In the contemporary landscape of telecommunications, the rules of the game and the methods through which it’s played are constantly changing and shifting. As the industry innovates and develops, spaces are opening up for massive enterprise markets. Especially in an age when wireless communications with ubiquitous coverage are so vital to end users, whether they’re streaming video or talking on the cell phone, enterprise Distributed Antenna Systems (DAS) have become a focal point.
At the NEDAS 2018 NYC Summit, Jeffery Fuller, Vice President of sales and marketing at Intelibs, gave a presentation regarding these market changes and how the DAS evolution affects the industry landscape.
As demands rise and DAS becomes widely implemented, cost is becoming a roadblock for carriers. As a result, Fuller describes the market need for a new cost economic system. Enterprise DAS is heating up and with it comes trends that allow carriers to save in new and novel ways. Currently, the market is moving away from carrier-owned, high venue systems towards centralized and virtualized carrier systems as a way to reduce expenses. However, as signal sources move away from client venues and end up far from DAS head ends, the next big hurdle becomes how to extend the remote source signal out to DAS sites.
Fiber has subsequently become the transport medium of choice in the new DAS approach because of its ability to successfully bring high-quality signals out to DAS venues. Fuller and Intelibs are bringing focused technologies, such as radio frequency (RF) over fiber equipment for DAS interface and long distance RF transport, to the market to facilitate signal this transfer. He explains that fiber has proven itself as an ideal transporter for carrier signals due to its attractive benefits of providing unlimited bandwidth and being more lightweight, flexible and low-loss than coaxial cables. Additionally, fiber solutions have a distinct and impressive lack of optical leakage and signal degradation and are resistant to electrical and lightning damage, so the signal has very low risk of being compromised. In terms of cost and efficiency, these benefits make fiber the most effective medium being used today. With Intelibs’ ability to distribute fiber up to 15 miles away from DAS sites, this method provides unparalleled convenience and control and is subsequently becoming key to this DAS market shift. Intelibs’ recently introduced intelligent radio over fiber (IROF) approach is also facilitating this shift.
As new and innovative ways are being found to enable virtualization and centralization of signal, Fuller predicts that carrier-owned systems will become increasingly rare. Instead, third-party owned, neutral host DAS solutions and facility owned single-carrier and neutral host multi-carrier DAS deployments are on the rise. Fuller also anticipates an increase in carrier sharing as carriers become accustomed to neutral host environments.
So, major cost-cutting is occurring with this centralized signal method, which shows significant savings over RF colocation on the customer premises by eliminating the need for battery backups. However, other money saving methods are at work as well. Fuller pinpoints the rise of cookie-cutter DAS as a cost solution that is very close on the horizon. While custom design and implementation are no longer as feasible due to high demand, cookie-cutter equipment and deployments will increase the product’s availability and drive critical volumes, which Fuller states is the “mother of invention and cost savings.”
Whether it’s an evolution or a revolution, the DAS world is changing. The economic model for an enterprise market is encouraging these shifts towards new and innovative DAS solutions as cost becomes paramount. Current trends are changing the way DAS is designed, implemented and utilized and with such an active enterprise market, the future and manifestation of DAS will only continue to be reinvented.