Technology has ever been evolving over the past 20 years and it has become more and more sophisticated. It has become a crucial part of cellular networks and enterprise infrastructures. The DAS can be incorporated in the existing system or it can be installed separately. Both approaches work fine, but selecting the right choice by taking the integration issues into consideration is a crucial step. Such integration issues can be categorized in three broad terms; Regulatory Issues, Technical and Economic Issues, and Jurisdictional Issues.
The municipalities set rules and regulations and their compliance is an obligation for all the public facilities that have integrated DAS in their infrastructure. The rules keep on shifting; an example of a recent rule is that it has become a prerequisite for building with more than 3 stories to pass a public safety communication standards.
The system installation and functioning should be in accordance with the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) and International Fire Code (IFC) standards. A few standards which need to be followed are listed here,
- The installation should be waterproof that utilizes NEMA 4X enclosures.
- A 24/7 battery backup in the form of UPS should be present and should also be NEMA 4X compliant.
- The system should be integrated with your building’s Fire Alarm Control Panel and monitoring center.
- The coverage should include places such as stairwells or elevator shafts.
The installation of cellular DAS does not require the fulfillment of the detailed set of requirements like the Public Safety DAS does; it is a relatively simpler way to go as far as regulatory compliance is concerned. But on the other hand, converged DAS requires the compliance with all the enlisted requirements. There is no good or bad installation type; it is the matter of each individual situation and requirements which define the best-suited installation type for your building.
Technical and Economic Issues
The deployment goals vary for the public safety DAS and the cellular DAS. Providing a broad, building-wide coverage for the first responders is a compulsion for public safety DAS, whereas the goal of Cellular DAS are typically driven by carrier requirements to fill-in areas where coverage is inept for the smartphone users in the building.
The requirements of the cellular DAS are mostly defined by the carrier prerequisites. Or their scope can simply be driven by the purpose of deploying coverage to the areas that otherwise receive inconsistent or weak signals. Deciding what deployment scheme to go with can be a costly decision to make, so it is paramount sort out your needs and study what plan suits your facility best.
For public safety DAS, it is mandatory to have redundant equipment and fiber paths to achieve a from of overlapping coverage; it allows to achieve appropriate level of system reliability. Commercial DAS networks, on the other hand, require otherwise. Combining redundant and non-redundant systems in a single configuration would be incongruous. As more frequencies are added, it’s likely that interference grows sweepingly too. It will be a costly ordeal, in terms of both dime and time, to understand and manage the non-linearity.
Last but not the least is the jurisdiction issues that you need to consider. One of the most important codes for public safety DAS is the security of a system that is ensured by its limited access. The service should only be available to the Authorities Having Jurisdiction (AHJ), which covers only the owner of the building and the first responders. If your entire DAS is accessible to technicians and maintenance staff, it can lead to weak and disrupted service. A commercial service maintenance person who has access to the entire system could accidentally cause obstruction with the Public Safety service as they work with the co-located cellular gear. So in terms of support and sustenance, maintaining the public safety DAS separate from you cellular DAS can be a smart decision to make. Public safety DAS also needs the annual inspections and certifications to be a necessity; which is not the case in cellular DAS.