Distributed Antenna Systems: 10 Takeaways from the Property Tech Breakfast

Our first Property Tech Breakfast was everything we had hoped – a room full of expert practitioners, an interactive discussion and great connections with peers.

The event was all about distributed antenna systems (DAS) – whether they’re needed, how to design them, how to select DAS technology and how to get systems approved. We covered both public safety and commercial (in-building cellular) DAS implementations.

Our panelists – Travis Linn from MTG, Adam Dunnom from Best Enterprises and Andrew Masur from Mobili-Fi – led a very interactive discussion. We were fortunate to have people from all sides of the topic at the event, including Authorities Having Jurisdiction (AHJs), property managers, engineers, architects and even someone from UL.

Here are ten key takeaways from the event:

Public Safety or Emergency Responder Radio Coverage (ERRC) DAS

  1. While many jurisdictions have formally adopted relevant language in Appendix P of the fire code, compliance in Public Safety DAS has not been widely standardized.
  2. Current compliance statutes state that 98% of a given building must surpass a -95dBm coverage rating to be considered in compliance.
  3. Grid Testing is the common term for the analysis of low-band RF penetration in a building. This is because it measures RF in a specific grid pattern on each building floor to gather comprehensive signal data.
  4. Class A DAS are meant for the enterprise, as they can be fine-tuned to specific signal bands, whereas Class B DAS systems are typically consumer-based and widely amplify RF signal bands.
  5. Oscillation is the term used for unwanted RF signal density or “dirty air”.

Commercial or In-Building Cellular (IBC) DAS

  1. Cellular carrier companies are essentially the “AHJ” of commercial DAS, as they ultimately have the final say on a facility’s ability to utilize their signal sources.
  2. Carrier relationships are crucial to delivering successful DAS deployments, as they can offer subsidization financially or by providing equipment for their signal delivery.
  3. Active DAS systems require you to have a power source for the donor antenna components and use fiber optics to connect to remote nodes. Passive DAS collect RF over coax into a powered BDA (bi-directional amplifier), and then over coax to remote nodes.
  4. Many architects and general contractors are being asked to draft designs and submit RFPs for commercial DAS, However, predictive (preconstruction) analysis can be tricky without sophisticated equipment and onsite RF testing.
  5. Having a team of consultants, distributors, and integrators that consistently follow a process in coordination to the changing industry best practices will ensure a successful installation, carrier compliance, and happy users.

We’re looking forward to our next Property Tech Breakfast. Stay tuned for the time and topic to be announced.

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