What to Expect
What Can I Expect? Once a model for DAS deployment is selected, here's what you can expect:
- Engage the Wireless Carriers-Approach carriers early. Often, carriers want to proactively manage their licensed services indoors in order to avoid impacting their macro networks and many will consider paying for your BDA ($10,000 investment) or BTS equipment ($150,000 or more investment) based on the size of your subscriber base and service plan commitment level.
- Assess Topology-Evaluate your building topology, assessing the materials that obstruct, reflect, absorb, or remain transparent to radio waves. Open buildings with few hard walls require a lower antenna density than more densely constructed facilities.
- Service Mix and Topology Drive Design and Costs-Consider that RF signals in different frequency bands propagate differently through space and higher frequencies experience more loss, requiring greater allowances for fading, which impacts cable lengths and antenna placement. For example, 800MHz frequencies for public safety radios typically require antenna placement every 8 to 10,000 feet; however, 802.11a services supporting voice over WLAN require antenna placement every 1,500 square feet. All of this impacts costs. Ultimately, however, as compared to other must-have infrastructure, a DAS investment is a good one; typically DAS costs range from 20 to 30 cents per square foot to $1.50 per square foot. And you can design your DAS to meet your most challenging wireless requirements (for example, 802.11a services), which ensures that you're covered for all other less demanding services.
- Consider Staffing and Management Requirements-Consider the operational expense of managing RF services. Will IT staff have the tools to detect problems quickly? For ensuring that mission-critical services work 24/7, passive DAS solutions may not be the best option.
By selecting the DAS approach that meets your organization's objectives and addresses the inherent challenges of managing RF signals indoors, you create an enterprise mobility strategy that's built right and built to last.