A DAS solution that’s easy and affordable
Distributed antenna systems (DAS) can provide mobile signals in areas that are difficult to reach, and now, with Zyxel’s ZoneDAS solution, they are both easier to implement and much more affordable, says Patrick Hirscher, EMEA Wireless Market Development Manager, Zyxel EMEA.
No matter how good a cellular network might be, there are always going to be places that mobile signals just can’t reach. It’s just not always possible to locate base masts where they will provide perfect coverage for the entire area of a hospital or college, a conference venue, sports stadium, or a golf course, for example.
The same issue can arise in some larger buildings, especially where there are thick or well-insulated walls. There can also be issues in warehouses, where certain types of goods are stored.
WiFi won’t always be available in these places either. While it might seem to be almost everywhere these days, wireless networks also struggle to reach some areas – especially bigger, more open spaces, where there is nowhere to locate access points. Where they cannot connect to WiFi, people certainly do expect to be able to use their smartphone instead.
Access all areas
This is why having a good, consistent and stable mobile signal is becoming more important for everyone. Students will want to access learning resources wherever they are on a college site; an executive playing golf with a client, will want to make sure they can be contacted by the office at all times. A manager inspecting locations in a logistic centre, will want to be able to access the latest information on deliveries and shipments.
For these and other users, having a good signal is just as important now for data access as it is for voice. We all rely on digital services and processes almost completely now, so making sure we can always access them is a high priority.
One simple way to overcome the challenge of cellular signals not reaching everywhere on a particular site where it really is needed and expected, is to deploy a distributed antenna system (DAS). This can be used to boost the signal around a large area or building.
Simple and affordable
The problem with DAS has always been that it has been difficult, time-consuming and expensive. Or there will be a compromise in performance and how far the signals can reach.
Lower-cost, so-called ‘passive’ DAS set-ups, which basically use simple repeaters to carry a signal, won’t always be very effective. The signal strength weakens with every hop you make away from the main hub. This can make voice connections patchy and data almost unusable.
In ZoneDAS we believe we have a very good solution indeed to the problem of providing good mobile signals within large buildings in which otherwise, it’s difficult to get reception. If you’d like to know more, just get in contact with your nearest Zyxel partner.
A more powerful ‘active’ solution will provide a better signal strength but cost much more. In most cases, it will also require higher-grade cabling to be installed to carry the mobile signals between the DAS distribution boxes. This cabling will need to be laid of course, and it is quite typical for installation of such a DAS to take six weeks, sometimes longer. more, and it may cause considerable disruption. Such systems usually cost in the region of €50,000. For many organisations, that’s quite a sum to justify..
The Zyxel ZoneDAS solution provides a much simpler, easier to deploy and affordable solution. We have made use of the very latest technologies to provide our customers with an active DAS solution that can be used over even the simplest Cat5e cabling. Most buildings or networked sites will have this grade of cable as a minimum already installed, so this should be no barrier to using a ZoneDAS set-up.
In addition, our engineers have been able to draw on their expertise in designing networking equipment to make the set-up and installation of ZoneDAS very easy. Once a simple test has been run on-site to assess the availability and strength of service provider signals, we can quickly configure the main base unit. The total time taken to carry out the installation will vary depending on the size and complexity of the ZoneDAS location, but typically, it will be just two or three days.
This could be anything between 15 and 30 times faster than it would take to implement other active DAS solutions. As a result, ZoneDAS is a much more cost-effective option for any organisation that wants to provide good, stable cellular coverage across a building or specific area. We’d expect the cost to be between one quarter and one third of the charge you would have previously expected to pay for a DAS solution.
For partners and solutions providers, this means engineering staff are not tied-up for several days or weeks, carrying out and overseeing installation projects. Better use can be made of their time to work on other projects. As installation is simpler and ZoneDAS is more affordable, it is a much more attractive value proposition for your customers.