DAS: Bridging the Gap to Constant Connectivity

People have the expectation, in today’s environment, of constant connectivity for communication regardless of the challenges it presents to deliver that connectivity.  Telecommunications companies have always faced tough challenges from their customers when it comes to mobile phones.  Customers were very spoiled by the landline phone experience of always being able to pick up the phone and hear that trusty dial-tone.  This is especially true of the business environment, where the ability to communicate is not just a luxury, but essential as more and more business is done using cell phones versus landline phones.

So how does AT&T deliver service to the twentieth floor of a skyscraper, or have the ability to carry the massive amount of traffic that people use at a sports stadium or mega-mall?  The answer is a DAS, or a distributed antenna system. Wikipedia defines a DAS as, “a network of spatially separated antenna nodes connected to a common source via a transport medium that provides wireless service within a geographic area or structure.”  DAS systems bridge the gap from places where service exists to places it can’t, and still allows people to have this vital service.

There two types of DAS, active and passive DAS.  A passive DAS is generally fed by an existing cell site tower which feeds an antenna at the location that needs service.  That service is taken over a wired connection to a repeater which amplifies it and splits it out to small antennas located throughout the building.  This is most often done in smaller venues that have line of sight connections to existing cell towers which do not present as large a challenge as a skyscraper or a stadium.  For the larger venues, and those that present an ever bigger challenge, an active DAS is used.  An active DAS is often comprised of a base transceiver station or BTS which pulls its signal from a wired connection to a mobile switching station.  This is the same way a cell site often gets its signal.  It is then fed to a repeater and out to a series of small antennas which bring the service to the people.

AT&T has made it possible for its customers to keep in touch with friends, loved ones and business connections through DAS. This system helps to ensure that our customers have a bridge to being able to use their mobile services with the reliability they expected from their mobile phones.

Have you noticed the use of DAS at your office or local stadium?
Steven Shapiro Mobility Network Process and Quality Manager AT&T About Steven