Feature Article

May 03, 2013

Distributed Antenna Systems May Help Improve Mobile Coverage

Have you ever been in a crowded place and needed to make a phone call? Depending on how many other people were also using their cell phones, there’s a good chance that your call either couldn’t go through or was of subpar quality.

This issue, caused by limits in the spectrum capacity of wireless carriers, can be alleviated with the use of Distributed Antenna Systems (DAS). A new study by iGR, a market research consultancy that deals with wireless and mobile information, suggests that this technology will become more widespread in the near future as there is more demand for fast, reliable voice and data coverage.

DASs are typically used only indoors, in large buildings such as stadiums. In fact, AT&T recently integrated its 4G LTE into the DAS used by the stadium of the Oklahoma City Thunder basketball team, Chesapeake Energy Arena, to try to improve game-goers’ mobile experiences. The arena typically sees crowds of over 18,000 people, which means an awful lot of calls being placed and data being sent during the course of a game. Whereas before, calls would be lost and text messages would fail to be sent, Thunder fans were pleased to find their calls placed and Tweets posted.

DAS isn’t only used to improve customer experiences. It can also be used to provide important functionality, such as making sure that first responders’ radios can pick up signals even in the case of an emergency. Such is the case at Harris Communications, which just had an in-building DAS installed for this very purpose.

It’s clear that DAS can be put to many good uses, which was just one of the conclusions reached by iGR in its recent study. Other questions that were studied included the market forecast for the technology and the challenges faced when deploying a new system.

Edited by Alisen Downey

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