Distributed Antenna Systems (DAS – Distributed Antennae System) Explanation


If you are familiar with data connectivity and capacity services, you may already realize that wireless Internet connections are not really untethered. They still need to be compatible with other systems to provide the accessibility and connectivity that consumers expect.

In more and more situations, fiber optic networks are the backbone of wireless communications. Fiber-optic Internet connections are not subject to the same speed limitations as DSL and cable; because light moves at a speed of 186,000 miles (almost 300,000 kilometers) per second, fiber-optic connectivity is often preferred for its formidable speed. And when fiber optics act as the foundation for wireless and cellular connections, consumers can access high-speed Internet more easily.

Fiber optics are used in a wide variety of configurations and scenarios to improve Internet connectivity. An example of this is with Distributed Antenna Systems (or DAS). Let’s take a closer look at how DAS works and how it influences fiber optics.

What are distributed antenna systems?

Because certain buildings and more remote outdoor areas can often decrease the effectiveness of wireless or cellular signals, there is often a need to reinforce existing connections to minimize the risk of dropped calls and poor signals for mobile devices. Basically, DAS amplifies cellular wireless signals by installing antennas. These antennas send and receive wireless signals, all on carrier-specific frequencies, to improve connectivity.

There are three types of DAS to choose from. These systems can be active, passive or a hybrid of the two. An active DAS is one that creates the wireless signal to provide coverage; such a DAS is usually best for large areas that require many connections within a confined space (such as an airport or concert hall). Passive DAS essentially boosts an existing signal, making it a more cost-effective option for hotels, parking garages, shopping malls, hospitals and other businesses that need a reliable connection but do not cover more than 100,000 square feet (9,300 square meters). There are also hybrid models, which use technology from both types of configurations to distribute a cell signal over a given area.

So where does fiber optics come into play in these DAS? At least two of these models use fiber optic cables to operate. In the case of an active DAS, the system converts an analog signal to digital. To distribute this digital signal, it is transmitted through fiber optic cables and then to antennas, which then convert the signal to its analog form to be sent throughout the building or area. The hybrid DAS will use a combination of coaxial cables (which are used in passive DAS) and fiber optic cables to properly distribute the wireless signal.

While creating a reliable distributed antenna system is complex, using one (or even choosing one to install at your site) doesn’t have to be. By making use of fiber optics and other technologies, you can amplify or create a reliable cellular signal to ensure that employees, customers and even emergency personnel can always have a clear way to connect. To learn more about how our fiber optic networks can help you and your business, contact us today.

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