As carriers continue expanding and densifying their networks to meet the capacity and bandwidth requirements that never seems to slow down, the economically viable In-Building Wireless (IBW) solutions have become more critical than ever before - and it’s only a start. Distributed Antenna Systems (DAS), Single Carrier Small Cells, and Multi-Carrier Small Cells combined make up today’s in-building voice and data solutions.
DAS, a network of antennas that offers wireless cellular service for a small area, for example, a building, is a means of improving and distributing wireless connections inside buildings and premises in order to enable wireless devices to function more smoothly and reliably where they otherwise would not.
DAS technology was developed when connectivity issues began to arise in the cellular sphere because of the ever-increasing data usage. Most companies offer employees the freedom to bring their own devices and they, as well as the visitors, depend on a dependable mobile network services. Mobile broadband networks play a critical role in every sector today, especially the service sector. Flawless connectivity and omnipresent network are a requirement in commercial buildings, hotels, colleges, hospitals and retail stores. Individuals have grown reliant on connecting to cellular networks wherever they go, and only 30% of the small and medium-sized businesses believe that their in-building coverage is sufficient to handle the rapidly increasing volumes of mobile traffic (Collado, 2016).
Several trends contribute to the need for the improved in-building wireless networks. First of all, there is an increased adoption of the smartphones and tablets and changes in building construction standards that prevent outdoor coverage from penetrating indoors. The expansion of the Bring your own device (BYOD) usage in businesses means that multi-carrier mobile service is now already present in most spaces and is also the most critical requirement for most enterprises. Quality wireless service is globally becoming the expected norm; in hospitality environments, inside the offices, in entertainment industry, and dare I say, everywhere. Secondly, there is a surging popularity of wearable and implantable devices, as well as a growing penetration of smart devices in regions that weren’t lit only a few years back. The number of global Mobile Broadband users is set to grow from the current 3 billion to 6.7 billion in 2020. That’s an astounding growth that we’ll see in the next 3 years.
Moreover, the rising popularity of the 4K videos and HD VoLTE will undoubtedly create a tenfold consumption in data volume per user increase. The accelerating technological growth and urbanization will generate far more hotspots than we have today.
Small cells and DAS feature greener and efficient deployment. It is also a key technology in facilitating bigger network coverage and has proven optimal to improve efficiency and user experience in our hotspots. Small cells expressively enhance user experience and fully unlock the potential of service creation, indoors and outdoors alike. To fully understand the tremendous potential related to in-building wireless systems, consider the multi-billion-dollar growth provided by research organizations. Texas-based ABI Research projected the in-building wireless market to exceed an annual value of approximately $9 billion by the year 2020 (Kinney, 2017). The key challenge faced by enterprises is technology selection which has become complicated in terms of striking the appropriate balance between needs, cost, and complexity.
Distributed Antenna System vendors are working around the clock to make the products more enterprise-friendly by reducing the cost of complexity and providing multi-operator, multi-band support that is critical for most businesses. These businesses have embraced the BYOD policies, and adopted bandwidth-intensive applications such as real-time workflow sharing and video conferencing. To enable a user-friendly, easy to manage DAS solution, companies rely on the DAS infrastructure, virtualized radio Access Network signal source and cloud-based management. The use of digital technology in signal processing and signal transport has been able to address the critical enterprise requirements.
The wireless world is seeing a vast change in the user behavior patterns. Increasing number of indoor service models are also emerging. Small Cells have been increasingly adopted and deployed, and this has put the strain on the existing network infrastructure and in connection capabilities to the point that in the next few years, the current infrastructure can barely handle the swelling requirements and user needs. Which means that there is a need for a new and efficient network IBW architecture that will simplify the deployment and maintenance of large-scale cellular networks and improve the network performance and user experience.
As the demand for more IBW capacity continues to accelerate, DAS optimizes the network interfaces and also support extensive connections that are bound to arise from the Internet of Things (IoT). In order to meet the requirements of the future networks, DAS and small cells can combinedly support Multi-frequency applications, indoor digital solutions, and integrated wireless backhaul to improve environmental friendliness and reduce costs, as well as provide highly scalable solution.