAS, Wi-Fi, small cells and more.

Whether in a packed stadium, busy hotel lobby or waiting for a train at the terminal, consumers demand access to cellular and Wi-Fi, but the complexities of spreading coverage and capacity through a large building often prove challenging for network engineers. To overcome impediments presented by reflective glass, dense interior structures and the like, building owners turn to Wi-Fi networks, distributed antenna systems and small cell deployments.

Convergence of DAS and cloud radio access networks

According to a new report from industry analysis firm Mobile Experts, titled “In-Building Wireless Infrastructure and the Enterprise,” the in-building wireless market will double in the next three years.

Joe Madden, principal analyst for Mobile Experts, noted “a clear migration toward inexpensive twisted pair cabling and simpler, lower cost signal sources for in-building deployment. … We have laid out a future roadmap for these new architectures to take the next step, resulting in a low-cost, multi-operator system that will be easy for an enterprise to buy.

“In last year’s report we compared the cost of various alternatives and set some price targets to open up each vertical market,” Madden said. “Many of these price targets are proving to be correct, as we now see enterprise investment growing for in-building solutions. This year, we’ve taken a step further in our investigation of enterprise spending, and we’ve added analysis on the impact of Wi-Fi, license-assisted access, Hotspot 2.0 and other unlicensed options.”

Specifically, the report focuses on convergence of DAS and cloud radio access networks, along with small cells and carrier grade Wi-Fi networks.

To learn more about how a DAS works, check out this video of a CommScope exec breaking out the whiteboard for a tutorial.


Sean Kinney, Editor in Chief
Sean Kinney, Editor in Chief
Editor-in-Chief Sean focuses on multiple subject areas including 5G, Open RAN, hybrid cloud, edge computing, and Industry 4.0. He also hosts Arden Media's podcast Will 5G Change the World? Prior to his work at RCR, Sean studied journalism and literature at the University of Mississippi then spent six years based in Key West, Florida, working as a reporter for the Miami Herald Media Company. He currently lives in Fayetteville, Arkansas.

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